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Portland may be small, but it is one of, if not the, premier sport climbing destination in the UK. Geographically it is a small island off the South coast of Dorset, barely 4 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, accessed by a causeway from the mainland. It is surrounded on all sides by limestone sea cliffs and offers bolted routes across the entire range of grades from 5.easy to the mid 5.13s, as well as a smattering of adventurous traditional and deep water solo routes.
Dorset is blessed with a mild climate and a generous helping of sunshine, meaning climbing is possible year-round. In the winter it is normal to make the most of the sun by starting on the East-facing crags of the Cuttings, Godnor or Neddyfields, then moving after lunch to the Blacknor, Battleship or Coastguard on the West. In the summer, the opposite is necessary.
The nearest major town/city is Weymouth, on the mainland. From here it is just a short drive or bus ride (take the number 1 from the King's Statue) to get onto Portland itself. Once on the island, it would be possible to walk from crag to crag, but most will choose to drive around. Other options would be to take bikes, or the number 1 bus, which does a frequent circuit around the island (£1.70 single fare at time of writing)
There are currently two main guidebooks: Portland the 2008 definitive guide, by the Climber's Club and Dorset, a 2012 select guide by Rockfax. Due to the rapid development, there are a lot of routes that don't appear in the current definitive, which are covered by the newer Rockfax book (and vice versa). That said, either guide should have more than enough to keep even a seasoned local happy for a long time.
Like most sea cliffs, there are access restriction to some regions of Portland due to nesting birds. Notes are made of these in the area pages, but for the most up to date information, check the relevant sections of the BMC's Regional Access Database
9 Total Routes
Featured Route For Portland
Pregnant Pause 5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b Europe : United Kingdom : ... : Blacknor Central
The biggest arete on the island, excellent climb. There's a finger crack half way up, and one can stay on one face of the arete, but the rock is very sharp, and it's probably more fun to use both sides of the arete....[more] Browse More Classics in International
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