Climbs 124
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude Tidal
Faces S

Two jugs are better than one… Philatus E3 5c © Ben Richards

Crag features

Subluminal is the place everybody heads to for a first taste of Swanage steepness. The main reason for its popularity is the good selection of solid, short and amenably graded routes. Access is quick and there is a good ledge system running beneath the climbs that is well clear of the waves giving the place a friendly atmosphere. It lies just west of the lighthouse and the Black Zawn beneath open grass slopes. There is a clean-cut ledge above the climbs for gearing up and socialising, along with plentiful stakes for belays. Many of the climbs offer technical and fingery exercises as well as some bulging test-pieces in the Avernus Area.

Approach notes

Walk down the tarmac road from Durlston Car Park. From the lighthouse, a track leads diagonally right (looking out) down the grass slope to cliff-top ledges situated 100m west of the Black Zawn. It is only a 10 minute walk from the car park and all the climbs are approached by a short abseil from stakes above. The best abseil line is down High Street which also doubles as a good escape route.

Restricted Access

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 March to 31 July

Reason: Nesting Birds

The restriction applies east of Scotsman Chimney to the start of Traverse of the Gods.

Rockfax App

Available in the Rockfax App

The Rockfax App brings together all the Rockfax climbing information with UKC logbooks and presents it into a user-friendly package for use on Apple iOS devices (Android version to follow).



The latest edition of the Dorset Rockfax features the now widely acclaimed full-page colour topos, and includes all the new lines in the areas previously covered, as well as many entirely new sectors. The crags are illustrated using bigger topos and there is a complete new set of action photos. This new Rockfax guide will concentrate on Portland, Swanage and Lulworth, covering all the sport routes in these areas, and also the bulk of the quality trad climbing at Swanage and Lulworth. Coverage of bouldering and deep water soloing, along with all the routes in Devon have migrated from this book.
More info

West Country Climbs

West Country Climbs is a major Rockfax guide to one of the UK’s most celebrated, sunny and diverse climbing regions. The book is fashioned in Rockfax’s award-winning layout and design, and copiously illustrated with action photographs of the climbs and cliffs that reflect the quality and variety of climbing experiences to be had on offer in the UK’s most popular holiday destination - the West Country. This is a selected route and buttress guidebook which covers the best 900 routes from the crags listed below.
More info

Deep Water

Mike Robertson's award winning Deep Water guide, covering DWS on the English South Coast, Pembroke, Scotland and throughout the world.
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Face Area 
2Nutcracker Traverse
S *17
S *16
4Subluminal Traverse
HVS 5b 8
5Via ChristinaHVS 5a **93
6Dead GoodE5 6b 4
7Greasy ChimneyVD 241
8SuspensionS 4a *480
9WhynotHS 4b *151
10DolphinVS 4b 124
11Curving CrackS 4a *620
12Face LeftVS 4b *23
13FaceS 4a *588
14Face CentralVS 4c *175
15Face AwayVS 4c *167
16Grey RibHS 4b 6
17TittsworthHVS 5a *112
18Dead Man HuntE1 5b *29
19BaboonHVS 5b *182
20The GrobblerE1 5b *39
21Transcript DirectHVS 5a *250
22ParalysisE2 5c 84
 Stroof Area 
24BalconyHS 4b **1073
25GangwayS *1057
26JokerVS 5a 143
27JugglerE1 5b *94
28StroofE1 5c **403
29Graunchy GrippersE1 5b *96
30SpreadeagleVS 5a *749
31Back StreetVS 4c *489
32High StreetD *1358
33Station Road VariationE1 6a 13
34Station RoadHS 4b 247
35BypassS *950
36Slip RoadVS 4c *505
37RepublicE2 6a 15
 Freda Area 
39Thompson's ChimneyHS 4b *210
40Straits of HormuzE3 6a 1
41Botany BayVS 4c *229
42Battleship BowHVS 4c *42
43Double ChockstoneHVD *478
44SkinheadHVS 5a 83
45Bird's NestS 4a 293
46PuffinVS 5a *170
47The Indirect RouteE1 13
48First CornerS 4b **774
49PhilatusE3 5c **183
50Poetry in MotionE3 6a *67
51Second CornerS 4a **880
52FredaVS 5a ***835
53Freda (Direct)HVS 5a 4
54Grandma's GrooveE2 5c **155
55Grandpa's GropeVS 4c *163
56Pedestal CrackD 396
57InterludeHS 4a 3
58Pedestal FaceVS 4b *103
59Pedestal ChimneyVD 227
 Avernus Area 
61StyxS 37
62CerberusS 4a 14
63StrenuosityHVS 4c 5
64Graduation DayE2 5c *7
65The Ferryman WaitsE3 6a 2
66AvernusS 4a ***466
67CrepitusHVS 4c 2
68Rainy Day, Dream AwayE2 5c 2
69Chance EncounterE4 6a  
70All the ShakespearoesE3 5c *8
71The Great Rock 'n' Dole SwindleE3 6a * 
72Tangerine DreamE1 5b *10
73A Subtle Shade of EmptinessE5 6b ** 
74Close to the SunE4 6b * 
75Gentle Touch
HVS 4c 2
VS 5a 3
 Lighthouse Cliffs 
 Black Zawn 
79Grooved AreteVS 4b 17
80Deaf Boy Hug
E3 5c * 
81Sweet SixteenE5 6a *2
82The PeccaryE2 5b **51
83AstridHVS 5a **187
84Morbid Orbit
E2 5b 1
85MelpomeneE4 5c ***16
86MarsE2 5b ***133
E3 5c 1
88AchelousE5 6a * 
89IoVS 5a *21
90Last Great InnocentE5 6b * 
 Mellow Yellow Ledge 
92Mellow YellowVS 4c **122
93Catch the Wind
E3 5c 3
94Ray of SunshineE2 5c **44
95Magic MountainE5 6a *2
96Magic MushroomE4 6a **3
97Fraggle RockHVS 5a **46
 Gold Ledge 
99Live at the Witch TrialsE2 5b *16
100Hard Nose the HighwayHVS 5a *37
101Harvest GoldHVS 4c *48
102Yellow Brick RoadVS 5a *36
 Toad Ledge Area 
104Shakin' Off the GhostsHVS 5a 4
105ZoeVS 5a 15
HVS 5a 3
107Babes in ToylandHVS 5a *2
108RoutHVS 5b 13
109Surface HippyVS 4c *7
110Under Toad
S 4a 10
111Stone Doubt
VD 3
112Mother Duck
HVS 5a 3
 Scotsman Chimney Area 
114Drop in the Ocean
HVS 4c *4
115HeathcliffeE2 6a 1
116Withering HeightsE1 5b 10
117No Great Shakes
VS 4c 4
118Accidents Never HappenVS 4c 3
119Dreamboat Annie
VS 4c 4
120Scotsman Chimney
VD 5
121Rhodesian's Retreat
VD 5
S 2
VD 3
S 3
125Traverse of the GodsHVS 5a ***27
 Birds Nest Bay 
127Stir Crazy
6a+ *8
128The Puzzle
6c+ *4
6b *5
130Bird's Nest Arete
5c *12
131Sweet Surrender
6b **11
132White Flag
5c *9
133Gid's Landing
5a *12
134The Scotty Dog Traverse
6a+ *15
135Mars With Original Melpomene FinsihE2 5c 1

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