‘Selfish’: Final Uluru climbers lashed

 

The last people to climb Uluru have been lashed for their "ridiculous" behaviour with the final eight descending the sacred rock together.

Speaking on NITV's special show to celebrate the closure of the climb, NITV correspondent and Anangu man Ryan Liddle and NITV host John Paul Janke described the behaviour of the final group as "kind of selfish".

A handful of people who scrambled to the top of Uluru on Friday morning stayed at its summit until sunset, finally descending it just after 7pm.

"It was just ridiculous," Mr Janke told the program.

"It's kind of selfish for those last climbers to make the event about them... it's very self-centred."

The two men described the group of eight - who descended Uluru holding hands so they could all step off the sacred rock together - as a "little ego trip".

 

Footage shows the group of eight finishing the climb with huge smiles on their face before willingly walking over to the dozens of journalists and starting interviews.

One man wore a Superman shirt while another, who came down earlier in the day, was holding in front of him a book about "Ayers Rock conspiracy theories" that claimed Parks Australia had lied about how many people were climbing the monolith.

 

Ken Lee, who climbed Uluru on its last day, in front of dismantled signage Picture: Emma Murray
Ken Lee, who climbed Uluru on its last day, in front of dismantled signage Picture: Emma Murray

The man in the Superman shirt, James Martin from Wodonga in Victoria, told the ABC he had climbed it three times in the past week.

"I don't think it was necessarily important to be on the last day, I have climbed it three times this week," Mr Martin said.

"I thought it was important to get up there and appreciate Mother Nature for what she is.

"My initial goal was to spend as much time on the rock as I could, so I got here as early as I could and basically just spent the whole day taking it all in and really enjoying it."

Mr Janke said the group's delay at coming down from Uluru had put the rangers' safety at risk as well.

And technically, he reminded viewers, the two rangers who had followed the group of eight to make sure they came safely back, were the final people to do the climb.

 

The two rangers and the group of eight who finished the climb together. Picture: Emma Murray
The two rangers and the group of eight who finished the climb together. Picture: Emma Murray

Despite the peculiar behaviour from the eight people, Mr Janke and Mr Liddle described the climb's closure as the "right step in a brighter future for all Australians".

Rangers also chopped down the signs at the base of Uluru asking people not to climb to its summit, instead replacing it with a sign that read "permanent closure".

 

 

The climb had been scheduled to open at 7am NT time but high winds kept the hundreds hoping to hike it the base for several hours.

After a midmorning assessment, rangers reopened the trek and visitors began scrambling to the top.

At 4pm, no new climbers were allowed to ascend, while those already on the rock had until sunset to find their way down.

From now on, climbing will be punishable by a $6,300 fine.

Chair of the board that banned the climb, Sammy Wilson, described the prohibition as a cause for celebration.

"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," Wilson - a member of the Anangu tribe - said.

"It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity."



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