Approach: 45 minutes
Climb: 3 - 6 hours
Descent: 1.5 - 3 hours
Car-to-Car: 5 - 9 hours
Sun: late morning through afternoon
Joy follows the incredibly striking right facing dihedral up the Mt. Indefatigable slab for nearly 2000 feet (300m)of climbing! The rock is generally very solid with excellent friction. The numerous small ledges do tend to accumulate rocks, so be wary, especially in early season. There are many very nice belays to choose from on almost every pitch. Some take a 70m rope to reach (or just a bit of simul on easy ground with a 60m). Basically, climb until you hit the end of the rope on every pitch then build a belay at the best spot. A topo is completely unnecessary for this climb, as it's impossible to get lost.
The route difficulty can vary widely from 5.4 to 5.8 depending on the line chosen. The rule of thumb is, if it's hard head horizontally from where you are. The new guidebook Canadian Rock: Select Climbs of the West calls the route 5.8. I'd say that's only true if you stay in the dihedral the entire time and purposefully avoid the slab.
The route is all gear anchors with VERY minimal fixed gear (6 pieces in 10 pitches in summer 2011).
Driving Directions, Approach, & Descent
Take Kananaskis Trail/AB-40 S for 50.0 km
Turn right onto Smith Dorrien Trail/Hwy 742 for 2.2 km
Slight left onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail for 7.6 km
Turn right to stay on Kananaskis Lakes Trail for 3.6 km
Slight left to stay on Kananaskis Lakes Trail
Park at the Interlakes Parking Area
or Google "Kananaskis Interlakes Campground" and it'll pull up right near the lake parking area.
Hike across the dam and follow the main hikers trail that parallels he lake. Do not go up past the bear closure sign on the summit trail. The approach trail is pretty flat all the way to the scree slope when the route becomes very apparent. Don't follow any smaller offshoot trails that head downhill to the lakeshore, just follow the signs with hiker symbols on them. It's pretty straightforward. 25 minutes to scree slope from car. Head up the scree to the base of the route.
Climb the large SUPER OBVIOUS dihedral. If the rock is good, it's the right dihedral. First few hundred feet can be easily walked up / solo'd
From the top of Joy, scramble up the ridge for a little bit until a very nice looking scree area presents itself on the east (climbers right). Drop onto that faint trail and follow it up on the east side of the ridge to get around the super steep gully. There is one short section of 4th class near the top marked by a HUGE cairn. From here there are two options.
Option 1: curve around the gully and proceed down the best looking scree gully, about the 3rd one. Follow this all the way back down to the trail. Be careful of sending rocks onto your partner. It's not nearly as casual as the Yam Scree Ski, but not bad.
Option 2: traverse alpine meadows across a small ridge and up onto the main hikers summit trail on the next ridge. Be very bear wary since this trail is decommissioned due to grizzly activity. Follow the donkey trail back down to the parking lot.
Double set of cams from tiny to #1 red camalot (2"), single #2 yellow camalot (2.5"), a couple nuts, and a couple extra finger sized cams are nice depending on comfort level (0.3-0.75 camalots being the most useful). Slings.
Basically the route eats #0.3 - #0.75 cams and the rest is necessary here and there.
By Brad Warne
From: Calgary, Alberta
Oct 19, 2015
Just did the route for a second time. This time we picked the 3rd descent gully (previously did the 2nd). The 3rd is the way to go! From the time we packed up all the gear and started down, to the time back to the car was 1/2hr. Definitely the best option