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View Climbing Charles Mound, Illinois. in a larger map
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Illinois
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Climbing Facts

State Illinois
Highest Peak Charles Mound
Elevation 1235 feet (376 metres)
First climbed ?  
Vertical Gain W Charles Mound Ave Gate <255feet (77m)
Total Distance (Oneway) W Charles Mound Ave Gate 1.22miles (1.9km)
Estimated hiking time 45 minutes return
Difficulty Easy
Required Maps Illinois Road Map
Date climbed July 2010

Illinois

Illinois- Charles Mound

| About Charles Mound|

If rolling green farmland, quiet country roads, fantastic warm sunny weather and a chat with fellow highpointers is high on your list of requirements, then Charles Mound should be high on your agenda.

Charles Mound is one of the few high-points on private land, which means access is restricted to just four weekends per year. The landowners are apparently very friendly (I didn't meet them) and there is a steady stream of hikers making the short walk back and forth to the summit.

Finding Charles Moundl is pretty straight-forward:
1. Head to Scales Mound (in the far north-west corner of Illinois)
2. Head for the far north-east corner of the town (ie always drive straight ahead and right - assuming coming from the south)
3. Once on Charles Mound Ave, you'll take a 90 degree left-hand turn, followed by a 90 degree right-hand turn
4. You'll pass a farm-house right by the road on the left. Just past this house is drive-way on the left with a red gate. This is the entrance.

It's not immediately clear, however there are usually a few other cars parked here and the owners left a sign by the gate asking hikers to park here.

It's important to note that Charles Mound is ONLY open to the public the first weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of the first weekend of June, July, August and September. There are no exceptions, so don't bother asking.

| Britton Hill Trail |

It seems a few others had decided one fine Saturday morning in July was going to be a good weekend to climb Charles Mound. I'd driven up earlier that morning from Chicago (my current hometown). The drive had taken my just on 3.5 hours. With my trusty Tom Tom, I really had no problems finding my way to the start-point. A few cars parked around the gate indicated I was in the right place.

The last few peaks I've climbed have all taken me less than 15 minutes walking (with a few requiring nothing more than getting out of the car), so I somehow thought this was going to be quick also. Shucks, it was just at the end of a driveway. I'd forgotton farms have long drive-ways.

Twenty-five minutes later I was standing amongst a small grove of trees on Illinois' highest mountain (hill). The owners of the farm have actually done a great job looking after this little nook, with a few chairs, nicely trimmed lawns and a pleasant walk in. Shucks, if I'd packed a lunch I may even have spent a little longer here. Instead I sat myself on one chair overlooking the surrounding fields and read through the 'Registration Book'. The guys that I'd just passed had marked Charles Mound as their 48th peak. Wow....I was only up to 4. A long way to go.

But with another peak on my list for the day (Wisconsin) I didn't tawdle for too long, but instead snapped a few snaps and headed back to the car. On the way I passed a family making their summit attempt. Their teenage daughter roller her eyes when Dad spoke about how nice it was to be out claiming Illinois' highest point. He rightly pointed out that climbing Charles Mound was infact one of the harder peaks to bag, not because of the difficulty but because of the limited access (only 8 days per year). This makes is almost as elusive as Denali. I'm clearly in esteemed company :)

| The Weather |

Given the limited weekends in which Charles Mound can be climbed (summer), the weather will invariably be fantastic. The walking itself isn't too bad, so even rain is unlikely to hamper any attempt.

On this adventure: Roland