Climber’s Handbook: A Guide to Climbing Ayers Rock
Since the handover of Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park to its traditional Anangu owners in 1985 “the Climb”, that great Australian outback institution, undertaken by about 7 million Australian and international tourists has been neglected, disparaged, maligned and ignored by the Board and Managers of the National Park.
In October 2019 baring a change of mind of the Board, or successful legal action, the Climb will be officially banned for cultural and safety reasons that do not hold up to close scrutiny. Sadly, since the early 2000s those who have undertaken the climb, have been made to feel guilty about simply enjoying the natural world. This should not be the case.
Official documents, fact sheets and other sanctioned information fail to provide park visitors with any useful information about the Climb. Why? Because it’s a cultural tradition Parks Australia and the Board want to bring to an end. The limited information that is available is strongly biased against the Climb. It’s highly inaccurate and insufficient for visitors to properly prepare themselves, and give them the tools to enjoy and fully engage with one of the world’s great pilgrimages. With a rush of visitors expected before the Climb is officially closed for good, and for those unable to visit, but still wanting to learn more, the Climber’s Handbook will redress the imbalance and provide useful, reliable and accurate information to visitors about this Australian cultural icon.
The Climber’s Handbook is a celebration of the climb. It will provide the general public and those tourists and past visitors still interested in exploring the natural world, without being made to feel guilty by contradictory and irrational messages, with all the information they need to successfully and safely complete this physical adventure and fully appreciate the glory and wonder of the natural surrounds that can be viewed from the summit.
The Handbook is packed with historical information, facts, photos and figures providing all the answers to the questions about the climb people were too afraid to ask. Who climbed it first? Who was the first woman to climb? The first family? Are there any other routes? Has anyone completed a traverse across the Rock? What is the best time of year to climb? What’s the best footwear? How many people have died and how did they die? How did the death of one climber result in the release of Lindy Chamberlain from Darwin’s Berrimah Prison. What you can see from the summit? It’s not just a desert out there! Just why are the Traditional Owners closing it? Answers to these questions and more will be found in the Climber’s Handbook.
The main author is geologist Marc Hendrickx. Marc worked for the Northern Territory Geological Survey in the late 1990s and has completed the Climb a number times. The first time in 1998, in the company of Matt Golombek, Science Director of the Mars Pathfinder Mission. The most recent in July 2018 with his two daughters. Marc has maintained an interest in the Climb over many years but was taken by surprise when the UKTNP board announced on November 1 2017 that the Climb would be banned in October 2019. He immediately set out to provide information to counter specious and false information issued about the Climb by the Board and Parks Australia, establishing the “Right To Climb” blog and an online campaign to overturn the ban. The Climber’s Handbook will provide the facts about the Climb that for long have been buried.