RADIO host Dave Hughes has addressed climbing Uluru, claiming his wife’s hesitancy foiled what was supposed to be one of the couple’s most special moments.
KIIS FM’s Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek weighed in on the decision on their radio show this afternoon, with Hughesy revealing his wife’s decision not to climb foiled his proposal attempt.
“In 2006, on the trip where I proposed to my now-wife, I climbed Uluru thinking I might propose to her at the top of Uluru. But she didn’t climb it because she didn’t think that it was culturally sensitive,” he said.
“Did you ever think about just shouting it down to her?” Langbroek joked.
Hughes, who claims he was looking for approval from a local to climb Uluru, said an indigenous person told him “it’s OK, as long as you don’t die”.
At least 35 people have died climbing Uluru, most from heart attacks however the rock is also incredibly dangerous to climb especially after rainfall, which makes the face of Uluru extremely slippery.
The 12-person Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board today voted unanimously on the controversial topic, announcing the rock would be closed to climbers from October 26, 2019.
The symbolic date is the 34-year anniversary of the day the Uluru land title was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people.
The two-year lull period was also set to allow tourists who booked trips to the red centre to complete the climb, if they choose to do so.
The chairman of the park board Sammy Wilson said today the Anangu people have felt threatened to keep it open to climbers, something fewer than 20 per cent of visitors now do.
“Over the years Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It is an extremely important place, not a theme park like Disneyland. If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don’t enter or climb it, I respect it. It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity.
“Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration,” he added.
Plans to close the once-popular climb have been in place since 2010, when a 10-year plan for the park announced the climb would be closed as soon as fewer than 20 per cent of visitors actually climbed the rock.
The latest statistics, from 2015, showed that 16.2 per cent of visitors climb Uluru.
In the 1990s, 74 per cent of visitors were climbing Uluru with tourists visiting the red centre since the 1950s.
Climbing the world-famous rock has forever been considered disrespectful to the traditional owners and while it is technically legal, the Anangu people have asked people not to climb as it follows a sacred ceremonial path used in indigenous ceremony.
The climb has also had negative effects on the rock itself, with the huge white scar from tourists walking the same path being visible from far away.
There’s also a sign that sits at the base of the climb, imploring visitors to reconsider their need to scale the rock.
“The climb is not prohibited but we ask you to respect our law and culture by not climbing Uluru. We have a responsibility to teach and safeguard visitors to our land. The climb can be dangerous. Too many people have died while attempting to climb Uluru,” it reads.
From 2011-2015, the climb was closed 77 per cent of the time due to dangerous weather conditions or cultural reasons.
There have been at least 35 deaths on Uluru since people started visiting the rock in the 1950s.