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Ascent of Mount Sunflower on 1989-04-24

Climber: Greg Slayden

Date:Monday, April 24, 1989
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Sunflower
    Location:USA-Kansas
    Elevation:4039 ft / 1231 m

Ascent Trip Report

Monday, April 24, 1989:

In Cheyenne Wells, CO I turned right on U.S. 40 and was soon in Kansas,
where I quickly hung a left up a gravel road that led towards Mt. Sunflower,
the highest point in the state. The road wasn't too bad for a gravel farm
access road, and I cruised along at 50-60 m.p.h., creating a huge dust cloud
behind me (and also one in the car until I rolled up my window). After about
twelve miles I turned left, as per Zummwalt's directions (getting his book
yesterday had been a godsend), and drove about half a mile to a barbed wire
fence. I parked, and saw an odd-looking collection of stalks off in the
distance marking the "summit", so I set off.

It took about ten minutes to ascend the rugged southeast face of Mt.
Sunflower, gaining about 40 hard-earned vertical feet to the imposing 4,039
foot apex of Kansas. At the summit there was a huge dead tree arcing over the
plains, a sunflower sculpted out of rail spikes, a mailbox, a little rail
fence enclosing the area, and a plaque indicating that "nothing happened here
in 1897". I signed my name in the log in the mailbox, took some pictures,
admired the expansive view of the endless high plains. Mt. Sunflower was in a
big grassy field, but wheat was visible further off in most directions.

It was getting hot under the bright mid-morning sun, and after a few more
minutes I hiked back down to my broiling car and was soon heading back south
to U.S. 40 along the straight, dusty farm road. Once on the highway I opened
my windows to let out the dust in the car and to cool off its interior. I
crossed back into Colorado (Mt. Sunflower had only been about a mile from the
border) and started heading due west, towards the real mountains, the
Rockies.

The high point of Kansas, Mount Sunflower, had these interesting sculptures decorating the summit (1989-04-24).
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:40 ft / 13 m
    Trailhead:3999 ft / 1218 m
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear



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