Jasper mountaineer summits every peak on $10 bill
Sean Prockter completed the seventh and final summit on an injured ankle, underwent surgery days later
Jasper resident Sean Prockter is believed to be the first person to summit every mountain peak on the Canadian $10 bill in a single season.
It's a feat the 28-year-old began in July and finished in September despite, quite literally, having a screw loose.
"From a past injury from last year, I have screws in my leg," he said, recalling his seventh and final ascent up Redan Mountain. "One of them was coming so loose it was almost about to pop out of my skin."
That last climb was most technically difficult of all the bank-note peaks he tackled during the summer, but Prockter said it was all the "bushwhacking" on the approach to the remote mountain about 27 kilometres north of the Jasper townsite that was truly gruelling on his injured ankle.
"Every step was just painful," Prockter said. "If it wasn't for the fact that this was the final peak, I would have turned around. But I just, through sheer will, pushed my way up toward it."
After making it to the peak and surviving a harrowing descent in pouring rain fraught with complications, Prockter said he and his mountaineering partner made it back to their vehicle in "the pitch dark" — a full 16 hours after they first set out on the morning of Sept. 12.
A few days later, he was in surgery to remove the screws from his leg and, on Monday, he shared the story of his unusual undertaking with CBC.
The idea of climbing each of the peaks pictured on the $10 bill came to Prockter in the spring when he realized all of them were within reachable distance from his home in Jasper.
He started out with Gargoyle Mountain in July, a solo ascent that came with its own complications as the peak was surrounded by cloud at the time. With visibility at 20 metres or less, finding the correct route took a lot of trial and error but Prockter finally made his way to the top and safely back down.
After that, he summited Lectern Peak and Aquila Mountain in a single day, a pair of rarely climbed but relatively easy ascents in the scenic Tonquin Valley.
Next, he made it to the top of Esplanade Mountain — the only one of the seven peaks he had previously summited, despite recent snow that made the ascent additionally challenging in early September.
The next day, he managed to tackle both Mount Zengel and a nearby, unnamed peak in a single day, bagging both summits on a total trip that spanned nearly 40 kilometres.
The latter summit he refers to simply as "$10 Peak" — a distinct-looking mountain pictured on the far right of the bill that has been incorrectly identified in the past as Mount Edith Cavell, a far more well-known and well-travelled summit in Jasper National Park.
That left just Redan Mountain, which Prockter completed despite his injured ankle.
"I was just so happy to be done," he said, adding he was a little surprised he managed to accomplish the currency-inspired challenge in one season.
"In climbing, you can't just assume you're going to make it up a peak," he said. "You kind of have to go with the flow and expect yourself not to make it up and, if you do, be happy about it. So I never expected to complete them all, but the weather gods were working on my side."
A new fad?
Peter Amann, a mountain guide who has lived in Jasper for more than 40 years, said Prockter is almost certainly the first person to summit all seven of these relatively "obscure" peaks in a single season.
"I don't think anyone has done all those peaks in one year," Amann said. "It seems very unlikely, because no one would go up most of those peaks unless there was something like this ($10-bill goal) associated with it."
Amann, who has summited all of the same peaks himself at one point or another with the exception of Redan, said none is an especially dangerous or difficult climb but stringing them together in a single season because of their connection to the $10 bill is a "fun" undertaking for a mountaineer to take on.
"I think it's still quite a great accomplishment to have done all of those, especially to do them all in one year," he said.
"Whether or not it'll become a new fad, we'll have to wait and see."