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…
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.
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.
As you can probably tell from the pictures, it’s really not very steep and we quickly made our way up.
From the top of bump #2, we could see the remaining route over to the summit. It’s all gravy from here!
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!