Jason Hardrath walks the last few feet of a peak within the Washington Bulgers, a range that … [+]
photo by Galen Knowles/Journey to 100 Film Crew
You wouldn’t know it by what he’s achieved, but life has not always been an easy road for mountain climber Jason Hardrath. Tragedy struck the avid runner and outdoorsman in 2015.
Hardrath remembers the life altering car accident that left him with damaged knees and a punctured lung. Yet, now the Oregonian and lifelong adventurer talks freely about the aftermath and what personal decisions he made when doctors told him he would never be able to do anything strenuous again.
“It was tough. I told my doc about my love for running and triathlons, and he just said, ‘you’re probably going to let that part of your life go.” Hardrath explains further,“at first, my spirits sank, but then that defiance came out. I remember thinking, ‘You don’t know me—you just wait.’”
While Hardrath did take his doctor’s immediate orders to rest, rehab and get well, he also outright refused to accept any certain fate, and hints that those first moments were at the heart of his next set of goals. His first eventual goal was to run again, and also pursuit to prove to himself that what doctors called impossible was indeed possible. Both were more important than any ideas he had of breaking world records.
Hardrath, who makes his living as an elementary school physical education teacher, also thought the small lessons he would learn in his recovery and future conquests could come in handy when not climbing or training.
“I always tell my students to dream big and believe in themselves,” Hardrath said. “I want them to learn to not let things get in the way of their dreams and that it’s often the difficult, scary things that are worth doing.”
Less than three years after his car accident, he took up mountain climbing as a regular pursuit.
In 2018, Hardrath first climbed the 14,162-foot Mt. Shasta in northern California, then he did it as second time in a mere 5 hours and 38 minutes. He’s also conquered California’s San Jacinto, plus Washington’s Cascade Range peaks Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier. In 2020, he climbed Mt. Rainier, 14,411 feet from sea-to-summit in 11h 9m 49s.
On top of all his achievements, Hardrath is also the subject of a new documentary film, titled “Journey To 100.” The documentary, which is about his recovery and climbing pursuits, first screened in Brooklyn, Denver, Portland and Seattle April 9th, and is available online, and soon to be screened on cable network Outside TV.
After speaking to Hardrath last October about his participation in the Ironman Oceanside, I connected with him a week …….