Kenny Parker on Face it Bubba 5.11a, Bubba City's first route.

In February 1987, Kenny Parker discovered Bubba City while exploring the terrain beyond the downstream end of Cat Cliff. Kenny was amazed by the countless buttresses of clean rock up to 80-feet high, and on that first day he sent Bubba's first route, the classic Face It Bubba (5.11a). In the months that followed, word spread of this major find and other prospective first ascentionists converged on Bubba and established more than 100 routes by year's end.

In those early days, the majority of the routes at Bubba City were put in by a small group of climbers including Mike Artz, Eddie Begoon, Doug Chapman, Eric Hörst, Kenny Parker, Jon Regelbrugge, Rick Thompson, and John Trautwein. Initially, the focus was on free climbing the numerous cracks scattered along the nearly two miles of rock. However, it was quickly realized that Bubba City's brilliance was its multitude of steep, nicely featured faces and arêtes that would make for excellent face climbing given the use of fixed protection. Before the end of that first season, a few dozen bolts and pitons were hammered in at Bubba and the New's first 5.13, Diamond Life, was established.

Many more routes went in during the 1988 and 1989 seasons; however, by the early 1990s new route development largely shifted to Endless Wall, Kaymoor, and Summersville Lake. Sport routes became the standard on the hundreds of hard new routes that were established, and it soon became an accepted local practice to place bolts near or next to what would be good "traditional" gear placements. During the 1990s, many of Bubba City's mixed routes were retro-bolted and, in recent years, many of the original anchors and studs were replaced with high quality stainless steel hardware.

In 1998, the power drill ban went into effect within the New River Gorge National River Park. However, since Bubba City has yet to be acquired by the NPS--though it does lie within the proposed park boundary--new route development has been able to continue. In recent years, a new and improved trail system has been developed and more than 105 new routes have been established. Much of the credit must go to long-time Bubba City "locals" Charles Ganote and Cindy Hintz for their sustained activism.

Copyright © 2004 Eric J. Hörst. Designed by Eric McCallister (