WARNING: Major Landslide on Portlandby Duncan Campbell - UKC Feb/2014
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UKClimbing user and Portland local, Ben Thorne has informed us of a series of large landslides that have occured on Portland, leaving large areas of crag totally destroyed and the surrounding areas dangerously unstable. Ben is urging people to avoid Blacknor Far South and Battleship Main crags for these reasons.
Ben headed down to the crags on Thursday 20th February to check out the damage after hearing of some landslides in the area. Ben commented on what he had seen:
"There has been a major landslide between the middle section of Blacknor Far South and 'Evening Fall's at Battleship. Routes south of 'Paint It Black Picture' (ish) have disappeared and routes north of 'Keyboard Wall' at Battleship are unclimbable. Access to both crags is dangerous - stay away. Access to Battleship via southern descent still passable but Battleship Edge pathway is badly damaged and area is unstable. Suggest Back Cliff is last climbable area until ground settles and drier weather allows better assessment of routes."
As a result of the landslides the approaches to the crags and nearby crags have either changed or became more dangerous, Ben commented further:
"The above picture shows the path under 'Trance Dance' to 'President Elect' slipped 10m downhill - belaying under most routes still possible, but passage is muddy and a little dangerous with a lot of rock and mud all the way down to 'No Man Is An Island'. Exit gully above still okay and passable (suggest not until dry). Middle Cliff climbing okay but tricky to get to now. Land under 'Arc Of A Fridge' dodgy."
"For anyone that knows Battleship, the above picture is directly underneath 'Evening Falls' and 'Victims Of Fashion' - ordinarily the path would move off left and round a large mound of ancient quarry spoil. But the mound's gone and so had everything between there and the famous 'shade tree' at BNFS - approximately 150m. Not accessible from here (until dry) and approximately 15m added to the bottom of some routes. Last climbable route at Battleship is 'Keyboard Wall', everything else to the north is muddy and hanging above a huge drop."
Ben is suggesting that people stay away from this area of Portland until a better examination of the state of the crags can be carried out.