If you want to know all about camping on a cliff and experiencing the thrilling adrenaline rush, then you need to try spending a night on a portaledge. A portaledge is a small portable platform that is suspended on the edge of a cliff, providing a seriously fun way to sleep outdoors. Have you ever heard of camping on a cliff? It’s a unique experience that has helped professional climbers push themselves to new heights and learn how to sleep on the side of a mountain.
Every evening, the climbers rested on portaledges and ascended when the temperature was sufficiently low, devoting the entire duration to scaling the vertical surface. It was an awe-inspiring accomplishment when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson successfully achieved the unprecedented feat of free climbing the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in 2015, a journey that lasted a remarkable 19 days. Cliff camping proved to be the method through which Yosemite’s renowned Dawn Wall was conquered.
In the 1980s, climbers in Yosemite figured out that they could often use a hammock, which was strung between two fixed slings, instead of cots in camping bunkhouses. This new gear was relatively new in the world of climbing and actually quite terrifying.
John Middendorf, the chief designer and founder of the independent climbing gear maker Tiny Adventures A5, developed the first modern portaledges in 1986. These portaledges were designed with a stable and strong structure, using weather-proof fabrics to ensure safety during a three-day storm while attempting to climb Half Dome in Yosemite. Unfortunately, John died due to a nearly fatal failure of the portaledge.
You can camp on the cliff in Dorset, where Young Eddy from Young’s Adventure Solutions joined us for an amazing Airbnb-like experience. It costs £300 per person for two people, but it’s an experience like no other. You’ll never eat a bacon sandwich in an environment more awe-inspiring than this. You can watch the sun set from the platform, get winched down by a rope, and climb down to the insane and daring edge of Dorset. If you’re someone who loves heights and wants to try an adventurous experience, this is the best option in all of Britain. Plus, you don’t need any climbing experience to give it a try.
Climbers often tie another rope onto the wall itself and clip the tent onto it, so it is safer to cross the road. If you’re tied onto the rope the entire time, wearing a harness, you won’t fall off or roll off the edge while sleepwalking or trying to sleep at night.
In the ocean, you may observe seals and dolphins. Campers on the cliff will spin closely to their peculiar new neighbors, seabirds flying in and out of their nests. You are at the same height as them on a coastal cliff, where cliffs may appear empty at first sight. Experiencing nature up close and personal is what you will receive.
Portaledges provide an excellent opportunity for stargazing, as there are no obstacles like trees or tent ceilings obstructing the breathtaking panoramic view of the glittering night sky from your bed. Camping on a clear night ensures minimal light pollution, making mountain and cliff sides the perfect spots for enjoying the starry spectacle.
Portaledge D4, for example, has curved rounded corners instead of blocky corners. The design of Portaledge improves over time with innovative concepts being continuously introduced.
The night for bed where you can’t really see below the sea, the calming swell of the night will definitely help you drift off in the coolest campsite ever. However, you might think you’d lie awake panicking about the void below, but you actually do sleep.
Siân Anna Lewis, a freelance travel and outdoor journalist, adores venturing into untamed locations. The Girl Outdoors, an acclaimed adventure blog that she also manages, serves as her creative outlet.