Climbing on Portland
Portland is one of the most popular places for sport climbing in England. The mild weather and varied aspects make climbing on Portland possible all year round.
Portland has around 4 miles of well-bolted limestone cliffs for sport climbing. While bouldering and deep-water soloing add to Portland’s popularity among the climbing community.
Coastal sea cliffs and quarried faces offer around 1000 routes to climbers of all abilities, all set against a backdrop of the spectacular Jurassic coast. The quality of rock varies greatly between the east and west aspects. East side routes are characterised by their limited exposure to the prevailing weather system and the quarrying that has left areas, such as the Cuttings, with their routes. The west side, meanwhile, is famous for its longer routes and variety of rock formations. First timers should head to Blacknor Beach to experience the exposure of Fallen Slab Arete (f3). This Island classic rewards you with great views and is guaranteed to make even the most timid climbers look like pros.
From Blacknor through Wallsend and down to Coastguard you’ll find a stimulating range of routes, from tufas to ledges, and slabs to serious test-pieces pieces like Vespasian (F8b). More demanding climbing sites tend to be complemented by gentler grades, ideal for warming up or improvers, making Portland ideal for mixed ability groups.
Top Tip: In the morning head to the east side of the Island. You’ll have the sun on your back, and can follow it west throughout the day.
The vast majority of climbs are situated well above sea level and are therefore not affected by tides.
These geologically important cliffs also provide an important habitat for a diverse variety of plants and animals, some of which are nationally or globally protected. Variable restrictions for nesting birds apply some crags between March 1st and July 31st.