Tragedy in the North
The news that two climbers had died at Moonarie Gap, on the escarpments of Wilpena Pound, came out of nowhere. Immediate thoughts were with the families and friends of the two young men. We learnt that the cliff at Moonarie is a renowned climbing destination so thoughts included the local and international climbing communities. But the effect on the traditional custodians of the land was a wake-up call for the climbing and the walking communities alike.
The reaction of the Adnyamathanha, the indigenous nation of the northern Flinders Ranges, was unexpected. It was immediately evident that an impact on climbing and walking in, around and beyond the Wilpena Pound was a distinct possibility. I am a back-packing walker of the northern Flinders Ranges going back to the 1960s and a Heysen Trail end-to-ender but this was new to me. What should I think? What should we think? How should we react, if at all?
I wrestled considerably with my thoughts, and the thoughts of others, until I came to three words: Respect, Listen, Learn. This story is about the follow-up of users of this wonderful country, in recent times and over thousands of years.