July 7, 2015
Antrim Peak is one of the easiest summits in Irish Peaks, a group of rugged peaks guarding Welsh Lakes on the south and east sides in the heart of Purcell Mountains. Ben, Eric and I scrambled it on the second day of our Welsh Lakes peak-bagging trip, after successfully ascended the nearby Mt. Alpha Centauri on Day 1. We chose Antrim Peak and Leitrim Peak since the weather forecast looked fairly unstable on this day. In fact, we got rained hard in the morning so slept in till almost 10 am. The rain stopped and weather cleared up, so off we went.
The biggest challenge for this day was the endless boulder hopping. To access these two peaks from our camp we must cross a gigantic field of granite boulders, from microwave to car sized, for about 1.5-2 km distance and sometimes on side-hilling terrain. It was just awful but that’s the theme of this area so we had to get used to it… Eventually we made across and it’s time to focus on the ascent. Eric and Ben for some reasons went further up the hanging valley between Connemara and Antrim for exploration so before I realized I was already a hundred meters or so up the slope, so from here on I essentially did the ascent solo.
I pretty much picked a direct line from the base to the summit going through a few gully features on some very loose terrain. There were at least two shooting galleries to ascent through so probably a good thing we got separated at this point. Climbing solo meant I didn’t need to avoid knocking down rocks so a lot less mental concentration needed. The rocks were really loose and it’s almost impossible to avoid kicking down chunks anyway, and sometimes microwave sized. After a long foreshortened grind I eventually got closer to the summit. Judging by my GPS I knew the peak to my left was slightly lower so I didn’t waste energy here and ascended directly to true summit. The connecting ridge had some fun scrambling (Class 2 or 3 ish), but other than that technically it’s easy/moderate scrambling only.
The nearby Leitrim Peak did not look very interesting to ascend, but since I was there already I had to give it a shot.