Prowers County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: May 2006
Author: Roger Williams

I did better on Two Buttes despite a heart condition that has made ascents of hills very slow (though I climbed many in the Ozarks on the trip, at low elevations, as well as Black Mesa). Road C in your guide is shown as Road 85. I didn't see a cemetery but the piece of wood-and-metal fence, or permanently closed gate, on the diagonal by the butte was obvious. I found it difficult to climb; on the way back I just slid under the barbed-wire fence nearby. The bottom strand was high enough to clear it easily and not get snagged on the wire. (No, I did not loosen the wire!). It would be nice if there was a gate for hikers, or a vee like Black Mesa or Pine Ridge, NE.

Following the fairly clear path, I climbed both, with an Alpine Traverse of South Butte. Some way up, it forked and I took the right way up a gully - steep but no scrambling or use of hands required -- on its southwest side, up through a breach in the small cliff and on to the top. There was a lot of glass lying around; I left policing this to somebody prepared to handle it. I also found a nice glass bead or disk and took it home as a souvenir. I suspect a round pit in the rock near the high point is where some jerk pried out one of those nice brass USGS bench marks that get so badly vandalized (the one on Black Mesa, OK is in good condition). I descended the other side to the saddle (i.e. a traverse, like Elbert and many others), climbed the North Butte too and followed a path down, putting a sort of monument upright that had fallen or been pushed over on the way back to the fence. There are trails or social paths all over the place; the buttes are getting badly eroded. Nice of the owner to allow access, though. There was nobody around.

The view from the windy sunny summit was mostly "the vision splendid, of the sunlit plains extended" (A.B. "Banjo" Patterson, Clancy of the Overflow). The vast expanse of empty plains was broken by ranks of wind turbines turning out megawatts just to the north -- it blew half a gale -- and by three tiny points on the southwest horizon that had to be Prichett's three grain elevators just clearing the horizon. I'd been watching the little cone of Two Buttes poking over it for miles east of there. Surprisingly, I could not see Springfield, though.