Peak(s):  Mt Sunflower - 4,039 feet
Post Date:  09/02/2009
Date Climbed:   08/30/2009
Posted By:  bergsteigen

 Mt Sunflower - Mountaineers Route ;)   

Mt Sunflower - Highest point in Kansas
Sherpa: Darrin (kansas)
Mileage: 0.4 (mostly wandering)
Elevation Gain: 5' (my GPS said 51')

Day 1: Boulder - Where are you from? Where are you going?
With 21 ranked peaks over 10K this year, and the past month including the Crestones, Capitol, Maroon Bells and Pyramid (and even Montezuma's Tower), my body was screaming for a break. In fact, it demanded it. I caught my second cold/flu of the summer, no high summits for me this weekend

So when my Aussie friend invited me to one of his crazy costume parties to celebrate his departure to Vancouver to get his PhD in something that will surely save the planet (or at least that is the plan...), I knew I had to go and relax a bit. The party was themed such that we had to dress like where we were from, and where we were going. Being a German-New Yorker, that part was easy. Yeah, those are authentic red lederhosen I'm wearin', with an iPhone in the waste-band (I live in Boulder ) Where I am going? I chose to be literal, I'm going climbing. At least, that's what I'm always doing, just about every weekend.

Lots of Aussies, Canadians, Swiss, Mexicans, Hawaiians, Hungarians, Indians, French and even New Yorkers (the other NYker has devil's horns on! )...

Day 2: Kansas? - Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Colorado any more!
I went to bed in Boulder after a crazy party, and the next thing I know, I'm no longer in Colorado, dreaming about 14ers. I wake up in Kansas, lost, no high mountains to orient me. The Wizard of 14ers appears in the sky and tells me that in order to get home, I have to go on a quest to find the summit of Mt Sunflower. Everywhere I look, flat rolling hills, and an omnipresent cloud of cow poo. Every direction looks the same, and smells worse. West no longer has a mountainous skyline.

I wander around in circles, like most lost people do.

Me lost in the flatlands, looking at my GPS in dismay:

Not knowing how to get home, let alone find the summit of anything, I get prepared to push the big scary help button on my SPOT device. I don't have ruby slippers, only red lederhosen. I don't think they work the same.

POOF!!!!! Just at that moment, a magic sherpa shows up to save the day! Seeing my dismay at being so lost, we rope up for safety.


Good thing for my appropriate party costume, the wicked wind of the east shows up to make things difficult. We have ice axes to hold on before being blown away. Don't want to end up farther away from home!


Nearing the summit, the wind starts letting up enough, that we can get back up on our feet.


Hurray! We made the summit, despite cows, wind and no visual clues to the terrain!


My sherpa decides that he needs to be higher than the highest point. The highest Kansan on this day..

Wow, I didn't know that sherpa's/"native guides" are common in this area! And that they come to your rescue too!

Kansas climbing addendum:
Despite being scientifically proven that Kansas is flatter than a pancake, we found a few places to scramble and climb. Monument Rocks is lots of fun! Though care should be taken to not wear dark clothing, unless you like chalky hand prints on your arse


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions
Kevin Baker

Sweet!     02/05/2011 00:22
Yet another creative Mt Sunflower TR. You‘re not in Colorado anymore, Toto! I didn‘t know there was such a thing as a 2K foot rule! I‘m pretty sure there are no ranked summits in KS. I‘ve done a few county highpoints in the state, and many are truly flatter than a pancake! Any aspirations of completing all 50 state highpoints?

HP Club Treasurer


LOL     09/02/2009 19:18
That was great!


Hilarious!     11/30/2010 17:28
Glad you made it to the summit, especially dealing with such adversity in those typical harsh Kansas conditions. Loved the "wander in circles" reference as well. What, no crampons for your sandals?! Going without extra traction looks a bit risky for that terrain, in my opinion.


Bwahahaha ...     09/02/2009 20:09
Very entertaining! Happy trails!


What, no fixed lines?     09/02/2009 21:09
Wow, that climb looked sketchy! Thank goodness for your ice screw and axes...I wonder what the mortality rate is on that climb??
Cool report, loved it!


Good one     09/02/2009 21:28
I can hardly wait to feel tired enough to give it a try.


Someday.....     09/02/2009 21:32
Someday, I hope to have enough experience and confidence to attempt this route. Glad you made it off the summit safely !


Whew     09/02/2009 22:31
Good thing you guys had ice axes and crampons!
I do note, with dismay, that neither of you are wearing helmets...
How was the glissade off of that monster???


Impressive     09/03/2009 00:05
Congrats on a difficult climb. I love Monument Rocks too, thats the best thing in Kansas in my opinion.

Tory Wells

I assume your Keens.....     09/03/2011 14:45
are the new crampon-compatible model? Way to knock-off the bastard!


Haha     09/04/2009 03:10
Haha, man i hate kansas


ROTFL.....     09/04/2009 17:26
nice report..if you think Kansas is flat, head down to the Texas panhandle sometime. You can sit on the porch and watch your dog run away from home for three days.


Oof     09/05/2009 11:14
After a climb like that, I‘m never going to be able to convince you to come back and climb in the lowly Garden! The thrills, chills, and crazy wildlife seem to be rampant! And the exposure! Yikes!!


When will the book be out?!     09/07/2009 02:26
I bet that after an epic summit like that, a book will be in order, in the same lines as ”Touching the Void,” or ”No shortcuts to the Summit!”


That was a good laugh!     09/11/2009 02:13
I can only imagine the intensity! Incredible!


Very Nice!     04/02/2012 17:15
The dumping cow in image 3 really brings the essence of Kansas to your report.

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