Updates
New article on Wild Rock development June 21, 2008
Click here to read a new article from the Huntington Herald Dispatch. Download MS Word .doc of article.


"Wild Rock" developers requiring waiver and access pass May 30, 2008
Parking/access to the Bubba City crags remain unchanged at this time, despite the beginning of construction at the Wild Rock development. Climbers are required to submit a signed waiver (download here) and obtain a free parking pass. You can pick up a pass and turn in your waiver at the Wild Rock cafe (at Class VI Whitewater facility near Bubba) or for the time being at WaterStone Outdoors.

In parking at the main lot or at the Cemetery pulloff (for Tattoo Wall Access), it's essential that you park well off the road. This year again there have been reports of the Sheriff towing cars parked on the edge of the road (the towing was not instigated by Wild Rock).


Developers Get Zoning Reclassification for "Wild Rock" Sept. 1, 2007
Fayette County commissioners have unanimously approved a change in zoning classification of 744 acres for a planned housing development. Read local newspaper coverage: Charleston (9/1/07) | Beckley (9/1/07) | Charleston (8/28/07) | Charleston (8/18/07)

Wild Rock developers "Climber Friendly" August 21, 2007
I spoke with Wild Rock developer Carl Frischkorn, and I'm pleased with what I hear. I am the first to admit that "progress" (or in this case "development" around the NRG) is unavoidable, however, low-impact development is essential. Fortunately, Mr. Frischkorn has been active in the rafting community for over 30 years and his plans appear to be responsible and environmently friendly. The Wild Rock development above Bubba City will include a significant amount of greenspace including public access to the cliffs, a new and improved trail system, and formal climber/hiker parking areas. A significant buffer zone between NPS land (i.e. the cliffs) and the building sites will ensure that the cliff top setting remains largely unchanged. I will add a map of the developers master plan for you to veiw here, given the approval by Mr. Frischkorn. Check back soon.

Regarding the current parking situation, parking at the main BC lot is unchanged; the developer has also leveled off an area across the street. Hike in via the now-widened road to reach the feeder trails to Center Bubba and Head Wall. Unfortunately, the gas company (not the developer) has installed a gate at the second parking area. Until this situation is resolved, a few cars can squeeze in in front of the gate (you must be off the road!); alternatively you can park at the Cemetry pulloff and hike 5 minutes up the road to the normal Sandstonia/Tattoo Wall approach.

"Wild Rock" Development Planned for Near Bubba City Crags August 2007
It is confirmed that a residential development is planned on 850 acres near the Bubba City crags. There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, August 22nd at 7:00pm at Chetty's Pub at Class VI on Ames Heights Road. At the meeting Carl Frischkorn, the developer of the proposed "Wild Rock" housing development, will present his plan to the public and take questions and comments.

Rumors of a Housing Development Above Bubba City Spring 2007
Word among some Fayetteville locals is that a developer is in the process of acquiring the land on either side of Ames Heights Road and Chestnutburg Road in the vicinity of Bubba City. Such a development could be good news or bad news depending on the developer (and your perspective on things). I'll keep my ear to the ground and keep you posted on the situation.


New Bubba City Guide Now Available! August 2006
A new edition of A Climbers' Guide to Bubba City was released on August 1, 2006. Like the previous Bubba City guidebook, all profits (beyond the printing cost) will go toward ongoing anchor replacement and other NRAC initiatives. This new edition is the most comprehensive guide available to the 330 routes at Bubba City. Compared with the previous edition, it includes 32 new pages (96 page total), new cliff-face topos of the most popular areas, many new photos, and all the new routes and anchor upgrades of recent years. This is the only complete guide to the 180 sport routes at Bubba. The retail price is $14.95, however you can order a copy for $12.95 plus shipping by clicking the "Guidebooks" link (left) and then clicking the "Buy Now" icon.


Parking Situation at Sandstonia Lot (Tattoo Wall Access) June 2006
There is some concern over climber parking at the Sandstonia lot--this is the second of two dirt pulloffs located along Ames Heights Road, about 1.7 miles west of Route 19. During the busy Memorial Day weekend, a few cars parked along the edge of Ames Heights Road were towed, presumably because these cars presented a dangerous situation along the this narrow one-lane road. Remember that while all the crags at Bubba City are on NPS land, the parking is on private property. Historically there have been no problems parking at either of these lots. Still, it's vital that climbers park fully off the road and do not block access to the gas wells. Long-term, we hope that NPS will acquire access paths at or near both of these access points.

In the meanwhile (should you doubt the wisdom of parking at the second lot), you can simply park at the first lot and walk the road 5 minutes to the Sandstonia pulloff. This will add just 5 minutes to your approach time to the Tattoo Wall.


Fixed anchors & your safety June 2005
Fixed anchors, such as bolts, pitons, cold shuts and other "top anchors", are ubiquitous at the New River Gorge. Wet Virginia's (sic) perpetually damp climate and the hundreds of old carbon-steel bolts (and pitons), together present some long-term safety concerns. At least one rusty piton has broken (at the Bridge Buttress) resulting in a ground fall and injury. Therefore, there's a growing effort among local climbers to replace the worst of the rusting bolts, pitons and top anchors. Bubba City is the first area to see a widespread upgrade to stainless steel anchors; however, anchor-replacement efforts can finally expand to other areas given the NPS' new Climbing Management Plan (which allows for use of power drills to replace bolts). Still, there remains a large variance in the quality of fixed anchors in the New River Gorge due to a number of variables including: manner of placement, weathering, metal fatigue from falls, the quality of the metal used, and other factors.

A: TR through draws...
B: ...Not the rings!

Using fixed anchors Overall, the vast majority of the fixed gear at the New remains trustworthy; however, a very small percentage of these anchors can and will fail in the future. Fixed anchors should always be considered suspect, and never let your safety depend on a single piece of protection. When in doubt, back up the fixed anchors with natural gear. Never lower off a single anchor or bolt, and inspect all top anchors before lowering or rappelling off a climb. Always toprope and work routes through a pair of quick draws (Picture A) or locking carabiners clipped into the fixed anchors, not through the fixed anchors themselves (Picture B).

If you clip bolts at the New, please make a donation to the NRAC fixed anchors replacement fund. Contact us to find out how!

Safety first Many other risks can be mitigated through use of pre-climb safety rituals. For instance, always check and recheck both your and your partner's harness buckles and knots. Always double-check your belayer's set-up and the belay anchor. Protect yourself from a ground fall by stick clipping the first bolt, placing lots of gear near the ground, or getting a good spot before you place or clip the first good piece. As you climb, visualize the length and angle of possible falls, and keep a vigilant eye out for loose rock, wasps, and other hazards. Have fun and climb your best!

Tattoo Wall topo published May 2004
In mapping the remote downstream crags for the Bubba City guidebook, I was surprised to find a completely untouched, 100-foot high wall at the far end of Sandstonia. Shrouded in bushes, vines, and poison ivy, this section of cliff was certainly easy to overlook—in fact, one has to wonder if anyone even hiked past this section of cliff in the last decade? Anyway, the ivy is now mostly gone and a new approach trail has been developed making access to this far downstream crag rather casual. The first new routes went in during the Fall of 2003, and in the months that followed over 25 good lines—from 5.6 to 5.13a—were established at what is now called the Tattoo Wall. You are welcome to download a FREE copy of the Bubba City Climbers' Guide addendum, which includes a detailed route topo of the Tattoo Wall. If you download this topo, please buy a copy of the Bubba City guidebook—all profits support NRAC climber initiatives, including anchor replacement throughout the New River Gorge. If you already own the new Bubba guide, well then, THANK YOU!

Ladder added to Central Bubba access trail March 2004
In mid-March an access ladder was added to the Central Bubba trail to make the steep rock steps easier to navigate and to save wear-and-tear on the tree that overhangs the step.

New trail cut to Sandstonia March 2004
A new access trail was completed to Sandstonia, reducing the time it takes to get to this remote crag to just 15 minutes. More information on this new trail is available in the Bubba City Climbers' Guide Addendum.

 

Have an update to share? Whether it's a new route, crucial hold breaking, or other relevant news, we'd like to know.
Copyright © 2004 Eric J. Hörst. Designed by Eric McCallister (McCallisterDesign.com)