Ardennes Peak (ExCoelis Mountain) GR:441656

elevation: 2,271 m.  height gain: 920 m.
area: David Thompson Highway,AB map 83 C/1
2015-May-03


Ref: Eric Coulthart in the Canadian Rockies

Our route differs from the one Eric describes, we followed the north-west drainage to the Normandy-Ardennes Col.

excoelis mountain


ExCoelis Mountain: Normandy, Ardennes, Rhine and Elbe Peaks (left to right), Stan Waters is not visible.
Scramble: RT 9.5 (includes Normandy Peak); 4.0 up. ExCoelis Mountain is a great destination, the 5-peak complex offers numerous options of varying difficulty. Ardennes is one of the smaller peaks but it packs a punch! Other than Eric's trip report, we couldn't find much on the internet... He describes ascending Ardennes Peak via its north-west ridge. With the possibility of being turned around due to fresh snow and difficult scrambling, we opted to try to reach the Normandy-Ardennes Col with the option to bail out on Ardennes and still go up Normandy. We planned to explore our way up the north-west drainage. Charles was waiting at the trailhead when we arrived, the weather was stellar. We enjoyed the short approach on the popular trails. Once we left the trail, we travelled towards the drainage through light timber. We started to climb a bit too quick as opposed to following the drainage; we ended up having to traverse into the main creekbed/gully on steep frozen scree. The snow-filled gully offered a pleasant ascent to the col but the short scramble to the top looked daunting. I opted to leave my pack behind and followed Fab's lead with some hesitation; the fresh snow was mostly avoidable except for one section, which was unnerving. I was happy to step on the flat summit, I didn't really expect to make it! We roamed and checked out the register before carefully retracing our steps. Crabbing down difficult bits was useful, I was glad I didn't have my pack pushing me forward. Back at the saddle, we started to envision going up Normandy Peak. Charles hurt his knee on the way down so he decided to hang back and take a nap.
suspension bridge

Suspension bridge over the North Saskatchewan River.

second bridge

A second smaller bridge precedes a trail junction; we didn't follow the Siffleur Falls trail.

leaving the trail


Leaving the trail behind.


ascending too quick


Ascending in the north-west drainage a bit too quick.


traversing to the right gully


Having to traverse to the proper gully on frozen scree.


ardennes peak


Ardennes Peak ahead.


firm snow


Ascending the gully on firm snow.


almost at the col


Almost at the col.


nearing ardennes


Making our way to the base of Ardennes Peak.


looks daunting


It looks daunting...


following fab's lead


Following Fabrice's lead.


looking back


Looking back.


difficult scrambling


Some difficult scrambling.


treacherous with snow


Fresh snow making things a bit more treacherous.


steep and exposed


It's steep and exposed in places.


we made it


We made it!


view north


View north towards Elliot Peak.


normandy peak


Normandy Peak.


stand waters peak


Stan Waters Peak.


checking the register


Checking out the register with Rhine Peak on the right.


backtracking


Carefully retracing our steps.


careful not to dislodge rocks


Charles is cautious not to dislodge rocks.


fab leads the way


Fab leads the way.


ctabbing down


Crabbing down.


mountain ballet


Mountain ballet.


on safer ground


Back to safer ground!


Continue on to Normandy Peak
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