Ascent of Mount Sunflower on 2012-10-26

Climber: Alan Barber

Date:Friday, October 26, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Mount Sunflower
    Elevation:4039 ft / 1231 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mt. Sunflower is the highest point of Kansas and ranked 28th among all US high points. Instead of a climb up a discernible hill it is more or less a rise in a field. My approach to Mt. Sunflower was from Colorado Springs where I had been attending a meeting. After an aborted attempt to drive to the top of Pikes Peak (the last 6 miles of the road were closed because of ice), I got on Hwy 24 and headed through town. US 24 merged with Colorado 92 and headed due East across the flat landscape toward Kansas.
The mild snowfall from the previous day was still in evidence and there was a strong wind from the northwest. The final part of the trip to the Colorado Kansas border was on US 40. The total trip to Mount Sunflower covered about 170 miles.
After crossing the Kansas state line I looked for farm road 3 heading north. It was located 1.4 miles across the border. There was a brown sign pointing the way on US40. By then, I was beyond most of the recent snowfall but it was still about 32° and windy.

A railroad parallels US40 and I crossed it and drove up the dirt and gravel road. Along the way I passed through an arcade of trees which were beginning to change color. It was interesting to compare the photo I took then with the one on the web site taken earlier in the season. After 10.8 miles, I came to another brown sign indicating a left turn onto another farm road. A green plastic mailbox is located on the East side of the road at the turn.There is also a homemade sign and a flag at the turn. Crossing a cattle guard, it was about another mile before a right turn brought me to the highpoint.

In addition to the fenced highpoint there is a fenced, gated, and covered picnic table on a concrete pad. In the highpoint are a metal sunflower made from railroad spikes, a sign reading “Mt Sunflower” “4039” “highest point in Kansas” which also has a sunflower with two leaves, a rock, and another rock which is engraved. The large solitary rock rests under the metal sign and at the edge is a large, steel, unpainted mail box containing the guest register and some information. I took some photos and signed in.

The engraved rock suspended by chains from other stones can be seen from the West side of the fenced in highpoint area.There was no one else around although the register indicated than someone else from DFW had been there earlier that day. After spending a few minutes enjoying the view and taking my summit shot, I headed back to the farm road and turned north toward Nebraska and Panorama Point.

Summary Total Data
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Overcast

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