/ Portland

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jadeevans692 on 13 Apr 2019

Thinking of climbing in Portland, I have never been so any advice would be appreciated. For sports climbing what length rope is recommended and also how many quick draws. Best guide book?  Also I have Never done any sports climbing outside.

Is camping good or any good spots near bye ? 

Thanks in advance 

Pedro50 on 13 Apr 2019
In reply to jadeevans692:

I recommend the Rockfax guide. It will answer all your other questions. 

Rob Kennard - on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to jadeevans692:

Hi Jade.

A 60m rope will allow you to climb every route on Portland, with 14 quickdraws. A 50m rope will allow you to climb about 80% of the routes.

The best guidebook is the Rockfax one(also available as an app on Iphone) - although it is 5 years old it covers the main areas really well (relatively little new stuff since then). One significant change since that book is the access to Blacknor Far South/ Battleship Cliff ,so do a bit of research if you want to go there.

There is no official camping on Portland, apart from a few pitches at the YHA. Here's a list of campsites, bunk houses etc:


Have fun,


Paul Sagar - on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to jadeevans692:

There is a really nice campsite near Chisel Beach in Wyke Regis I would recommend staying at. 

If it’s your first time climbing outdoors, make sure you know how to strip a route on a variety of anchors. Routes at Portland range from chain belays with lower off rings to a pair of staples. The techniques for cleaning the latter are a little different (and potentially more risky) so make sure you know what to do if faced with minimal getting-down in situ gear. 

Neil Williams - on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Yep, echo the Rockfax guide and that campsite (though it can be windy!)  And when you stay at that campsite, the Wyke Smugglers is a decent pub nearby.  Though if you want to eat in a pub on the island the Cove House is the one to go for, excellent food and a decent range of drinks, though it can be busy so you may want to book.

The campsite is called Martleaves Farm, it also has a B&B attached.

One thing of note - some of the approaches can be awkward, and so if you're "cack-footed" like me (is there such a thing? ) a hiking pole can be useful to avoid falling 50 feet into the sea.

Another thing of note is that travel by public transport is unusually feasible for a climbing area.  There are 4 buses per hour (number 1) onto the island from Weymouth (Kings Statue) at most times of day, including Sundays, and none of the climbing areas are a particularly long walk from it.

Finally, and I was looking for a thread to put it in, if you do find yourself there without a guidebook there is a small old-fashioned independent bookshop in Weymouth called Books Afloat that stocks it, this appears to be the only place in Portland/Weymouth that does, though give him a few days to get another one in as I bought it on Saturday!

All in all a great place to do some sport climbing (and routes for all abilities, too), on a hot summer's day you can easily forget you're not on Sicily or somewhere like that.

Post edited at 16:16
derryclimbs - on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to jadeevans692:

Obviously the guide book question has been answered, but if you're still looking for accomodation, the Bunker bunkhouse is a great spot. Albeit at the bottom of Portland so you'd need to get a lift/bus to the top. But it's run by a couple who climb and dive on the Isle so can give you loads of recommendations for crags with easy access, classic routes etc.

Emilio Bachini on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to jadeevans692:

Top tip, tie a knot in the end of your rope. 

Fakey Rocks - on 12:25 Mon
In reply to Emilio Bachini:

Tying a nice big knot in the  the dead end of your rope, or tie it to your rope bag, or something like that, will stop you dropping your partner if you are lowering off one of the longer routes with a rope that isn't long enough and are"t paying attention to how much rope you have left... Then you just have to work out how to get them all the way down!

Emilio Bachini on 18:08 Mon
In reply to Fakey Rocks:

It’s actually quite fun and interesting getting someone down. I say this after being in the situation but with friends around with another rope, GriGri. 

Mehmet Karatay - on 18:20 Mon
In reply to jadeevans692:

You say you've never done any sport climbing outside. Make sure you are 100% certain what to do when you reach the lower off. It won't be like an indoor wall and this is where most sport climbing accidents happen.

I don't know how much you've climbed outside. If you're brand new to it, drop your grade a fair bit from your usual indoor grades while you learn to identify handholds and footholds for yourself and figure out how to use them.  

Enjoy the experience. 


Post edited at 18:22
dereke12000 - on 22:01 Mon
In reply to jadeevans692:

You aren't allowed to park your camper van next to all the other camper vans in Cheyne Weares car park.

Equally, you aren't supposed to take advantage of the secluded camping spots in Dungecroft quarry and pitch your tent there

Post edited at 22:01
Paul Sagar - on 22:10 Mon
In reply to dereke12000:

You also DEFINITELY aren't allowed to sleep in the Portland Museum car park near The Cuttings, where it says you can park overnight but not sleep in the vehicle. I've certainly NEVER done this, especially not twice in the past month.


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