Portland trip debrief!

Hello climbers! A lot of us have just returned from the first trip of the year to Portland, and for everyone else it’s time to decide whether or not to join trip #2, so let’s have a look at some of the stuff we’ve been up to!

freshers jumping

The weekend started out with the drive to Portland, a little later than planned with the last minibus showing up more than a little bit late! We made a quick stop for dinner on the motorway and bought all our food (and drink…) for the weekend at Asda on the way into Weymouth. Purchases ranged from enormous boxes of donuts to outrageous amounts of own brand vodka to some slightly sinister Halloween costumes. Despite warnings from exec about the dangers of drinking the night before a day at the crag, ring of fire was brought out and it was a bit of a late one for some of us.
Harry and Joel Halloween (Gemma)
cider and bunkhouse (james)

Up bright and early the next morning, we headed to the cuttings and our great team of sport trained returners set up topropes on climbs to suit everyone. For a lot of our freshers, it was their first experience of climbing outdoors, and considering this everybody did amazing. There was a great range of shorter climbs, ideal for beginners, and a lot of climbers ventured on to longer routes, requiring more endurance and planning. A lot of returners tackled old nemeses from earlier trips and put the skills they’ve gained since to good use, while a few people broke off from the group to find bouldering (thanks to Harry, who was the only one to bring a mat!). It was a great first day, and everybody seemed to come away feeling they’d achieved something.

Alex, cuttings
(Alex, our president, shows us how it’s done)

Anna, cuttings (poppy)
(Anna works hard to crack one of the longer routes)

Gemma bridging (poppy)
(Gemma tackles a tricky bridgy route)

Chloe day 1
(Some interesting footwork from Chloe)

Sam, day 1 (poppy)
(Sam and an excessive stretch)

In the midst of all the safe and sensible goings on from the rest of the club, Mike found himself flat on the floor after a bit of cruel belaying from Chloe…

Mike on the floor (poppy)

James and sam (james)
…and I don’t even know what’s going on here, you’d have to ask James and Sam.

On return to the bunkhouse we all enjoyed a shower and a tasty and filling dinner (thank you Georgia! <3 ), and a few freshers (not looking at anyone in particular) got on the drinking pretty quickly. Chilli (Milo)
The games started pretty much straight after dinner, and a lot of members had a go at picking up cereal boxes with their mouths, hanging from the underside of tables and some weird and wonderful team efforts at getting through slings (some with more success than others). The result of all the madness was basically that most people were trashed by about 9:30, which is actually a pretty good way to get to know each other. While the majority of the group were enjoying the games, the whole day’s climbing just proved a bit much for D’Souza…

Bunkhouse games (Milo)

Mark napping (james)

Once the games were over, people who’d made sensible choices about roommates settled down for a good nights sleep, while room 1 got up close and personal with copious amounts of vomit, and room 3 enjoyed a night’s worth of exciting stories about Hannah’s childhood pets. A good time was had by all most people.

On to day 2!!
On the morning of our second day of climbing, some of us were feeling a bit worse for wear… But the ever cheerful D’Souza set up some cool picture opportunities so that our hungover freshers could at least look like they were having fun.
freshers jumping

shoulder climbing (poppy)

stephen (poppy)
(Poor Steve…)

Owen and Lucy also got a little bit showy offy on the way onto the minibuses that morning.
owen doing pull ups

Our destination Sunday was one of the most scenic we ever climb at, and as usual the weather was absolutely perfect! For anyone not ready to climb too early in the morning it was a lovely place for a nap of a sunbathe, and for everyone else loads of great climbs were set up.

panorama (james)

Rob sitting on lead (Sam)
(Here’s Rob setting up one of the tougher climbs.)

It was a great place to explore, with a row of short climbs featuring amazing views of the ocean. A short scramble down and there were several much longer routes on the cliffs leading up to our base. Further down and we got on a great bit of slab climbing, which was a really nice opportunity for some climbers to try slab for the first climb. It requires slightly different technique to the kind of climbs a lot of us were used to, which made it an interesting change. As well as a lot of climbing getting done, we were all taking the opportunity to hang out with our friends in the sunshine in a fabulous place for a walk, a picnic or a communal nap. Everybody had an awesome day, and around 400 pictures have been stuck on the Facebook page so far, so if you’d like to see more please have a look there! In the mean time, a few of the best are below to get you excited for trips to come!

We headed home that evening after a full and exhausting day so there were probably more people asleep than not on the bus home (although there was still a fair bit of incredibly enthusiastic singing going on). We hope that everybody who came had a great experience, and have to assume that’s the case because an amazing number of people are already counting themselves in for the peaks trip in two weeks. If you’re interested time to book a place fast!

If you have any other questions about our trips, just find a friendly looking exec member and ask. I’m sure anybody who came on the trip can give you a great testimonial if you’re not sure.
See you all soon! 😀

(Thanks to James Curran, Sam Perry, Gemma Harvey, Owen Purvis, Matthew Smith, Sam Johnson, Milo Deane, Stephen Owen and Mike Boone for the photographs, and to everyone else for starring!)

actually roberto (poppy)

bolts (james)

chloe on slab (james)

chloe on slab 2 (james)

graffiti (Sam)

guy on forst (poppy)

hannah lay back (poppy)

hannah looking nervous (Sam)

James from below (james)

james, hannah + sam (james)

Mark looking lizardy

ocean view (Sam)

Owen + friends

Rob climbing (Sam)

rob concentrating (poppy)


sam in hole (james)

sea and clouds (james)

slab (james)

sport again (sam)

Sport! (Sam)

Tom (poppy)