|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.