Portland Trip 2023

Portland Trip 2023

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When you’re driving to the crag the #1 thing you want to see is .. not sleet. Definitely not sleet. Alas, we drove on.

Despite phone calls to the climbing centre and bail plans in place, the weather actually held out pretty well all things considered.

This was the weather map, just so you can see what we were working with … tiight

x marks the spot (the crag) 

Battleship was the crag of choice for Saturday, with some excellent bouldering and sport climbing on offer – some of which is arguably easier than the approach, although I’m still not sure which is the so-called “right” way to go. The boulderers chose a different route down and crossed our path, seeming very calm and importantly dry. The sport climbers had, rather aptly, descended a rope... onto a muddy slide. Unfortunately there were a few muddy bums before the climbing had even begun.


The boulderers headed down to the beach, and so I'll hand over to Thomas:

“The real challenge wasn't the climbing, but the struggle to find the rock we wanted among many other similar-looking rocks. Once we eventually managed to find the Good RockTM thanks to Brennan who’s been before, we settled down and got some climbing done. The Boulder Bros TM, Brennan, Jake and Raffie decided to project a 7A called the flake, while I (Thomas) got everyone on some nice other boulders. After I struggled to properly read the guidebook, I started setting my own routes on a 'spray wall' looking rock to which everyone could climb and found fun. After exhausting the new climbers, we decided to have lunch all together. After lunch the Boulder Bros TM went back to the flake and got some good tries in. Jake and Brennan managed to send it but Brennan slipped on the top out, he still decided to call it a send. We also had difficulty finding the way back as I thought that we could take a shortcut, Luckily, we got everyone back safely and joined up with everyone.”


Meanwhile, the sport climbers were having a wonderful time...

Despite the surprisingly dry conditions at present, a significant amount of rain had already fallen, resulting in damp rock, greasy cracks and god-awful mud across the entire crag and approach. Now if you’ve never been to Portland post-rain I don’t even know how to properly explain it to you, but the fact that they make cement out of the same stuff might help give a bit of an indication.

The lengths that people went to in order to avoid getting muddy shoes was quite spectacular (climbing shoes I mean; approach shoes were long gone and had an additional 5kg of mud caked to each sole). Lots of hanging around a metre off the ground, swinging onto little dry rocks, efficient use of rope mats, the lot – and all worthwhile, once the already slick holds had a little sheen of wet mud across them, good luck getting up that 4+.


Several members climbed outdoors for the first time, lead their first sport route, or cleaned their first route, so kudos guys! The conditions were certainly not the most amenable but hopefully fun enough to come back again another day.

Saturday night was, of course, time for fish and chips! With an expertly planned and delivered order, upon arriving at the shop and asking for our order we were simply gestured towards the 4 large cardboard boxes lined up on the top of the counter. 

If anyone was curious, between 33 people we managed to spend £274.90 at the chippy, £98 of which was spent on the uber-popular Hake and Chips special (would recommend), 5 people tested their arteries with a battered Mars bar and only 1 order got left behind. Thanks to all who ran the plates back and forth while Hannah, Amy and myself stacked the plates high.

Sunday meant a visit to the famed Cuttings, a crag which is considerably less boggy thankfully, although that’s not to say bags didn’t get muddy – I wouldn’t ask Nathan how his bag got so muddy - despite being clean all Saturday - if I were you.

Plenty of routes got sent, some nice clean flashes, some with some lovely snails in the holds. Lots of hands touched rocks, and that’s what important really.

The boulderers headed down to ... the boulders unsurprisingly enough. I’ll hand you over to Thomas for this bit:

“The second day we had a much easier time with the approach as it was mostly a single road path which is nice. The day went quite similarly to the day before, all warming up on some nice boulders together and then some people try some hard 7As. Jake managed to send terminator during the day. After a lot more climbing and more or less stopping at every climbable rock in the area, the boulderers decided to call it a day and headed up to meet the roped climbers.”

May be an image of 1 person and outdoors


All in all, a successful trip in the books. Thanks to Nathan for organizing, Thomas for wrangling the boulderers and anyone who shared a nugget of their knowledge with another club member. You’re all appreciated!


Emma Wilkes

With quotes from Thomas Hodges (with added TMs)