A simple model for the start-up of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack is proposed. The model covers a wide temperature range from temperatures below the freezing point of water to usual operation temperatures of a low-temperature fuel cell. Model equations are derived from first principles. They account for the effects of ice and liquid water on the stack behavior. The model is validated by experimental data published by Schießwohl [2009, “Experimental Investigation of Parameters Influencing the Freeze Start Ability of a Fuel Cell System,” J. Power Sources, 193(1), pp. 107–115.], and a good qualitative agreement is found. The applicability of the model to problems of operation strategies and stack design is demonstrated by simulation studies.