Kansas is yet another spot not known…for its rock climbing, but as we’ve learned with places like Florida, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any climbing to be had. The State of Kansas has just over 200 noted routes. Most of them are bouldering routes, as Kansas is home to over 500 caves (although most are inaccessible). There are, however, a few crags with sport climbing.
To get you hyped about the potential to go climbing in Kansas, I thought it would be helpful to get you hyped about Kansas. Of course you already know that Kansas is the home to fictional Wizard of Oz character Dorothy Gale, but did you know that you can tour the “official” Dorothy Gale house in Liberal Kansas for just $7? Just be warned that it isn’t her actual house, since of course she wasn’t an actual person. Another interesting point is that Kansas is the geographical center of the contiguous 48 states (not so cool now are you Missouri). Kansas is also known for wheat.
So, now that you are super-hyped about Kansas, let’s get you hyped about climbing in Kansas, specifically Elk City, Kansas. The Elk City climbing area surrounds beautiful Elk City Lake. Here, you’ll find 38 routes including both bouldering and sport climbing. It’s a pristine area with most routes offering lovely views of the lake. The sport climbing can be found on Memorial Wall which is a five-minute walk from the parking area. Memorial Wall is composed of eleven routes ranging from 5.5 – 5.12. My favorite route names are a 5.8 called Unknown 4 bolt Sport Route, and a 5.5 called Secret Entrance to the Lollipop Guild.
One of the best things about Elk City climbing is the potential for route development, and I think someone could really make up for a missed opportunity if they want to put in the work. There should/could be a wall in which every route is named according to a Wizard of Oz trope. With options like Ruby Slippers, Flying Monkey’s, The Wicked Witch, The Cowardly Lion, it would have so much potential. Maybe in due time? But with 38 routes and views to go around, after a day of climbing in Elk City, you are going to be famished!
Just six miles away is Ane Mae’s Coffee and Sandwich Shop. Ane Mae’s is the quintessential small town café. Warm and friendly, with good food and drinks at outstanding prices. Climbers sometimes live up to their reputation of being poor or cheap, but no matter the budget, Ane Mae’s has you covered.
Take a guess how much a sandwich, wrap, or panini cost at Ane Mae’s? Go ahead, I’ll wait…
$6.95…AND that includes chips and a drink. You can get a slice of quiche for three dollars and twenty-five cents. They have veggie options, kid friendly options, salads, breakfast, combos, baked goods, and smoothies. All this in addition to their full café and drink menu including my favorite Chai Latte which is only $3.25 for a large.
There aren’t many things that can match the comforting smell of a warm café on a cold day, and Ane Mae’s delivers the goods at prices that all climbers would welcome.
Ane Mae’s is the idyllic small town café where everyone feels at home, and as our local, yet imaginary hero once stated…there’s no place like home!
Location: Independence, Kansas “Ad astra per aspera (to the stars through difficulties)”
Crag: Elk City Climbing Area
Restaurant: Ane Mae’s Coffee and Sandwich Shop
Distance: 6.4 Miles