OverviewThe northeast ridge of Antrim Peak offers a nontechnical scramble route (mostly rough class 2, some easy class 3) to the summit. The terrain encountered en route includes talus of varying degrees of size and stability, heather meadows, snowfields, and finally a fun class 3 scramble on reasonably solid granite up the final summit ridge. Total elevation gain is approximately 2,500 feet from the Middle Welsh Lake, not counting minor ups and downs. Though this may seem rather small, don't be fooled into false confidence: the terrain is at times extremely rough going, and the copious amount of boulder-hopping required can make it feel like a lot more! On the positive side, you will be rewarded for your efforts with magnificent views of the Welsh Lakes Basin, as well as some of the most spectacular and impressive peaks in the Purcell Range and the Canadian Rockies.
Getting ThereFrom the middle (second) Welsh Lake, circle around the lake on its eastern shore on intermittent trails (occasional bushwhacking required), until you come to a large, open meadow. On the other side of the meadow lies the huge terminal moraine of what used to be the Centaurus Glacier - which now occupies a much smaller and higher cirque high on the east side of Mt. Alpha Centauri. Between the moraine and the mountainside on the left is a prominent gully, often filled with snow: this gully is the beginning of your route.
Route DescriptionAscend the gully between the moraine and the mountainside for several hundred feet, until you can see a hanging valley between Antrim Peak and its northern neighbor, craggy Connemara Peak, on your left. This valley is your next objective. Avoid the loose, wet gully that drains the valley; instead, ascend the minor ridge right of the gully for several hundred vertical feet, until you are nearly level with the floor of the valley; then cross the gully on talus. Follow the floor of the valley until you reach a headwall that leads to a prominent, talus-covered bench that slopes gradually upward towards Antrim Peak. Ascend this headwall on heather slopes (easier than it looks), then make an ascending rightward traverse across the bench, over large and sometimes unstable talus (stay on snow if possible - this part can be extremely strenuous and occasionally unnerving), to one of several gullies leading to the col between Antrim and Connemara. Ascend the most prominent of the gullies - once you see it, the way up will be obvious. Aim for large, blocky terrain to the left of the gully - stay off the scree slopes on the right, which are dangerously loose. From the col, ascend the ridge rightward to the summit. A short, but aesthetic snow arete often forms here, which adds some nice alpine flavor to an otherwise less than glamorous route. The summit is reached after several false summits and occasional easy third-class scrambles. From the summit, one may elect to continue on to nearby Leitrim Peak, but this involves significantly trickier (third and fourth class) terrain, and is beyond the scope of this description. To descend, simply retrace the ascent route.
Essential Gear-Sturdy boots (the amount of boulders here is really quite staggering!)
-Crampons (if getting an early start)
-Helmet (did not have one, but wish I did!)
-Poles (optional; some may think they are more of a hassle with all the -boulder hopping, but I recall them being fairly useful, especially on descent)
-Lots of water - despite the snowfields, there is little running water on this route, especially once you leave the hanging valley.
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