Carmarthen Peak

elevation: 2,949 m.  height gain: 1,245 m.
area: Radium,BC map 82 K/9-10

Via Welsh Lakes. Ref: Aaron Cameron and Matt Gunn's Hikes around Invermere & the Columbia River Valley.
From the south end of the Upper Welsh Lake, 348067, head south-west past a tarn, 343065 and aim for the Alpha Centauri-Carmarthen Col. A cairned traverse provides a moderate way to the col. We travelled on the edge of North Star Glacier before gaining Carmarthen's south ridge. Blocky terrain easily leads to the top.

taking no chance

After costly repairs, we take no chance.
Scramble: RT 11.5; 5.25 up. We've visited Welsh Lakes on many occasions, sometimes camping with the dogs and other times as day trips to scramble a peak. This area is a gem despite the last kilometers to the trailhead requiring a high clearance vehicle. It's always a pleasure coming here, especially in the fall when the larches turn yellow and contrast against the aqua blue lakes. We had ulterior motives on this trip, we wanted to familiarize ourselves with the Alpha Centauri-Carmarthen Col and see how long it takes to get up there. This information will help us determine if we can venture onto the North Star Glacier as a day trip. Following nearly 3 hours of driving, we hiked up the trail and reached the back of the middle lake in good time. We recalled previous trips with the dogs, often too early in the season and continued to the upper lake on a crude trail dotted by cairns. The weather wasn't promising despite the good forecast, we thought thunder might be eminent... Still, the odd blue holes gave us a glimmer of hope that it might improve throughout the day. We carried on beyond the upper lake, past the tarn and onto the gravel flats; Centaurus Glacier and the col came into view. We made our way to the col by ascending a little too far climber's left; although the route we chose worked well, the cairned traverse is more direct. We travelled on the edge of the glacier and climbed up the ridge. By now, horizontal graupel chilled us; thankfully it didn't last, we made it to the top as the sun pierced through the cloud cover. The sights are outstanding, we had to stay for awhile to soak it in. Fabrice found a nice sheltered spot where the wind was totally attenuated, we ate lunch. When I stood to put back the rusty tin with no lid that is the register, I realized how sheltered we truly were; the wind was cold and the temperature barely 10˚ Celsius. We backtracked to the col where we located the cairned traverse and made it down to the gravel flats before the rain. We had another quick break as it started to drizzle; the timing was perfect, we were off the upper mountain and soon on the trail. Like the graupel on the summit ridge, the drizzle didn't last and returning was pleasant. All and all, this was a fantastic scramble at Welsh Lakes!

lower welsh lake

Lower Welsh Lake with Antrim and Leitrim Peaks, left of center.

middle welsh lake

Middle Welsh Lake and Connemara Peak.


Continuing to Upper Welsh Lake.

looking back

Looking back, we've left the good trail behind.

crude trail

Several cairns indicate a crude trail.

adding rocks to the cairns

Fabrice adds rocks to the cairns.

reaching the upper lake

Reaching Upper Welsh Lake with the Alpha Centauri-Carmarthen Col in sight.

upper welsh lake

Looking down at the Upper Welsh Lake.

going around the tarn

Going around the tarn to the gravel flats.

heading to the col

Making our way to the col.

waterworn rock

Waterworn rock precedes the col.

alternate way up

Too far climber's left of the cairned traverse but it works.

short scramble

Short scramble.

on the glacier

Travelling on the edge of North Star Glacier.

blocky rock

Blocky lichen-covered rock, typical to this area.

summit ahead

Summit ahead.

view north

View north with Mount Ethelbert left of center.

north star peak

North Star Peak and Gwendoline Mountain on the right.

view south-west

Impressive mountains looking south-west towards Commander Glacier.

welsh lakes

Three of the four Welsh Lakes, Aberystwyth Lake is unseen on the far left.

heading back

Heading back.

crampons back on

Crampons back on, the glacier is down to ice.

mount alpha centauri

Mount Alpha Centauri in front of us.

galway peak

Galway Peak.

back at the col

Back at the col, we noticed cairns lower on the left.

natural traverse

Several cairns indicate a natural traverse.

down from the col

Down from the col easily.

looking back

Looking back.

waterworn rock

Using friction on the waterworn rock.



possible shelter

In case the weather turns for the worse.

gravel flats

Gravel flats.

Mount alpha centauri

One last look at Mount Alpha Centauri and Centaurus Glacier.

around the tarn

Going around the tarn.

double rainbow

Double rainbow over the upper lake.


Backtracking to the lovely lakes and trail below.
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