Antrim Peak

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British Columbia, Canada, North America
Mountaineering, Scrambling
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
9577 ft / 2919 m
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Antrim Peak
Created On: Sep 28, 2011
Last Edited On: Sep 28, 2011


Antrim Peak is a nearly 3000-meter peak that rises almost directly above the second Welsh Lake in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia. Like the higher nearby Mt. Alpha Centauri, Antrim Peak is part of the major subrange of the Purcells known as the Starbird Ridge. It lies south-southeast of the second lake, and is part of the Irish Peaks (which contain other characteristic names like Connemara, Donnegal and Killarney), which enclose the Welsh Lakes basin on the southwest. It has several summits of nearly equal height, the highest being the farthest south. It features one glacier - the Shannon Glacier, which it shares with Leitrim and Donnard Peaks - which extends eastward down towards Irish Lake. (As a side note, the topo map for this area shows the glacier extending all the way down to the lake. This is no longer the case; since the map was made, the glacier has retreated to nearly half of its previous size!) It is quite steep on both the north and especially the southeast sides, but has relatively moderate (by Purcell standards) ridges extending south and northeast, the latter of which offers a completely non-technical (mostly grade 2 cross-country hiking with perhaps some easy class 3, and occasional easy snow) route up to the summit, which is somewhat of a rarity in this generally rugged region. Views from the summit are absolutely spectacular, with the entire heart of the Purcell Range (Bugaboos, Farnham Towers, Delphine, Commander, etc.) spread out before you, and the mighty spine of the Canadian Rockies rising in the distance. If one is spending a few days in the Welsh Lakes and has limited mountaineering experience, this is definitely the peak to climb!

The one major downside to Antrim Peak is the inordinate amount of talus encountered on much of the way to its gorgeous summit. The good news is that much of it is not nearly as bad as it looks: rocks that appear like a loose pile of debris from a distance frequently turn out to be huge and mostly (relatively) stable boulders, and although negotiating them requires both endurance and caution, for the most part they are reasonably safe. In addition, for much of the year (mid-August this past season), it is possible to bypass a lot of the roughest sections on snow - albeit with an ice ax, which you will need in any case for the steep snowfields encountered on parts of the summit ridge.

Getting There

See approach to the Middle (second) Welsh Lake in the Mt. Alpha Centauri page. From the northern end of the lake, skirt around on its eastern shore (some bushwhacking required), aiming for a rocky gully between the mountainside to your left and the huge moraine south of the lake. This gully marks the start of the route to Antrim Peak (see route info for more details).


The best camping location for Antrim Peak is found right along the shore of the second Welsh Lake. Several options exist, including at the lake's outlet (recommended, as it puts you slightly closer to the start of the route). Please try to camp on previously used spots only, to preserve the fragile nature of this high mountain environment.

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