Peak(s):  Pennsylvania Mountain  -  13,006 feet
Date Posted:  06/30/2020
Date Climbed:   05/03/2020
Author:  Chelsea
Additional Members:   13erRetriever
 Pennsylvania Mountain   

Pennsylvania Mountain (13,006') | CO Rank: 635/637

Mosquito Range | Pike National Forest | Fairplay, CO

05/03/20 | 5.47 miles | 1,606' gain | Class 1

Pennsylvania Mountain is in the running to be the easiest 13er in Colorado, so the number of tries it took me to actually summit falls into the "embarrassing" category. But apparently the third time's the charm because I finally, finally made it.

Allie and I woke up at what can only be described as the butt crack of dawn (aka the middle of the night) to drive to the Pennsylvania Mountain Trailhead. We arrived at 5:30am, just as the sun was starting to come up. This turned out to be a great time to start because the snow was still frozen most of our hike, allowing us to walk on top. As we walked through the last bits of forest before treeline, we complained about how we've never seen an inversion before, and then we turned around...

Oh look! An inversion!

An inversion was literally occurring while we complained about having never seen one. I don't know what the odds are of that happening, but it seems very small. Also, the sunrise was amazing, so please enjoy a ton of pictures.


The great thing about Pennsylvania is that even when there's snow, this route is pretty safe for those less experienced with winter conditions (like me). The trailhead is accessible year round and the slopes are gradual. We followed a boot pack from the trailhead to treeline and then picked our own way up the ridge.

Me & Harper with the largest snowman I've ever seen. Please explain to me how they got the head up there...
Allie & Harper

There are a few bumps along the ridge that look like they could be the summit, but the summit is actually beyond anything you can see as you head up.

A quick break on the first bump, looking at the second bump (not the summit).
A prospect along the ridge
The final push to bump #2!

As you can probably tell from the pictures, it's really not very steep and we quickly made our way up.

Summit cairn on bump #2

From the top of bump #2, we could see the remaining route over to the summit. It's all gravy from here!

Penn's summit is just across this broad plateau.
A very flat summit

Since this route isn't very difficult, we had plenty of energy left to explore. We found some cliffs along the western side of the summit and a lot of sheep poop.


And since it was one of those days where when we talk about something it appears, a herd of bighorn sheep arrived. They made their way up to Penn's summit, watching us all the while. By the looks of all the poop in the area, we were in their home.


We detoured to the mining ruins to quickly explore and then moved out of the sheep's way.


Our descent went by very quickly. The snow was softer but thankfully still supportive. We also stopped to check out the metal tags that carpet one area. These apparently were (or are) part of some type of study, though I'm unsure of the details.


We really had a perfect, easy day to summit Penn. I was so happy to FINALLY reach the top!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Comments or Questions
Nice work!
06/30/2020 08:09
Looks like you guys had a great day. I recently summited Parnassus on my third try, so I can confirm that the easy 13ers are that much sweeter once you have to make a couple attempts.

06/30/2020 10:25
Thank you! These mountains sure humble us, don't they?

Penn State
06/30/2020 17:20
As someone who semi-regularly gets whooped on the easier 13ers and even got lost in the willows on Pennsylvania trying to find what in retrospect was an extremely obvious trail, I totally understand where you're coming from. Nice job on the summit!

Nice, Chelsea!
06/30/2020 21:33
Very nice report. LOVE Harper!

07/01/2020 08:23
Ben - What is it with the easy ones that makes them so hard to get sometimes!? Haha, thank you!

Jay - Thank you! I'm sure you will meet her one day if we can convince you to go out on a weekend ;)

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