The Perils and Pleasures of Portland

By Ann Jamm
What was I thinking? Portland – steep sport, hard, polished, windy – I really hadn’t thought this through. I’m struggling on a 4+ for goodness sake (equivalent 4c – yeah right) and can see no way up over this bulge – what’s a bulge doing on a 4+ anyway? Saturday morning had started well, with full English breakfasts all round at the Youth Hostel.

We headed to Cheyne Weares, where I ‘cruised’ Tombstone – a well deserved 2-star 3+, then seconded Valerie’s Patio (3) – so far so very pleasant. Having warmed up, I then upped the stakes (as per my Sports Plan), and opted for Jody Sunshine (4+) which was satisfyingly challenging – I reached the lower-off with ahem, only 1 pt of aid. Now this debacle. I lowered off and sportingly offered the lead to C….., who whipped up it, with no messing about.

But I had thought it through – I’d estimated from the guidebook that there were just enough routes in the Green Zone (Rockfax 1- 4+) to occupy me for a wet weekend in March, at the start of the climbing season. Paradoxically, the gloriously warm and sunny weather was exposing the flaws in my logic.

Fortunately I wasn’t the only one reluctant to ruin their Sports Plan by peaking too early. So Sunday saw me as one-third of a chilled out trio heading for the beach and a day of relaxation on the sunny easy-angled boulder routes of Fallen Slab and Diamond Boulder.