Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Thousands have lined up to scale Australia's Uluru rock two days before a ban on climbing the formation takes effect.
The climbing route on the famous rock will officially close to visitors Saturday though visitors will still be able to admire the World Heritage landmark's view from the ground.
After the ban is implemented, visitors attempting to scale it could face a hefty fine of up to $10,000.
Since the October 2019 date was set for the ban two years ago more visitors have come to Uluru's national park with an average of nearly 10,000 more monthly visitors in the six months leading up to the closure.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board unanimously voted on the ban out of respect for the Anangu -- indigenous Australians -- who view the rock as a sacred site that should not be climbed.
In 1985, the Anangu people were handed back the deed to their homelands.
Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma told SBS News the climb's closure is another pivotal moment.
"This is not just some sort of fictitious activity of the traditional owners," Calma told SBS News. "It's deep and meaningful and significant, and we need to respect that."
"I really urge people to think, you know, how many people think that they can just walk on some pastoral property? Why do they think they can do it on Aboriginal land?" he added.
The rock has been at the center of controversy over the years. A French woman, Alizee Sery, faced calls to be deported in 2010 after she was filmed doing a striptease on the top of the rock. AFL personality Sam Newman also faced backlash that same year for hitting a golf ball off Uluru while being photographed.
Scaling the rock is dangerous, with at least 37 people losing their lives attempting to scale it since record keeping began in the 1950s.
A 76-year-old Japanese man died while attempting to scale a steep portion of the rock last year.
The Anangu have long requested the rock not be scaled as they believe they have a cultural responsibility for the number of climber deaths and injuries.