August 6, 2019
Having easily climbed the route known as Joy on Mount Indefatigable in Kananaskis 3 times previously in 2017 (once solo even) I felt completely overconfident heading up it again for the fourth time on Aug 6. In my haste and eagerness to get climbing I ended up leading my partner and 2 other teams of two up the wrong slab! One of the parties that followed us up on this day had even done it this year and he still got suckered.
Long story short this is a mistake that many have made as the slabs look very similar from the bottom and start very close to each other. Ascending the first slab makes for a tedious, shitty day instead of the fun easy objective that is the actual Joy route next slab over.
None of the three parties on this day realized our mistake until we topped out 800m and 6 pitches up as the route seems eerily similar at first. Make sure when you’re on the climbers ascent trail you stay well left of the first brutal slab. For an excellent route description of the slab that has been given the very accurate name: ‘Joyless’ click here.
For a gps track of Joyless on Mount Indefatigable click here.
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Joy felt like a wise conservative choice for the first multi after 1.5 years off due to a nagging (now healed post surgery) injury. We were pretty eager and went charging up the first slab we saw, which turned out to be the wrong route entirely. Apparently what we did is called ‘Joyless 5.8x’, aptly named as everything was super run out and all the anchors were totally desperate. Don’t make the same mistake, it’s easy to do! Luckily two other parties followed us up our folly, passed us but got stopped at the very top where the ridge gets so rotten it’s basically unprotectable and too sketchy to climb due to the extreme rockfall hazard. Naturally I had to see for myself and climbed into the trap as well despite the warning from the other team…but it all worked out as we were able to combine our gear to bail and by some miracle ended up only having to leave behind slings and beaners. All in all Joyless turned out to be a great experience with some awesome people, but it could have turned out very differently as we were only ever one bad decision away from significant, unnessecary and totally avoidable hardship. It would have been a henious expensive bail as a party of two! Joyless was the perfect reintroduction to climbing in the Rockies and a sweet reminder that preparation and constant reassement of a route is a great idea, even when you think you know exactly what you’re doing.