Scott Walker

Scott’s Story:

Hiking Banff’s Sulphur Mountain nine times in a day for charity

For Banff Lodging Co. employee Scott Walker, the transition from summer to fall means more than colder days and changing scenery – it’s the time for an annual challenge for a great cause.

For the last three years in late August, Scott has set out on a different hiking challenge with one of more friends, to raise funds and awareness for charities including the International Bipolar Foundation.

This year, Scott decided his challenge would be to hike 20,000 vertical feet (more than six vertical kilometres) in a single day, by summiting Sulphur Mountain nine times.

Scott Walker
From Left to Right: Scott Walker, Tyler Williams, Masaki Yokota

This year, Scott decided
his challenge would be to
hike 20,000 vertical feet
(more than six vertical kilometres)
in a single day, by summiting
Sulphur Mountain nine times.

On August 31, 2017, joined by his Wild Bill’s co-workers Masaki Yokota and Tyler Williams, Scott completed this goal in just 16 hours.

The trio started their journey at 4:45am, clocking their first lap up and down the mountain before the Banff Gondola commenced operations at 8:00am. During each descent, they broadcasted progress updates to their supporters via Facebook Live stream [Watch the live stream at the bottom of article].

After their first round-trip of the trail, they preserved time for their ascents by hiking up, then riding the Banff Gondola back down. Also joining in for two rounds of the hike was Audrey Hebert, one of the Pauw Foundation’s Youth Sport Fund athletes, and a former colleague of Scott’s.  [To read more about Audrey see: pauwfoundation.com/what-it-takes]

Stiff, sore, but all smiles, the original trio – Scott, Masaki and Tyler – completed their mission with a group of supporters at 8:45pm.

“We celebrated over dinner at Nourish Bistro on Bear Street after the hike. I was pretty spent, that’s for sure – Masaki and Tyler were laughing at me because I almost fell asleep while eating my meal!”

In recognition of their efforts, Banff Lodging Co. provided complimentary spa access and massage services at The Meadow Spa, located at The Moose Hotel & Suites on Banff Avenue.

“We went in early the next day and hit the steam room and hot tub, before having a great massage. We were pretty stiff from all that hiking, so it was the best feeling to just relax and loosen up,” Scott says.

So far in 2017, Scott and his supporters have raised $2,800 for International Bipolar Foundation and The Rotary Club of Banff – a great achievement following the $1,000 target for the first challenge in 2015.

In 2015, Scott and friends took on the Four Peaks Banff Challenge, hiking Cascade, Rundle, Sulphur and Tunnel mountains in one day. Then in 2016, it was the Four Peaks Canmore Challenge. Scott completed 40% of the day due to illness, while his hiking partner Tyler Williams, completed all four peaks for the fundraiser.

For Scott, his connection to the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) fundraising cause is a particularly meaningful one, after he was diagnosed with the condition in 2000.

“For me, IBPF has been a hugely beneficial source of education and support. They have low overhead costs and are very proactive, always sharing new scientific studies, tools and strategies. They have helped me broaden my horizons for what’s possible while living with bipolar,” Scott says.

 

“When you are living with bipolar disorder, maintaining consistency in your day-to-day life can be a significant challenge. Hiking Sulphur over and over again symbolises striving for consistency, even when things get boring or difficult,”

“The awareness part of the hike is to start conversations around bipolar disorder and reduce stigma. We still have a way to go to make it more universally accepted as an illness, rather than something to be hidden or embarrassed about. That’s why I’m so passionate about raising funds and awareness.”

Scott named the hiking fundraiser Sulphur 9.0: Challenging Consistency, inspired by his own journey.

“The awareness part of the hike is to start conversations around bipolar disorder and reduce stigma. We still have a long ways to go to make it more universally accepted as an illness, rather than something to be hidden or embarrassed about. That’s why I’m so passionate about raising funds and awareness.”

A friend of Scott’s suggested he name the hiking fundraiser Sulphur 9.0: Challenging Consistency, inspired by his own journey.

“When you are living with bipolar disorder, maintaining consistency in your day-to-day life can be a significant challenge. Hiking Sulphur over and over again symbolises striving for consistency, even when things get boring or difficult,” Scott says.

So can we expect to see Scott take on another challenge for charity in 2018?

“Yes – but I won’t say what! Believe it or not, when I was at the Meadow Spa, I came up with an idea for what to do next year. I’ve always done the challenge around the end of August, but next year it will be earlier in the year, in June. I’m already looking forward to it, even though it’s around nine months away – so stay tuned for details!”

Banff Lodging Co. is an employee owned and operated company with accommodations, restaurants, spas, and retail/rental shop all located in Banff National Park