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Ascent of Horton Hill on 2021-09-10

Climber: Jeff Ulrich

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, September 10, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Horton Hill
    Location:USA-Illinois
    Elevation:1000 ft / 304 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove in from northwest on IL34. Turned left (east) on Somerset Rd. (FR707) and circled around the south and east sides of Wamble Mountain, passing a tee intersection with Womble Rd (FR 699) on the left. After the road turned back due north, went for about 1/2 mile. Just after the road crosses a big culvert over a small creek there is a trail that opens off the right side of the road. I parked along the road at the trailhead near sign saying "no motorized vehicles-foot traffic only."

The trail follows the creek for about 1/4 mile before it turns northeast and ends near the foot of a steep hillside. This is marked as "mine" on the FS topo maps. There are a couple of small pits in the ground and I spotted an old iron shaft with a gear laying in the leaves. This is all that is left of the King Prospect, but at one time there were 3 mineshafts nearby, located along the Shawneetown Fault Zone. The mine produced fluorspar through at least 1949. About 1-1/2 mile farther north on this same fault, near Stoneface, is an abandoned silver mine.

From the minesite I bushwhacked due east up the steep, wooded hill about 1/4 mile, gaining 300+ feet of elevation to come out on FR 1454, a dirt road that runs along the entire ridge from south of Cave Hill, east of Stoneface and on down to Horton Hill. It looks well traveled by ATVs and 4x4s judging from amount of mudholes and beer cans along the way, but made for good walking. There were even tracks where somebody had ridden an MTB along there. I came out near a small rise marked with a spot elevation of 929 on the map, higher than Bald Knob, so I walked up to it before turning back south and following the road for 3/4 mile.

There is a trail leading off to the right (west) marked with a yellow diamond saying Horton Hill, which you have reached the north end of at this point. I took the trail that winds down into a col before beginning to climb again towards Bald Knob. The trail circles around the north side of Bald Knob and continues on to the west. There is a short climb off the trail up to the high point. Maybe at one time it was bald, but now it is covered with trees, brush, and poison ivy.

Left Bald Knob walking back east on the trail I had came in on to junction with FR1454 that runs N-S along ridge. Turned south (right) on 1454 for about 1/4 mile, going past another more overgrown dirt road that veers left. The high ground of Horton Hill is about 200 feet farther along the road, off to the right in the woods. It is fairly flat, but I picked the area that looked the highest and circled around over it and called it good. A bit farther south shows as private property on the FS maps. I didn't go any farther to see if it was posted or not, but the road goes on through it. The high point is on FS land.

I retraced my path back north on the road to the trail junction leading to Bald Knob. After turning west on the trail and going about 500 feet towards Bald Knob, I started a bushwhack down a small creek that rises off to the right in the saddle between Bald Knob and Horton Hill. It was steep, rocky, and brushy at first, but got better as I went. As the stream was joined by other small side branches it began to have pools of water and flattened out into a small valley. Eventually another small creek not shown on the map joined on the left. Nearby there was a sign and a survey marker on the line between Sec. 20 and 21. The stream soon joined the old road/trail leading back to the abandoned mine. Going left on this trail I soon reached my vehicle. Total trip time was about 2 hours 45 minutes. I probably could have picked a shorter, quicker route, but it was all over Forest Service land and I wanted to see the old mine.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: King Mine/Bald Knob/ Horton Hill

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
2Horton Hill2021-09-10 



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