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Uluru: ‘Crazy’ crowds queue as winds delay opening on final day of climb

Tourists who flocked to scale Uluru on the final day before the climb is permanently closed were left waiting for several hours before beginning the trek.

The opening of the climb at 7am was delayed due to strong winds, with rangers finally giving the climb the go ahead at 10am.

Tour bus driver, David, said the crowds at the landmark today are “pretty crazy”, and opening delays have been common in recent weeks.

“It has happened a couple of times this week, actually,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“If the winds are too high they close it, and also if it’s forecast to be over 36 degrees they’ll allow you one hour between 7am and 8am to get up there, and at eight o’clock they’ll just close it.”

If winds are estimated to reach 25 knots at the summit of the rock, the climb will be closed.

The Bureau of Meterology forecasts winds today at the base of the rock will reach 15 to 25km/hr, or 8.1 to 13.5 knots.

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Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said she’s “emotional” today, on the eve of the Uluru climb ban.

“I’m feeling enormously proud of the Anangu,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“I just want to congratulate them on the strength of culture and ceremony, and just their generosity over the many decades, to teach people about their importance and culture.”

The climb will close today on the 34th anniversary of the sacred site being handed back to the local indigenous people.

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Uluru climb closure conditions:

  • when the temperature reaches 36 degrees Celcius or above
  • during the hot summer months December, January and February after 8am
  • when there is a greater than 20% chance of rain within three hours
  • when there is a greater than 5% chance of thunderstorms within three hours
  • if the estimated wind speed at the summit reaches 25 knots or above
  • if more than 20 per cent of the rock’s surface is wet after rain
  • if cloud descends below the summit
  • the climb may also be closed for cultural reasons

The Uluru climb will not open at 7am due to strong winds. There will be another assessment at 8am. It’s the final day the Uluru climb is open to the public.