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Ascent of Chicago High Point on 2014-10-18

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, October 18, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Chicago High Point
    Location:USA-Illinois
    Elevation:670 ft / 204 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a very flat and very urbanized area, so finding the “highest natural ground” is very tough. The highpoint is located in the Beverly neighborhood, a relatively well-to-do area in the southwestern area of the city. There seems to be some mild controversy about the identity of the spot, summarized in this article: http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/sweet-spot-top-chicago-107897

The most authoritative information appears to be in a book published by the Sun-Times called the “Chicago Metro Almanac” (no online copy available) that states the city’s HP is on S. Claremont Avenue, just north of W. 95th Street, and my field observations confirm this.

My plan was to park on a neighborhood street and explore the area, but it was difficult to enter the residential streets from the arterials of Western Avenue and 95th Street since they were all blocked off to keep traffic out. I finally parked on the 92nd Street cul-de-sac just west of Western Ave, at the landmark ice-cream shop “Rainbow Cone”. This location is inside the northernmost of nine 670-foot contours on the USGS map located in Chicago, and just across Western from a 675-foot contour that is outside the city limits. But there is a giant shopping center across the street and the 675’ contour is now obviously gone. So I walked around the block the Rainbow Cone is on, trying to see where high ground was, and the shop does seems like about the highest point there.

I next walked south on Claremont Avenue, to the second northernmost, and biggest, 670-foot contour. There is a street planter blocking Claremont just north of 95th, and this spot definitely has the feel of the highest area around. The grassy area on the west side of the street planter is a likely spot—there is even a small staircase here that goes down to a parking lot, which was perhaps excavated into the “hillside” a bit.

I then explored the south side of 95th a bit, and another place that felt quite high was in the east-west alley between Claremont and Oakley, just behind the shops on busy 95th Street.

The remaining seven 670’ contours are further south and much smaller, and the information from my research indicated that they were not contenders.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:0 ft / 0 m
    Elevation Loss:0 ft / 0 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:0 ft / 0 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.8 km
    Trailhead:Rainbow Cone  670 ft / 204 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:0 ft / 0 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.4 km
    Trailhead:Rainbow Cone  670 ft / 204 m



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