Pushing Limits In Portland
Jake // August 15, 2019
Being from Devon, I don’t have much sport climbing available to me at the grade i’m at. I climb a lot of Trad and I really enjoy it but I find it hard to push my grade as I still don’t feel confident to fall on my gear. So I really wanted to tackle some hard routes while also getting the adrenaline of a lead. Starting sport climbing seemed like a logical step, a way of pushing myself to improve my climbing in a relatively safe environment. Every climber I had come across spoke highly of Portland, so I bought the guidebook “ Dorset, Rockfax” and planned a trip with Shanie. It was overwhelming how many options were available, with over 27 individual crags containing over 1000 routes.
Driving across from Weymouth the first thing that hits you is how beautiful the area is, the view from the sea cliffs was absolutely stunning. The crag approaches varied, some were a simple path from the car park down, others an adventure in them self. Over the three days we tackled a variety of routes in varying difficulty and length. Most of the routes we tackled were quite short being between 6-10m though we did complete a 15m climb. Shanie spent most of the trip at the bottom of crags holding me as I threw myself at the routes. On top rope she ran up the climbs I spent sometimes hours grinding on. She also completed her first sport lead, I was super proud!
My favourite route of the trip was “Ocean Boulevard” pg 209, a 4+ coming in at 15 metres. The start was quite scary having to get onto a ledge before clipping the first bolt. It was a great route every move was a challenge but a good challenge. Everything went smoothly until I got to the last move. I took a fall then tried to go around it taking more falls, I must have fallen five times and been on the last move for twenty minutes before I clipped the last bolt.
I took my time with the re-thread for my descent, I was a shaky mess. It was a challenging route both physically and mentally but it was a fantastic way to end the final day. The trip did its job, we were completely exhausted after three days of hard climbing. Not only had I developed climbing technique but also confidence taking some major lead falls. We will definitely be back!
If you have plenty of indoor leads under your belt and want to get a taste outdoors I highly recommend Portland. All levels are catered for however we found on busy days the softer areas were very busy. So the higher your grade the less amount of time you will spend waiting for routes.
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