The Cuttings Diary: Part 3
Three years ago, I wrote a post about The Cuttings Boulderfield and how although I had lived minutes away, I had never really given it much time. From that came ‘The Cuttings Diary: Part 1 and Part 2’ so why not part 3!?
This day at The Cuttings started as they usually do for a boulderfield session: ‘Where shall we start?’. No one in the group ever seems to mind but when we finally set our sights on a boulder, it’s always the wrong one. We tend to wander from boulder to boulder basing our decision on how long it takes to get sick of walking along the path with our awkward boulder pads.
The day’s team was made up of a motley crew of sport climbers who don’t really enjoy bouldering (except for Fontainebleau) and one bouldering convert. Our love of bouldering in Font doesn’t just come from the world class problems, but from the ease of navigating the forest. There are boulders everywhere you look from a variety of grades. We often set up ‘base camp’ when we are in Font and spend the day happily bouncing around the boulders. Now… the boulderfield on Portland is very much not like this. Between the sea of brambles, the spikey bushes, the uneven ground and the confusing layout it can be difficult to start your day.
We decided to start on the ‘Lip Boulder’ and the ‘Cracked Boulder’- both boulders provide a nice selection of grades if you’re looking for a starting point. The ‘Lip Boulder’ has many different variations of problems so you can test your abilities, either starting at the lip or underneath the overhang. To warm up, we started on the lip and ticked off a few routes. Unfortunately, the guide isn’t completely clear on what is in and what is out. The ‘Cracked Boulder’ has a lot of fun routes all ending with a strenuous mantel. Emmie finally managed to cruise ‘The Crack’ f4+, a Rockfax Portland Top 50 route.
After exhausting the first two boulders, we moved along to the ‘Topside and Bottomside’ area. This area is much better for a group, a wide range of problems and several eliminate problems meaning you don’t have to move the pads around as much. Connie cleaned up an old project around the corner called ‘Made in the Shade’, f6b. This problem is made up of the winning combo: slopers and tiny crimps. I started working on ‘Pleasant Greetings’, f7a. This problem is a link up from ‘Nu Breed, Sit Start’ to ‘Simples’ but unfortunately, it didn’t go this time. Tom revisited ‘Nu Breed, Sit Start’, f6c, but didn’t manage it in the end. Ed Lees and I also had a quick look at ‘The Terminator’, f7a, but our skin wasn’t up for the pain!
Again, we moved on. By this time, everyone was starting to chill and enjoy the sun. Denzil and Rich joined us for an hour of basking in the sun after spending the morning sport climbing at The Cuttings. Denzil even squeezed in a quick repeat of ‘In Ya Face’, f6b+.
The day ended with a positive feeling… We are positive that Font is much more fun! Only joking! The Cuttings Boulderfield is a labour of love. An area that deserves your complete time and effort to unveil some quality problems. I have learned to enjoy it over the past 3 years and have ticked off more problems than I ever thought I would. The place is a maze and the routes have such a distinctive style it definitely takes a while to find your groove; but it’s worth a visit, just prepare to be humbled.
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