Swanage dancing ledge info

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Am looking at going down to swanage and doing some climbs at dancing ledge in late April when lockdown eases.

have only done some trad at stanage before and a 30m rope has done me perfectly! Just wandering what rope length would be good for most single pitch sport routes in swanage and other uk crags

In reply to Barkarzz:

The norm for UK sport used to be a 50 metre rope. I used this length for donkey's years. However 60 metre ropes are increasingly common (have used this length for about ten years) and required for some routes on Portland. If you sport climb abroad (and you probably will) you'll want 60 at least.

Whatever the length, a knot in the end (ideally knotted into an attachment in the rope bag) is essential at all times. Too many people have been lowered off the end. It's one of those things where one thinks, 'Well this will never happen to me.' But sadly it does happen.

Wouldn't start with Dancing Ledge. The easier stuff is very polished and the harder stuff is a quite definite style. Winspit is more amenable. And Portland (probably a bit further for you) has loads. The Bower and Bottom Deckio would be good places to start - not too polished. If you ever want Portland recommendations (I live there), just message me.

There's a whole world of routes out there, just waiting for you, a lifetime's pleasure. Enjoy!


 Iamgregp 07 Mar 2021
In reply to Barkarzz:

Along with the excellent Winspit, I’d recommend Hedbury as a nice destination for an intro to U.K. sport climbing. You can walk to it via Dancing Ledge too...

I’d echo what Mick says - a 60 will be fine for the UK. But I’d go a wee bit further and suggest for a few extra quid and a wee bit more weight you might as well get a 70...  

I started out with a 60, then upgraded to a 70 when I wanted to get on longer routes.  Could’ve saved myself a few quid by getting a 70 from the off!

Post edited at 16:05
 Mark Stevenson 07 Mar 2021
In reply to Barkarzz:

Definitely enough stuff around Dorset that's climbable on a 30m including most of the moderately graded routes at Dancing Ledge. Also Hedbury and the West Quarry at Winspit are fine plus various crags at Portland including the LH end of the Cuttings, The Bower, Lost Valley, Dungecroft Quarry, some of Neddyfields, some of Battleship (Middle Cliff, The Block, Back Cliff RH) and Sharbutts Quarry.  However, most of the best easier and moderate routes in the area are longer. 

As mentioned by others, Dancing Ledge is a nice spot for a visit but it wouldn't be my top recommendation for someone's first sport climbing in the area. The actual sport routes are OK but not amazing and the easiest lines are 5+ and are fairly stiff fingery climbing.

The well-used lower section with really easy stuff which is used by companies with intro and kids groups isn't actually bolted. It's either trad leading or most commonly top-roping from relatively straightforward anchors, a mixture of drilled threads, bolts and nuts/hexes. It isn't actually in the Rockfax guide but there are topos for it online.

Fingers crossed for decent weather in April wherever you end up. 


Post edited at 17:13
In reply to Mick Ward:

Thanks for the advice Mick! Gonna get spending now and try and forget about the damage to the wallet by the time I do go! This is all great info, will make Winspit and Portland the priority then!

In reply to Iamgregp:

Copy that! thanks for the advice! will be committing to the 70 then and just get over the extra cash that i need to shed out! hope you are well!

 Iamgregp 07 Mar 2021
In reply to Barkarzz:

Great stuff!  You’ll not regret that extra few quid when you’re eyeing up those 35 metre routes when you inevitably end up in Costa Blanca or Kalymnos! 

You’ll have a great time at all of the places mentioned - personally I’d swerve the cuttings as the lower grade stuff can be a bit polished and unpleasant, however The Bower and Bottom Deckio (which are a kind of sub sector of the cuttings) are absolutely excellent.

Have fun!

 mattc 08 Mar 2021
In reply to Barkarzz:

Hi mate I would highly recommend a clip stick some high first bolts and if you get stuck you can always work a route. Winspit is brilliant and the square & compass is always worth a visit!

p.s I have 50m, 60m & a 70m rope and mainly use the 50m  

 LastBoyScout 09 Mar 2021
In reply to Barkarzz:

It's been a few years since I've climbed properly at Dancing Ledge, but some of the bolts were quite far apart and I was glad I'd taken a couple of nuts as extra runners - may be different now.

The lower edge is either trad or top rope - long sling useful for extending over the edge or even a static rope, as there are a couple of handy blocks a long way back. Again, there are/were some stakes in places, not sure of the current state of them.

Beware of families and kids if you're chucking ropes down the lower edge, as there are a couple of quite undercut bits. You can solo down in a few places, easiest is to the far Eastern end. As previously mentioned, can get lots of youth groups there - individuals are fine, but you'll need permission from the National Trust to take official groups there.

In reply to Iamgregp:

Having just looked at it myself, I think Hedbury has restrictions due to nesting birds from 1 Mar to 31 July. 

 Iamgregp 01 Apr 2021
In reply to JB_81:

I just checked myself, I think that ban only applies to the “Big Cove” section of Hedbury, which is a trad section.

The sport parts ought to be fine but always best to check!

In reply to LastBoyScout:

Dorset bolt fund has retro bolted the entire quarry so those run outs are a thing of the past

 Kevster 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Barkarzz:

Personally I'd buy 60m. 

Then get a longer skinnier one for abroad when that happens. 

Rope is bulky and heavy. I'm lazy and have the luxury of a little spare dollar. 

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