FRI NIGHT VID: The Portland Olympian

Our Friday Night Video this week takes us to Portland on the south coast. In September 2018, Pete Scott and Jon Butters established a 24-hour climbing challenge that is accessible to anyone. The original idea behind the challenge was to climb 7a (or higher) at every sector (based on the Rockfax guide) on Portland in a day.

The Portland Olympian Rules  © The Portland Olympian
The Portland Olympian Rules
© The Portland Olympian

The Portland Olympian Sectors - Based on the Rockfax Guide  © The Portland Olympian
The Portland Olympian Sectors - Based on the Rockfax Guide
© The Portland Olympian

Jon told us: 'When he [Pete] told me about it back in 2017 it seemed like quite an obvious challenge; it's possible to complete it in a round trip and that grade range covers some of the best climbing on the island.'

The Portland Olympian Scoring System  © The Portland Olympian
The Portland Olympian Scoring System
© The Portland Olympian

'Coming closer to the day we started to put more rules on the style that we would stick by, like starting and ending at the Olympic rings and being self-supported throughout. We also came to the conclusion that if other people wanted to have a go, there are so many options at each sector that it would be possible to complete the challenge no matter what grade you climb. Pete being the mathematician that he is, came up with a scoring system that makes it very inclusive regardless of your level.'

The Portland Olympian Grade Scores  © The Portland Olympian
The Portland Olympian Grade Scores
© The Portland Olympian

'We picked a stunner of a day in September 2018 to attempt it on; perfect calm seas, clear skies and cool breeze. I'm not sure I'll ever have a better run than down the east coast above Cheyne Weares as the sun was rising. Even Mirthmaid at white hole didn't seem intimidating (I once saw Pete bail off this in high seas and thought I wouldn't ever even entertain getting on it). The training and route practice we put in really paid off and we were cruising up until Sacred Angel, where we had a bit of an incident (you can see from the footage), then plain sailing in golden evening light all the way to the finish.'

Pete and Jon's ticklist for the day is as follows:

The Cutting Edge Direct Start (7a)

The Accelerator (7a)

Aquamarina (7a+)

Mirthmaid (7a+)

Superfly Guy (7a)

Skyscraper (7a)

Vin Chaud (7a)

Acid Jazz Disco (7a)

Jurassic Shift (7a)

Bilboes (7a)

The Strobolising Scyphostoma (7a+)

Sacred Angel (7a)

Last Rose of Summer (7a)

Wolfgang Forever (7a)

Pete and Jon would love to see others have a go at the challenge and have set up this Facebook page with information.

The Portland Olympian was filmed by Matt and Harry from Papercut Media and was supported by Unilite, 3rd Rock, Boulders and 8b plus.


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3 May

This is awesome! I am totally going to try and do it. Alas, my lazy trad partners may prove hard to motivate...

3 May

Fantastic idea. Well edited video. Enjoyed that so I did!