Ayers Rock bulges from the earth like a mammoth clay shoulder. Its ravines and vertical inclines tantalize would-be climbers, but there are many reasons to forgo the ascent. Beyond the challenges raised by strong winds, extreme temperatures and sheer exhaustion, climbers should be aware that the local aboriginal Anangu people discourage climbing on Uluru (as the locals call it). The Anangu are the rock’s traditional land owners. Uluru is spiritually significant to them, and treading on it, though not forbidden, is seen as disrespectful to the ancestral Mala men who ascended its path as a sacred Dreamtime ritual.
If one chooses to ignore both the perils of nature and the pleas of the people by climbing Ayers Rock, be sure to bring plenty of water, and hang on tight. Several climbers die on the rock each year. Alternately one can enjoy this geological marvel by circling it on a guided tour, flying over it by helicopter, or simply by driving to one of the parking areas specifically chosen for their spectacular views of sunrise or sunset. The rock’s color transforms as the sun traverses the sky above it, and from these vantage points the viewer risks neither death, nor the displeasure of the good people who guard this land.