All Evidence Of Uluru Climb To Be Removed When Ban Starts
A mild 33-degree forecast for Friday means Uluru is likely to be open to climbers and in potentially big numbers on its final day before a permanent ban.
The rush to beat the ban on climbing the rock from Saturday, or crazy "climb fever" as the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park ranger in charge Greg Elliot calls it, has continued right to the end.
Extreme heat this week including a 40 degree top on Thursday restricted the climb to between 7am and 8am.
However a milder Friday means it's likely the climb will be open all day with huge numbers of climbers attending.
After the last of them comes down, workers will immediately start removing all evidence climbing was ever allowed on the 348-metre high red sandstone rock, which is arguably Australia's most famous landmark.
The chain handhold built in 1964 and later extended, enabling visitors to get up and down the sheer western face of what used to be known as Ayers Rock, will also be removed.
The scarring from millions of pairs of feet scrambling up the rock for decades will take a long time to erode, possibly hundreds of years or even longer.
The National Park board decided in 2017 to ban the climb from Saturday, which marks 35 years since the land title to the Anangu was given back on October 26, 1985.
There has been a great surge in visitors, particularly in the past six months with hotels and the campground at Yulara's Ayers Rock Resort full, leading to people camping illegally on private land.
Uluru is a sacred site and of great spiritual significance to local Aboriginal groups, including the Pitjantjatjara Anangu traditional owners who live in nearby Mutitjulu.
Aboriginal people have been in Australia for tens of thousands of years, so the brief time tourists have climbed Uluru is tiny, Mutitjulu resident and Central Land Council chair Sammy Wilson said.
"It is just a blip in the middle, this whole climb thing, it is going back to normal by banning the climb."
The Anangu people will celebrate with a ceremony at the rock on Sunday night.