Please refrain from climbing outside

Due to the ongoing spread of Covid-19, please abstain from climbing outside.

At UKC we are all climbers and we understand the strong urge to be outdoors as the weather is finally improving, but we feel this is no longer socially acceptable. You can read our statement here.

We have suspended the UKC Logbooks Top Ascents and Conditions pages and we will no longer accept ascents dated from 23rd March onwards. You can still upload your historic ascents.

UKClimbing Team

Climbs 135
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude Tidal
Faces S

View Stats

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

Crag features

The western section of Subluminal is a very friendly sea cliff, which has a substantial collection of good, lower-grade trad routes in a largely un-intimidating environment. This is a popular destination due to its ease of access, pleasant cliff-top ledges and sunny aspect - a fine place to climb, socialise and relax. 

In contrast, just to the east, and directly below the lighthouse, is the Black Zawn with its exceptional set of routes that require both commitment and experience. Just viewing these from the zawn rim above is a dizzying experience.

Bracketing Black Zawn are some large cliffs that compliment the two main areas well. The Lighthouse Cliff has some long single pitch mid-to-high grade lines, whilst the Avernus Area holds a number of rarely-climbed steep and hard trad pitches.

Approach notes

Drive through the centre of Swanage and pick up signs for Durlston Castle and Country Park. Drive to the Country Park car park (fee). Walk west along the tarmac road from the car park to the coast path and walk over to the lighthouse. From the lighthouse a path leads diagonally right (looking out) down the grass slope to cliff-top ledges directly above the western end of Subluminal. All of the areas require an abseil approach.

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 Android and iOS devices.


Guidebooks

Dorset

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.
More info
More Guidebooks:
Swanage (2015)
South West Climbs - Volume 1 (2012)
Swanage and Portland (1995)

Out of print:
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
  Face Area
2 Subluminal Traverse
-
HVS 5b 7
3 Via Christina HVS 5a ** 100
4 David Crocket
-
E2 5c  
5 Dead Good E5 6b 4
6 Greasy Chimney VD 283
7 Gulp S 4a 10
8 Suspension S 4a * 553
9 Whynot HS 4b * 200
10 Dolphin VS 4b 153
11 Curving Crack S 4a * 724
12 Face Left VS 4b * 35
13 Face S 4a * 685
14 Face Central VS 4c * 225
15 Face Away VS 4c * 207
16 Grey Rib HS 4b 31
17 Tittsworth HVS 5a * 161
18 Dead Man Hunt E1 5b * 36
19 Baboon HVS 5b * 222
20 The Grobbler E1 5b * 48
21 Transcript Direct HVS 5a * 309
22 Paralysis E2 5c 99
  Stroof Area
24 Balcony HS 4b ** 1341
25 Gangway S * 1331
26 Joker VS 5a 202
27 Juggler E1 5b * 120
28 Stroof E1 5c ** 507
29 Graunchy Grippers E1 5b * 123
30 Spreadeagle VS 5a * 978
31 Back Street VS 4c * 645
32 High Street D * 1691
33 Station Road Variation E1 6a 16
34 Station Road HS 4b 373
35 Bypass S * 1110
36 Slip Road VS 4c * 626
37 Republic E2 6a 18
  Freda Area
39 Thompson's Chimney HS 4b * 259
40 Straits of Hormuz E3 6a 1
41 Botany Bay VS 4c * 264
42 Battleship Bow HVS 4c * 53
43 Double Chockstone HVD * 617
44 Skinhead HVS 5a 106
45 Bird's Nest S 4a 377
46 Puffin VS 5a * 207
47 The Indirect Route E1 14
48 First Corner S 4b ** 970
49 Philatus E3 5c ** 224
Climb name Grade
50 Poetry in Motion E3 6a * 86
51 Second Corner S 4a ** 1111
52 Freda VS 5a *** 1037
53 Freda Direct HVS 5a 7
54 Grandma's Groove E2 5c ** 177
55 Grandpa's Grope VS 4c * 206
56 Pedestal Crack D 493
57 Interlude HS 4a 4
58 Pedestal Face VS 4b * 121
59 Pedestal Direct HVS 5a 2
60 Pedestal Chimney VD 265
  Birds Nest Bay
62 Stir Crazy
-
6a+ * 8
63 The Puzzle
-
6c+ * 4
64 Bathtubb
-
6b * 5
65 Bird's Nest Arête
-
5c * 12
66 Sweet Surrender
-
6b ** 11
67 White Flag
-
5c * 10
68 Gid's Landing
-
5a * 16
69 The Scotty Dog Traverse
-
6a+ * 22
  Avernus Area
71 Styx S 48
72 Cerberus S 4a 30
73 Strenuosity HVS 4c 6
74 Graduation Day E2 5c * 8
75 Avernus S 4a *** 502
76 The Ferryman Waits E3 6a 2
77 Crepitus HVS 4c 2
78 Rainy Day, Dream Away E2 5c 2
79 Chance Encounter E4 6a  
80 All the Shakespearoes E3 5c * 8
81 The Great Rock 'n' Dole Swindle E3 6a *  
82 Tangerine Dream E1 5b * 12
83 A Subtle Shade of Emptiness E5 6b **  
84 Close to the Sun E4 6b *  
85 Gentle Touch
-
HVS 4c 2
86 Vaseline
-
VS 5a 3
87 Grooved Arête VS 4b 18
  Black Zawn
89 Deaf Boy Hug
-
E3 5c *  
90 Sweet Sixteen E5 6a * 2
91 Just Seventeen
-
E4 6a  
92 The Peccary E2 5b ** 70
93 Astrid HVS 5a ** 192
94 Morbid Orbit
-
E2 5b 2
95 Melpomene E4 5c *** 25
96 Mars With Original Melpomene Finish E2 5c 1
97 Mars E2 5b *** 117
98 Triton
-
E3 5c 2
Climb name Grade
99 Achelous E5 6a *  
100 Döckalfer E1 5c 1
101 The Barrel
-
E1 5b 1
102 Vidi Ergo Est
-
HVS 4c 1
103 Io VS 5a * 26
104 Last Great Innocent E5 6b *  
  Mellow Yellow Ledge
106 Mellow Yellow VS 4c ** 146
107 Catch the Wind
-
E3 5c 3
108 Ray of Sunshine E2 5c ** 61
109 Cider With Rosie E4 6a * 2
110 Magic Mountain E4 6a ** 8
111 Magic Mushroom E5 6a * 2
112 Fraggle Rock HVS 5a ** 55
  Gold Ledge
114 Live at the Witch Trials E2 5b * 20
115 Hard Nose the Highway HVS 5a * 42
116 Orphic Power
-
VS 4c 1
117 Harvest Gold HVS 4c * 68
118 Yellow Brick Road VS 5a * 46
119 Elf Arms
-
E1 5b  
  Toad Ledge Area
121 Fire at Sea
-
E2 5c  
122 Shakin' Off the Ghosts HVS 5a 5
123 Zoe VS 5a 20
124 Lizzie
-
HVS 5a 4
125 Babes in Toyland HVS 5a * 3
126 Rout HVS 5b 20
127 Eatelich
-
E1 5b  
128 Surface Hippy VS 4c * 10
129 Under Toad
-
S 4a 11
130 Stone Doubt
-
VD 3
131 Mother Duck
-
HVS 5a 3
  Scotsman Chimney Area
133 Drop in the Ocean
-
HVS 4c * 4
134 Heathcliffe E2 6a 1
135 Withering Heights E1 5b 11
136 No Great Shakes
-
VS 4c 4
137 Accidents Never Happen VS 4c 3
138 Dreamboat Annie
-
VS 4c 4
139 Scotsman Chimney
-
VD 5
140 The Mayflower Balcony
-
VS 4c  
141 Rhodesian's Retreat
-
VD 5
142 UDI
-
S 2
143 ZAPU
-
VD 3
144 ZANU
-
S 3
145 Traverse of the Gods HVS 5a *** 33

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