The Banded Peak Challenge Story from 2002 to 2005 and beyond
The Banded Peak Challenge was a fund-raising event for Easter Seals Camp Horizon. It was held annually from 2002 until 2016. After the 2013 flood made the Big Elbow Trail impassable, then hazardous, the event was held on Moose Mountain. The event was co-founded by John Lajeunesse and Doug Sephton. It was John’s idea. He handled operations on the trail and on the mountain. Doug did the marketing, communications and logistical development. They both solicited sponsors and raised funds. John enlisted the support of a team of guides to set up nine “outposts” to provide support, encouragement and help when needed. There was a large registration “Staging Area” near Forgetmenot Pond in the Little Elbow Recreation Area of Kananaskis. Refreshments were provided and prizes were awarded.
In 2003 the event raised $49,000 in cash and gifts in kind. That was a significant contribution to the camp enabling them to welcome 1,200 special needs campers that year. The camp provides these children with a chance to do things they could never imagine possible. That year, there were about 40 volunteers, about a dozen major sponsors and about 110 participants. CTV was the media sponsor.
The Recreational Area is located at the confluence of the Little Elbow and the Elbow Rivers at the end of Hwy. 66, in Kananaskis, 30 km west of Bragg Creek, Alberta. The Challenge followed the Big Elbow Trail from the Staging Area, 8 km, to the “Nature Quest” Interpretive Centre and on to the “Mountain Base Camp” 13.5 km south. From there, hikers followed fair to good animal trails, 5 km, to the top of Banded Peak. Total distance (return) 37 km. Height Gain 1,416 m.
Thirty guides, bike mechanics and emergency medical personnel were on the route, providing assistance. Each of the sponsored stations had a prize draw where participants could deposit the tickets they earned through their fundraising. Prizes include airplane tickets, guided outdoor adventure tours, outdoor gear and more. The Staging Area, Nature Quest Centre, three “Outposts” and a “Mountain Base Camp” were located on the bike trail. There were three “Camps” and the “Summit” on the mountain. Typically, people spent about 10 hours to complete the event, although a team of bike racers did it in under 5 hours.
Goal 1 – Nature Quest (scavenger hunt), 16 km, elev. gain 158 m, novice to intermediate bikers
Goal 2 – Mountain Base Camp, 27 km, elev. gain 408 m, intermediate to advanced
Goal 3 – Summit, 37 km, elev. gain 1,416 m, fit & experienced hike/bikers
It was a great opportunity to share a backcountry adventure in the Rocky Mountains with your friends or family.
It was the support and encouragement of Camp Horizon Directors, Diana Gallivan and Mick Howden who made it possible and made it worth doing.
The story of the 2003 Banded Peak Challenge a great read
Event Planning Document
Risk Management Plan
Risk Management Plan for an outdoor adventure event where security and safety of participants can be an issue due to difficult conditions
Nature Quest – Scavenger Hunt
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