Peak(s):  Charles Mound - 1,235 feet
Date Posted:  08/05/2012
Date Climbed:   08/04/2012
Author:  Fisching

 Summitting the Everest...  

... 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 Before...
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).
Summit Sign.
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???

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Oh, It's the Midwest?
08/06/2012 02:28


Great Report
08/06/2012 02:31
Greg, thank you for telling us about your trip. While some people here are swayed by elevation, few understand how difficult low elevation routes can be. For someone who aspires to one day summit the mound, this is some very helpful beta. I'll be sure to bring my harness and helmet when I summit (I don't mean to be presumptuous, when I attempt).


Big Ten Country !
08/06/2012 03:01
so i liked it


Well played sir
08/06/2012 04:13
This is an awesome TR. Thanks for the laugh.

Craig Cook

The only way this could have been better...
08/06/2012 04:42 if the cow had chased you to the summit!


08/06/2012 06:53
This TR style is big time played out and tired. Next? I know a few folks on this site who hike state/county high points but they are far from unoriginal. Try it.


08/06/2012 14:06
Rangerguy reference


Long day!
08/06/2012 17:40
The terrain must have been gnarly for it to take you over 12 hours to cover the 2.6 miles, pictures must not do it justice.


08/06/2012 18:10
Thanks for the TR. Good monday morning laugh


08/06/2012 22:52
I think a requisite skill any highpointer must possess is a sense of humor.


09/24/2012 15:44
I think I'll leave the route time as is. Adds to the fun.

Tommyboy360, you're more than welcome to try a different spin on a Midwest state highpoint. Anyone whose username references an over-played 90's movie must have some untapped comedic writing talents.


Please be serious
08/07/2012 02:50
I don't want to laugh or smile when I read TRs. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Boring reading is the best reading, I always say!


Regurgitating Gordon Wood
08/07/2012 12:47
This banter reminds me of something...
Crux at about 3:40.
90s movies rule.

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