July 8, 2015
Carmarthen Peak is the highest in Welsh Peaks in the Starbird Range of Purcell Mountains. Comparing to the nearby Irish Peaks and Scotch Peaks this group of peaks are generally less impressive and Carmarthen Peak isn’t an exception. The east side of this mountain does appear like a steep continuous wall but to reach its summit is nothing but a walk-up from North Star Glacier from the southwest. Eric, Ben and I ascended it as a short detour from the climb of our major objective, Gwendoline Mountain, on the 3rd day of our Welsh Lakes camp.
The glacier slog just seemed to drag on forever but with good perseverance we eventually reached the rock. There’s really nothing special about getting up this peak other than some minor route-finding. We aimed towards the south ridge and then followed it all the way to the top (very foreshortening and with a few false summits). The view was surprisingly good especially looking down towards the 3 Welsh Lakes and Aberystwyth Lake.
On the descent Eric went down the SW slopes but had to re-ascend a bit on the glacier. Ben and I stuck closer to our ascent line but traversed a bit too low below the ridge crest and had to deal with some difficult scrambling. I think the best option would be just reversing the south ridge route. Descending from Alpha Centauril/Carmarthen col went by relatively uneventful and a bit easier than I thought, but still loose. After that it’s a pleasant plunge down the snow slope followed by a nice stroll back to camp (though with some tedious boulder-hopping).
Since we’d already got the two primary objectives (Mt. Alpha Centauri and Gwendoline Mountain) we decided to hike out on the 4th day. We only brought roughly 4.5 days food anyway so no point to linger any longer. But before we left this beautiful area I still wanted to take advantage of the sunny weather. While Eric and Ben sleeping in, I decided to wake up 2 hours earlier and make an ascent of Harlech Peak and Merioneth Peak solo.