Peak(s):  Pennsylvania Mountain  -  13,006 feet
Date Posted:  07/30/2021
Date Climbed:   07/14/2021
Author:  petal53run
 PENnsylvania 13-000   

PENnsylvania 13-000

Wednesday evening went and Thursday came at midnight. I could not sleep no matter which way I tossed and turned. As I watched the clock creep to 3AM, I thought maybe I should get up and do something, like go climb a mountain. After reviewing my climb ready list, Pennsylvania Mountain(13006) (PM) fit the criteria: fairly close drive, short hiking distance, a 13er and notable history. Afterall 2 of Colorados largest gold nuggets were found there in 1990 and 1937.

Time flew by while packing, so heading S on CO9 didn’t happen until 5ish. After inching through Frisco construction, Breckinridge and Quandary traffic, then W on Route 14/Sacramento Creek Road(4.7m), left ¼ mile, right on Pine Cone Way, right onto CR 14A, left ¼ mile onto Mountain View Drive for 1.7m. It was a scenic drive through the mountain neighborhood up to the Pennsylvania TH(11517)(pic1).

The trail begins flat with rocks stuck in the dirt(pic2). After 1/10m, there is a fork marked with a pile of rocks(pic3). The right trail is the Pika Loop Trail that originates in Fairplay. Go left to climb PM. The grade continues deceivingly flat and there are gnarly looking weathered bristlecone tree stumps(pic4-5-6). Pic of asters(pic7) and Indian paintbrush flowers(pic8) along the way before hiking through a meadow(pic9).

Whats really unique on this trail and mountain are the limestone slabs that look like headstones(pic10). One before entering the willows(pic11). The first big hill ahead (pic12) wears an obvious worn path(pic13). At the top to the left is a cool tall towering cairn(pic14-15). This is a significant point as 2 route choices are available. 1st choice, longer distance, is continuing straight ahead up the 2nd hill, by following the assortment of cairns, dodging holes(pic16) and survey markers to check out the sticky rock pile with fence posts at the 12??? peak. 2nd choice, shortcut, is to veer NW across rock choked tundra(pic17), cross PA creek, step through the mine area (big holes, timber and tailings)(pic18-19), and up a carpet of grass (pic20) to PM.

I hiked the 1st choice. I climbed the 2nd hill (pic21-22) to kiss the wild looking sticky rock monster(pic23). Summit (pic24). To avoid going low to squish through the creek, I walked the left grassy ridge(pic25) around to PM. The summit(pic26) was actually a room: a convoluted rock structure with a flag, walls and a bench seat(pic27). Even though the skies were blue that morning, clouds were moving in thanks to the cold biting wind. After admiring the perfect views of the neighbors towering above Mosquito Gulch 13ers(pic28), I eyeballed a SE line to the big cairn, crossed a jeep and foot trail, caught the original trail and nearly jogged back to the car(pic29).

I could not locate how PM got its name but failed mining attempts continue while geologists look for the origination point of the 2 nuggets (pic30). Meanwhile survey and testing markers populate the area (pic31) and tents gather pollen grains (pic32). Phenology researchers are studying how global warming is affecting the wild flowers. Funded by the Mountain Area Land Trust(MALT), research fosters better conservation of land and water habitats as its mission. MALT actively facilitates public projects and assists in land acquisitions for the purpose of conserving as much property as possible for public use and building trails. Administrative offices are at the Sacramento Creek Ranch. It is a base location for Fairplay school/youth groups and high altitude scientific researchers. So please don’t take or move the various markers.

In sum, this was an easy mountain to climb. As a Class 1 hike (4.5-miles), it fills the craving for climbing and you get a 13er out of it. The elevation gain is gradual and the incline up the 2 short hills makes your heart pound, but not out of control. A distinct dirt trail leads the way to the final hill, which is basically tundra spotted with a few rocks. NO scree to pick through. Although the stubby stature of PM is surrounded by the Mosquito Mountain range, the views are picturesque. The human and nature landscape decorations were most interesting. I drove 2 ½ hours one way while the round trip hike to PM was 2 1/4 hours. Although I didn’t find any placer gold rolling down the hillside, I got my money’s worth.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Comments or Questions
Nice report
07/30/2021 20:12
That was a nice report with wonderful photographs.
Looks like a fun, fun, day.

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