/ Portland access advice please

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Shapeshifter - on 19 Jun 2017
I'm down in the SW soon on a family holiday and hoping to call at a Portland on the way back for a couple of days.

My wife is a non climber, but happy to belay for a few routes. However she's not that keen on tricky descents to crags, like steep scrambles or sloping crag bases. It's a good few years since I've been to Portland and looking at the BMC RAD, the land slip seems to have affected places like Blacknor where I had intended to go.

I'd appreciate any advice on easy access, flat base crags on Portland, preferably by the sea.... or should I just stick to the Cuttings? Ideally with a range of good routes in the 6b+ to 7a+ range.

Thanks in advance.
Rob Kennard - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Shapeshifter:

Hi there,
Well the landslip affected access to Battleship( descent to northern completely gone), and Blacknor Far South (all a bit slopey beneath the crag now), so you should find Blacknor South unchanged. In fact the descent is easier now because of the bolted access ladder down the chimney.
If you use the Southern access gully Battleship crag should tick a few boxes( easyish access, with flat areas at the bottom and a good range of grades up to 7c). This descent is in the last guide as the access route to the veranda...
Shapeshifter - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Rob Kennard:

Much appreciated. Is the ladder at Blacknor south steady then? I did have in mind to go back to the Medusa Falls area if possible.
Rob Kennard - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Shapeshifter:

There are now large staples in the tricky initial step-down, and some large rungs in the chimney making it much easier. There is also a bolted ladder on the outside face near the chimney - I wouldn't recommend it because it is pretty steep and exposed( have rescued a couple of people on it recently!)
Trangia on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Shapeshifter:
I see from your profile that you are a trad climber as well as sport. If your wife isn't keen on steep ground and tricky descents why not consider trad at Dancing Ledges near Swanage? Not as foreboding as Portland. Lots of relatively easy grade single pitch trad from the lower ledge which is flat and well back from the sea, unless it's rough and a high spring. Lovely non serious setting in a beautiful environment. Just a very short scramble with a step down of maybe a 2 meters which you can easily rope her down. I used to take my kids there when they were tiny.

If that goes well you could walk along to the Cattle Troughs area where the descent is a bit harder, but not really difficult, particularly if you put your wife on a rope.

Just a thought.
Post edited at 16:01
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Quiddity - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Shapeshifter:
On the east side, Godnor Far North is a fairly pleasant low-grade area by the sea. Approach is an easy boulder-hop. Also the Neddyfields wall. Not much in the upper end of your grade range though. I would avoid the rest of Cheyne Weares with non-climbers as it's not very stable.

If the heat wave continues, I would plan your day so you can be in the shade i.e. west side in the morning, east side in the afternoon. At the moment, Dancing Ledge will be hotter than the surface of the sun, but not a bad shout if the weather cools down.
Post edited at 16:07

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