Major Rockfall at Blacknor Central in Portland

A significant rockfall has occurred at Blacknor Central in Portland, likely affecting routes in the Pregnant Pause Area.

Rory on Pregnant Pause at Blacknor Central © Clipstick
Rory on Pregnant Pause at Blacknor Central
© Clipstick, May 2018

Leanne Coomber witnessed the rockfall. She told UKC:

'As far as I am aware no one was injured and the people climbing below at the Diamond Slabs appeared to be OK as we could see that they continued climbing. However, I do believe it is likely to have taken out some routes on Blacknor Central. I was climbing on the Battleship Cliffs at the time and the noise was incredibly loud. Quite scary watching it fall - I'm just so pleased no one got hurt.'

This post will be updated once full details are established.

UPDATE: Mick Ward kindly ventured down to the site to report back -

'There has certainly been a rockfall, seemingly quite localised and, from what I can see, no routes were affected. Specifically, some blocks about twenty feet to the right of the start of Valerian have collapsed. There was the usual mess on the path. I've cleared up the worst of this and heaved some blocks into the vegetation below. They should be (relatively!) OK here. The path is perfectly passable. I've been all the way round to Monsoon Malabar to check there aren't any other rockfalls. There are none.'


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Return to News from September 2018


3 Sep, 2018

Anyone know if this makes the path even sketchier? Can you approach from the north?

3 Sep, 2018

Damn! Was planning a trip down to Portland in a couple of weeks and was intending to visit Blacknor.

Is there a definitive list somewhere of all of the areas of Portland that have been affected by rockfall in recent years? (i.e. since the last guidebook was published) I know quite a lot was lost in the storms a few years back.

I know on some of the UKC crag pages there is info on rockfall, but you have to check every crag individually which is a bit of a pain. A definitive list of crags, routes and access would be really helpful.

Cheers

Lee

 

3 Sep, 2018

This will be localized. Even the the last very major event during the storms that moved many many tonnes of earth and rock only affected a very small fraction of the routes on Portland. You can see which routes were affected by that event here Blacknor Far South and  Battleship Edge

Portland is inherently quite unstable as the limestone is not sitting on a firm foundation, also the rock quality can vary a lot and being UK limestone can shed small to medium blocks when climbing. Most the larger scale erosion occurs during storms / very wet periods.

3 Sep, 2018

It sounds like the rockfall was at almost exactly the midpoint between the North and South access paths, certainly everyone has a different opinion on whether it is quicker to get to Pregnant Pause by the North or South route, so while the path may be blocked/destroyed at some point, access to all remaining routes should still be possible from one end or the other.

 

3 Sep, 2018

I saw the rock fall happen exactly at the time when I was finishing a route on the Fallen Slab at Blacknor beach. When I peered over the top to admire the view, I saw two huge blocs in free fall from quite high up in what I believe to be the  Pregnant Pause area. There was a massive crash. I heard that everyone in the area was safe but I believe we were lucky.

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