is it true that climbing Ayres Rock is "discouraged" because it offends the aboriginals?
It's true. Some other things that are discouraged these days include calling them aboriginals, or calling the rock Ayers Rock for that matter - politically correct name is Uluru! However you want to call it, climbing the rock is an *awful* lot of work and the climate unforgiving - it's no accident so many people drop dead in the process. Personally I feel any excuse to stay away from it is a good excuse.