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
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
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.
Bubba City Guide Now Available!
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.
Situation at Sandstonia Lot (Tattoo Wall Access)
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
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
anchors & your safety
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.
TR through draws...
...Not the rings!
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!
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!
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
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
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.
an update to share? Whether it's a new route,
crucial hold breaking, or other relevant
news, we'd like to know.