... of Illinois*
Peaks Climbed: Charles Mound via Cornfield Route
Start Time: 9:35am
End Time: 10:37pm
Total Mileage: 2.6 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 255ft
After volunteering countless hours at my parents house which included servicing 3 cars and painting a room of their house (without their permission), I figured the 14er community would give me their begrudged approval to go climbing after giving back.
The After... Fischer Painting Inc. Available for hire.
So after attending a wedding in the middle of a cornfield - and really, that could be ANYWHERE in Illinois - Kim and I headed for Charles Mound. The worst part is finding the damn place. Saying the entrance is "right across from a cornfield" leaves open a voluminous amount of incorrect choices. Thankfully, we weren't the only idiots climbing the Illinois highpoint today as the two cars park on the roadside with out-of-state licenses plates (Washington and Nevada) were a clue that we were in the right place.
Park at THIS cornfield. It's like every other cornfield only... F it. They're all the same.
The approach: It's like the Lake Como Road only different; it's flat, straight, and gains minimal elevation. The gravel road is truly symbolic of Illinois - it goes straight as far as the eye can see and there's corn. The state of Illinois should promote me to the head of their Department of Tourism.
If you look hard, you might be able to see Little Bear.
Here comes the tricky part: the gravel road winds around a soybean field en route to the barn on the far side of the field. There's also a fork in the gravel road without a cairn, so it becomes quite complicated. A GPS device would be very useful to ensure you're on the correct route. I don't want to be responsible for anyone getting lost on the Bermuda triangle of IL climbs.
The tricky part: The Soybean Traverse
The road fork. Beware: No Cairns
Northwest Illinois Scenery
Near the barn, you pass a pond and have the final summit push. Make sure you have a good weather window since the exposure is extreme and the only "ditch" option is to retrace your 25 steps to relative safety. It's like the Knife Edge and Capitol only different. I put in my climbing pacifier and Kim took the lead on this part.
High Apline Lake. Swimming NOT advised.
Kim free-soloing the 5.13d summit massif.
Thankfully, there is a sign for the "summit" on top. Without it, you'd have absolutely no idea you arrive or climbed anything more than a "f***ing molehill" (© Rangerguy123).
I'm gassed. Make sure you properly acclimate.
USGS marker. Your tax dollars paid for someone to come up here and place the marker.
View North from the summit. I can see Wisconsin (seriously, the border is about 1/4 of a mile north from here)
Our hike out was far to straightforward for my take as we didn't take a cirque route due to restrictions; Charles Mound is privately owned. It's like Culebra only different; it's FREE!!!
*I had to do something with the title to grab people's attention. Otherwise, how else was I going to waste 10 minutes of your life that you'll never get back?
Isn't it sad that I actually took the time to make the map???