Mt Sonder true summit

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Mt Sonder true summit

Postby paul8 » Thu 10 Sep, 2015 3:22 am

Most people who climb Mt Sonder in West Macdonnell National Park (NT) stop at the south-west summit, where the walking track ends.
The true summit is a bit further away to the north-east.
Here is my trip report to the true summit on 26 July 2015
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/mt-sonder-nt-australia.html

At the summit, I met Prathiba who lives in Darwin ... see attached photo taken at the summit (also photos #33 and #35 in my trip report.)
I promised to send her photos taken at the summit and also give her details on how to climb Mt Zeil.
Unfortunately I lost her email address.
If you recognize her, please ask her to contact me. Thanks !
33 Prathiba at Mt Sonder true summit, West Macdonnell NP, NT.jpg
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby north-north-west » Fri 11 Sep, 2015 8:02 am

Ummmm, are you aware that the true summit is closed to walkers not because of the potential risk but due to cultural sensitivities?

The Larapinta was originally intended to go all the way to Zeil but there were issues with landowners regarding access, so that never happened. A great pity.
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby paul8 » Fri 11 Sep, 2015 4:05 pm

Oh, I didn't know the Mt Sonder true summit has cultural sensitivity issue ... thanks for this info. I'll update the blog later on.
By the way, I'm now in contact with Prathiba ... so that matter is closed.
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby paul8 » Fri 11 Sep, 2015 5:08 pm

In this website:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/northern-territory/its-a-tall-story/2005/10/19/1129401309513.html
quoting the 5th paragraph from the end ...
-- He also confirmed that the official summit was not the real one. "It was a decision made for safety."
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby north-north-west » Fri 11 Sep, 2015 6:13 pm

What is said publicly is not always the reality.
There is another thread somewhere on this forum where we discuss this, and I'm sure there was another source quoted that mentioned the cultural issues. The fact is the true summit is a significant men's initiation site and any other access is disapproved of very strongly. I found this out from a local, after having gone out there . . . :roll:
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby Eremophila » Fri 11 Sep, 2015 9:24 pm

north-north-west wrote:What is said publicly is not always the reality.
There is another thread somewhere on this forum where we discuss this, and I'm sure there was another source quoted that mentioned the cultural issues. The fact is the true summit is a significant men's initiation site and any other access is disapproved of very strongly. I found this out from a local, after having gone out there . . . :roll:


I'd be very doubtful about that, NNW. Maybe a "site of significance" although I've never heard it referred to as such.

To my knowledge, sites used for rituals or ceremonies were not generally difficult to access.
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby north-north-west » Sat 12 Sep, 2015 6:56 am

I repeat, there is at least one other discussion on this site, with confirmation. It's not something they like to splash about too much because there are those who take that sort of info as a challenge (which means I really shouldn't be carrying on about it so much :roll: ) and the local indigenous community prefers to keep the whole thing very low key.

And the true summit isn't all that difficult to access if you go up from the northern side rather than traversing the ridgelines from Redbank.
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby paul8 » Sun 13 Sep, 2015 6:25 pm

NNW, If Mt Sonder true summit is not declared publicly as of cultural significant, then how does an ordinary folk know that one shouldn't climb it if one is to respect the aborigines culture? An ordinary folk would just assume that everywhere in any National Park is open to public access unless there is a sign (or declared publicly somewhere) that says otherwise.
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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby Nuts » Mon 14 Sep, 2015 2:13 pm

Iv'e not done this walk (Larapinta traverse) but was thinking of joining a friend next winter who works in the area. Did see that Mt Sonder is on the WE itinerary.
I'm sure they'd have local knowledge and integrity?

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Re: Mt Sonder true summit

Postby north-north-west » Mon 14 Sep, 2015 2:25 pm

paul8 wrote:NNW, If Mt Sonder true summit is not declared publicly as of cultural significant, then how does an ordinary folk know that one shouldn't climb it if one is to respect the aborigines culture? An ordinary folk would just assume that everywhere in any National Park is open to public access unless there is a sign (or declared publicly somewhere) that says otherwise.

Agree completely, but this is, apparently, how the locals want it. Most people whorealise they aren't on the highest point don't worry about it, and most of those who think about the traverse are generally put off by the difficulty. If you think it was awkward when you were up there, imagine it with the usual winds that persist at that altitude in the West Macs. It was one of the hairiest bits of ridgeline I've ever done.
For the record, the info came from someone who was in a position to know as he had been up there doing that sort of thing.


Anyway, maybe it's time to leave the topic. I probably shouldn't have said anything in the first place.
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