Topics Covered In This Episode:
- Jason climbed 100 peaks for his 100th FKT: the Washington Bulgers (100 highest peaks in Washington State)
- How to approach daunting challenges
- Tactics for staying in the moment
- Dealing with unpredictability and low points
- Behind the story of the upcoming film Journey to 100
Jason Hardrath is an Oregon school teacher, adventure athlete, and the first person to log 100 Fastest Known Times (FKTs). For his 100th FKT, he set out to tackle The Bulger List: Washington state’s 100 tallest peaks. He accomplished his goal climbing all 100 peaks in just 50 days, 23 hours, and 43 minutes.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonhardrath/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JasonHardrath
- Website: https://www.jasonhardrath.com/
- Fastest Known Time: https://fastestknowntime.com/athlete/jason-hardrath
- Journey To 100: https://wzrdmedia.com/journey-to-100/
- Brooklyn – April 9, 2022
- Denver – April 23rd, 2022
- Portland – April 30, 2022
- Seattle – May 7, 2022
- Outside TV digital release – mid-May
- Will show virtually at the https://vimff.org/product/
vimff-2022-online-film-pass/ in February/March
Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.
Corrine Malcolm (00:06):
Jason. Thanks so much for coming on the show.
Jason Hardrath (00:09):
I’m super excited to be here. It’s been, it’s been fun to, uh, get in touch with you over the, the course of these, this crazy year. So yeah.
Corrine Malcolm (00:16):
Yeah. I, I was thrilled. I was like, oh, we have to have Jason on. Um, we’re, we’re gonna talk about the film. We’re gonna talk about what, what is so cool about the film and the project that you did? Um, I feel very fortunate that I’ve gotten, you know, a sneak peek at things. Um, and it’s super inspirational. We watched it in our living room and just for floored. Um, my husband’s from Washington from the cascades and he was like, I wanna do that. And that one and that link up. So you’ve inspired you, Belile fire in him as well. So it’s really, really cool. I think it’s gonna speak to lots of people, but part of the reason why I wanted to reach out to you is that you took on this insane project. You had, you were looking at getting your hundredth FK T and you thought, why not run a hundred summits for that hundred F FK T so can you, can you just walk us through, like, what is the, like the hundred Bulgers project and what that like, does like set the stage for the listeners there, because I think we wanna get all their brains wrapped around the magnitude of that project.
Jason Hardrath (01:17):
Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, that, that hundredth FK T project by itself and that I, I think people get confused there. There’s kind of two projects going on. It’s like, there’s the a hundred F KTS, which was an ongoing three year project to just do different, either established or new, new F KTS. Um, and then for number 100, so 99 already done for number 100, it was an odd bit of poetic justice to take on a 100 peak peak list. And there are these different peak lists all around the country and all around the world, um, groupings of peaks geologically, or by state, um, and the one for the state of Washington, their list of, uh, their a hundred tallest peaks happens to be named after the group of people who originally did them. They, they went by the Bulgers, uh, um, and so it’s got a weird name, but it is a peak list.
Jason Hardrath (02:08):
And, you know, people have been chasing times on, you know, the Colorado fourteeners and even, uh, the Colorado centennials or, you know, Colorado’s hundred hundred highest for quite some time. And it’s, you know, gone back and forth. And I was looking for this, you know, being a school to teacher, I was looking for sort of this cumulative final exam, right? That’s just how my mind works at this point, after a decade of teaching. And I wanted it to be a real test piece that, that accented all of the skills and styles that I’d had to use and grow previously in the previous 99 F KTS and the Bulger’s list was just to a whole different level than other peak lists. Um, one of the ways that helps convey, uh, part of this is this is a hundred peaks. And if you just look at the height of ’em like a lot of ’em are in the 8,000, uh, foot range between 8,000 and 9,000.
Jason Hardrath (03:04):
So you, so you might think, oh, that’s not that hard. That’s easy. It’s like, no, if you’re generous with your description of a trail, if you’re very generous with your description of a trail, four of them have a trail to the top. Every other peak involves glacier. Your travel involves technical rock climbing involves heinous, temperate, rainforest, Bush whacking. And if, if you image the state of Washington, um, as far as vertical relief per square mile, like how much does the terrain change in, in, uh, elevation over a given square or mile, the only place in the United States that you can find more elevation change per square mile is if you take certain aspects of Denali in Alaska, that’s like the only, the only place where you get more vertical change. Um, so it’s, it’s extremely rugged, extremely steep terrain with a ton of flora and fauna it’s it’s. Yeah, it was it. I didn’t realize exactly what I was signing up for when I did. It’s like, people kind of made me aware with little hints saying like, oh yeah, terrain determined, speed, not fitness. They, I would hear things like that all the time. Like, oh yeah, you think you’re gonna be able to move faster here? You think you’re gonna be, be able to do better? What we’re telling you? No, but you’re not.
Corrine Malcolm (04:23):
No, my, so my husband is from the cascades and his parents were like friends with Fred, Becky, right? So like the guy who got up these things first in a lot of ways, and they were following one of his like descriptions out some drainage. And it said like, oh, you can average about one mile an hour. And it took them eight hours to go one mile down this drainage. So we’ll, we’ll brag about how amazing Washington and the cascade all the way through Oregon, right. The cascades are amazing, but also you gotta love slide Alder and you gotta love devil’s club. I think if you really wanna get into what’s so cool about there. I I’m wondering, you know, we’ll talk some technical stuff and then we’re gonna kind of tie in some life story here, but, um, how many of those peaks, so there’s a hundred of them that you had to go do. How many of them have you had you done previous to starting this project?
Jason Hardrath (05:13):
I had climbed Adams and I had climbed Rainier.
Corrine Malcolm (05:16):
So you were on sighting the other 90
Jason Hardrath (05:19):
I 98 peaks. Yeah.
Corrine Malcolm (05:21):
Classic. Okay. And then I love the, the, the description of like this culmination of training that you had done from all these other FK T projects over the previous three years. Right. You have really technical terrain and you’re looking at some really long days, like with the linkups and the logistics of getting into some of these zones. So from a kind of, from like an athlete, holistic like training perspective, I mean, obviously it’s a culmination of years of work, but at the same time, like when you got your eyes looking at this summer long project with ultra length days in it, plus skills, like how did, how C, like, how can an athlete think about trying to put that all together? That seems like a, a huge undertaking.
Jason Hardrath (06:06):
Um, oh man. So many different ways to slice that. Um, I think, I think as far as starting somewhere and progressing toward that, I, I kind of came out of, uh, ultra endurance and endurance sport, uh, ran in high school, ran in college, um, and then got into marathons, biked across the USA when I graduated college. So started picking up biking, um, as another form. And then I got into triathlon. So like I built like this mindset, like, oh, this is how you do, multi-sport when you’re integrating different skills, you need to practice your swimming and you’re biking, you’re running and your transitions between them. So I’d already kind of acquired this like mental process that it was normal to, to mix sports and to just, you sit down and you figure, okay, the fastest integration of these two looks, something like this. Um, and also then how to practice multiple skills and multiple Fitnesses, if you will, at the same, same time.
Jason Hardrath (07:01):
Um, and so I guess the process was one, you know, a lot of people know who, who know my story at all know, I had a big car accident in 2015 that took away my running, um, among other things, uh, it was pretty severe and I could, I could basically walk and I could swim and I, I could use my upper body cuz my upper body was relatively undamaged other than nine broken ribs and uh, a shoulder that was smashed up. Um, so I started, I started climbing. I was, I started, well, one thing led, led to another is I started hiking and then Hills led to bigger Hills and then to mountains. And then finally I got to bigger mountains and mountain that had technical summits. And I was like, okay, I guess I need to learn to be a rock climber. Um, so joined the local climbing gym and was literally just the worst person there, like laughably bad.
Jason Hardrath (07:50):
There were like 11 year old kids who could climb things. I couldn’t climb. People would be like, oh yeah, grab that jug. Uh, climber’s jargon for, uh, an easy hold yeah. That you should be able to rest on. And I would like not be, be able to hang onto the thing they considered a jug. Um, and so just had to go through this process of being willing to suck at something new. Um, and it’s like a different style of training, you know, it’s like more power based, more strength based. Um, so it actually ended up integrating well with trying to continue build back my endurance fitness, um, because I could use very different. It, it was a very different mindset and a very different training, um, process to build that power and strength to be confident in my rock climbing moves. And so you kind of look at how those fit together in a training in a training week in a training month and go, okay, I’ll be doing these things that are strength and power for my climbing and skills related for my climbing.
Jason Hardrath (08:47):
Um, and you know, that’s a nice part about a lot of the technical skills as well is a lot of the skills it’s like, you’re not tying your, your repel skills, your they’re non-energy intensive. They’re just mentally intensive to make sure you can dial them out correctly when you need to. Um, so it’s actually, it’s not terribly difficult to integrate a broad skillset into an ultra endurance training week and just go, okay, like on this day, I’ll be doing, you know, rope skills and repelling. And on this day I’m gonna be doing, uh, you know, along with my long run, I’ll also do, um, you know, some finger hanging drills and build that finger strength. It’s like kind of just seeing how those things fit together. Uh, so then you fast forward that for, you know, three years of integrating that and then creating different expressions of it, the F KTS I did, I got very into run plus scramble type stuff in Yosemite and in red rocks. Um, one of my favorites that was kind of a personal vendetta, um, was soloing, uh, the entire solar slab route there, which is one of the tallest five, six routes in the country. Uh, and I don’t know why it just got stuck in my head. I’m like, I wanna do this and getting to a place where I could comfortably solo. That whole thing was a big part of the journey for me.
Corrine Malcolm (10:05):
Yeah. And we’ll, we’ll talk about that obsession in a second. Cause I think there’s, there’s threads of kind of obsession throughout your entire existence, really from being, from being a kid, but him back into training just for one more second, you’re an elementary school gym teacher and I am. Yeah. And you know, you’re kind of, honestly, there’s a bunch of really like cool, amazing endurance folks who are also gym teachers in our sport. Like Tyler Green is a gym teacher. Um, uh, there’s a bunch of teachers, but it’s like, I was talking to Tyler the other day about like his job. I was like, I didn’t know you were a gym teacher. I knew you were, I knew you worked in education. So I think it’s kind of cool that like we’ve got, you know, these people who are inspiring the next generation as well. So what does training look like in and around obviously this F KT fit into your summer break really nicely, but what does training look like with your day job alongside all of that?
Jason Hardrath (10:56):
Oh, Absolut. Um, I mean like normally right now this is my lunch break that we’re, we’re recording on. I would, I’d be out for a lunch run. Um, I’ll do different activities with the students. And like in my head I know like, oh, this is me picking up bits of finger hanging or while I demonstrate, and then I’ll do a few reps with the students through the day to get in like sneak in little bits of extra training time, which, you know, it’s kind of lucky with the job I have, but also it’s inspiring to my students. And I think that’s probably why they, we find, uh, people who pair teaching with this sort of a lifestyle. Is it, you avoid that hollow emptiness at the end of a big effort, because there’s a reason there’s a reason beyond just finishing it. It’s like, oh, now I get to go inspire with it. So it almost makes the whole whole thing operate at a higher level. Cuz the whole time you’re doing something big, you know, like this is gonna matter to someone more than me.
Corrine Malcolm (11:45):
Yeah. There’s a why
Jason Hardrath (11:46):
It’s even if it’s just those little tiny souls that run around in my gym, screaming while playing tag, you know, like at least at least they benefit from this.
Corrine Malcolm (11:53):
Oh yeah. And they’re the happiest screaming little kids I’m I’m sure. And they probably, I mean my, my high school cross country running coach ran ultras and I thought he was crazy. And now like, look at us, sitting here being like, okay, that’s like totally normal. But your story is interesting. Having watched the movie as well is that, you know, you were a kid who couldn’t sit still, you know, you have this kind of obsession as well of like, okay, this is, I’m gonna run. I’m gonna break this time in the mile. I’m gonna, I, I need to run. And then running becomes triathlon and it builds down to mult like into mountain time. Like what do you think it is about you that kind of gravitates towards this kind of like you get this idea, you get this bug in your head and it’s like, okay, this is the thing, you know, like soloing that route, for example, it was like this obsession that kind of came on and stuck.
Jason Hardrath (12:42):
So what some people would describe as the weakness of ADHD. I was a kid that grew up with ADHD, very impulsive behavior, all sorts of problems that created for me with relationships. And so school systems and things like that. But as much as people would say like, oh man, like ADHD is a huge detriment to your ability to successfully integrate into society. Um, and you know, become a useful worker. The superpower with it is you’re absolutely unable to bring yourself to do things that don’t have meaning like I could hyperfocus on anything I could express myself in or I could find meaning or like a sense of growth. And I couldn’t, I just couldn’t do anything if there was, if someone just said do this, cuz I said, so it’s like, I couldn’t, I couldn’t get it done. Like couldn’t get homework done. Could, could sit back and understand the concepts if like the teacher could convey it, it in a way that I could see the value, like I would easily wrap my mind around and master difficult concepts.
Jason Hardrath (13:42):
Um, but like getting that homework done of the concept that I mastered already, like I, I couldn’t bring, you know, couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I’d like rely on test scores and things like that. But to continue what I was saying, I think, think where that becomes a superpower is because you’re unable to be distracted by all the things everybody tells you, you need to do and you have to do, because you’re unable to spend time just making that a routine. You have to orient yourself around meaning. And so for my whole life, I’ve been practicing, orienting myself around the things that give me a sense of meaning and forward progress in life. And what that looks like is obsession, right? Where I find that thing that I see value and that connects with me that resonates. And suddenly I’m able to focus on it with definite energy, unlimited energy for the tiniest bit of progress. And so I, I, I would say that’s, that’s the root and that’s actually, you know, if there’s a lesson someone can take from this, this film and from my life is there’s value in that to orient yourself around those things. Um, and to not just be going through all the routines that society and our parents and whoever else has, has said, these are the checklists you have to follow for life.
Corrine Malcolm (15:05):
Yeah. Um, it gives obsession that like a negative connotation and obsession doesn’t have to be negative, right? It can be, it can mean meaning or direction instead. Absolutely. Which I think is really important. That’s really powerful. I think a lot of people have strengths that are also weaknesses or, or seen as, or seen as could be weaknesses, but the, the exact, that exact same quality in them is also their biggest strength. Be it, their competitive nature or their motivation or their, or their ability to tolerate pain or whatever it is that you see. A lot of this in our sport in general is that all those things provide immense superpowers, but also can be the thing that like derails you to some degree as well, which I think is just a really interesting, like then I, every single interview I do from now on is just gonna be sports psych.
Corrine Malcolm (15:51):
We’re just gonna keep, keep Digg into that. No one wants it, but I’m here for it. Um, okay. So it’s not obsession, it’s motivation. It’s drive. You have meaning in all these directions that are, that are kind of pulling you. And then, you know, you’ve, you’re culminating this a hundred F KT project in this Bulger summer summit project. What, like, why was that the, the thing, like why, of all the things that you could have done looking at your summer, your summer break from, from PE from being an elementary school, PE teacher, you know, what was it that captivated you about that project and, and doing it in such a short period of time, because historically, you know, people have done it over many years or over a, a whole calendar year trying to like fit it into a very short window. Seems like a very daunting, but very intriguing task.
Jason Hardrath (16:45):
Yeah. I mean, again, so many layers there. Um, an element of it is it’s the Pacific Northwest. Um, I grew up, I was born and raised in Oregon, so it was kind of home turf in a way, even though Washington is a separate state there, it’s kind of similar geographically, um, geologically as well. Um, the cascades are kind of iconic. Uh, they’re they’re in the mountaineering world. They’re a great test piece. Um, many of them many mountaineers spend a great amount of time in, in the cascades before going other places. Um, so there’s that element to it. Um, as far as like, why would I want to, you know, cuz the previous record was 410 days, so why didn’t I just go do it in 409 days? Um, to me it was, it was about finding something that again, you know, talking about that meaning and that purpose and that direction, that question of what’s something I can do in the world.
Jason Hardrath (17:50):
That is an odd way of saying that I guess like the greatest burden that could be possible for me, but I’m also interested in, and you know, we already talked about how to has all these technical elements, this orient and this route finding and, and glacier travel and rock client. And so it had all these elements of things. I knew I was in love with the experience of like being inside that moment. Right. I knew I love that. And I know that I, something that amplifies and experience in nature for me is a clock running. Like when I feel like I’m pushing myself, right. That’s what drew me into this whole F KT thing to begin with. I was already out there running it in the mountains. Once my running came back after the car accident, I was already doing this and I discovered F KTS after the fact.
Jason Hardrath (18:36):
And I actually had to go backlog a couple of cool routes that I came up with, um, after the fact, cuz I was just already like in love with what can I do and how hard and fast can I do it. That feeling of I’m bringing my very best to a beautiful and challenging part of nature. Um, for me that’s always been the marriage that creates the, the best experience. Um, so there was that, that element of it as well and this idea of like, okay, what is the very best I can bring to this project? And that’s why the aim became 50 days. Um, as after doing all of six months of planning and calls with people, who’d climbed different peaks and finding GPS information and route descriptions and compiling all of this, uh, and sorting out like how to mitigate, you know, fire risk and how to, you know, select which, which order to do which routes and what linkups were efficient and which ones weren’t like after doing all of that.
Jason Hardrath (19:34):
Um, the very best I thought I could do was gonna be right around that 50 day, mark, you know, maybe just a day or two under maybe just a day or two over. Um, and so yeah, it was super amazing actually, uh, a sense of deep satisfaction, the way I phrased it right after finishing was hard work well done, a feeling of hard work well done, just being very like deeply pleased with what I’d done because I thought it was possible to do 50 days. And I did 50 days, 23 hours, 43 minutes. Um, like to sprint down that final mountain, racing the clock to stay in that a mark of what I’d predicted just felt it, it all was right with the universe.
Corrine Malcolm (20:21):
Yeah. That’s pretty satisfying. I would say to be like, wow, we really nailed that prediction. Like I thought this is what I was capable of. I thought that’s what we were capable of. Cuz it’s obviously, although yes, you, you ran every step and that’s how I feel about like, I, my TRT, for example, it’s like, I keep saying we did it because I couldn’t have done it without the people I did it with. So talking to that a little bit, like, what did it look like that six months of planning to get to the start of this thing? Like what did that look like from a, like getting all the logistics together of biggest days, you know, linking these things up in the right direction, having climbing partners for some of those things. And then also mitigating the fact that like to get into some of the Northern parts of the cascades. Like normally we go through Canada to get said a lot of that stuff and you couldn’t do that with, with the pandemic. So what did that look like as far as like prepping for things to go as right as possible, but knowing that things could go wrong as well.
Jason Hardrath (21:15):
Oh man. Um, I guess I’ll say that at, at every step, even for, even when I, you know, started the watch and took the first steps for the project, but on every step, along the way with the planning, there was this just embracing the high probability that it would all end in failure, right? Like that it couldn’t be done in the way I thought it could be done. And just having to thrive in spite of, or maybe even because of that chaos that, that I was trying to, to reach into the chaos, something undone something in a way, no one, no one had ever thought to do it, um, or at least executed on, on their thinking to do it. Um, there’s this element of like, yeah, I, I could be as ridiculous as some people think I am and this could be absolutely impossible and I might step out there and get absolutely shut down, um, and have this stuffed back in my face.
Jason Hardrath (22:09):
Um, and just having to all of that, every step of the way was, was a part of the journey. Um, and yeah, I think as far as planning, you know, at first it was just, you know, cuz I was, as we already alluded to, I, I was on sighting 98 of these peaks. So it was, it was, I started by listing the hardest obstacles I would face and, and like, uh, corresponding with people who’d done the list and people who were currently doing this list, like what are the key challenges and risks hazards I’ll face. Um, and starting with that and assessing are any of these outside of my technical capabilities. Um, and when I saw that there was basically one, uh, one rock climbing move that normally I wouldn’t be willing to solo, but it was like a Boulder problem with a ledge below.
Jason Hardrath (23:03):
So it’s like, okay, I’ll, I’ll do that. I’m willing to do that solo because if something goes wrong, like I can just hop back down to the ledge. Um, so very clean, clearly being able to assess that like, okay, I’m, I’m willing to solo on up to five, seven rock terrain, um, are how many of these peaks fall outside of that category? And basically, like I said, there was one, uh, a one move wonder Boulder problem that went at five nine on, uh, deto needle. And so that was kind of a crux piece that sat in my head. And then there were, uh, five other peaks that had fifth class, uh, climbing that was in that category of fifth class that I’m like, Ooh, this could go either way. Um, so better be prepared to with at least a little bit of protection in case, um, in case I need it to get through any portion.
Jason Hardrath (23:53):
Um, so once that was done where it’s like, okay, there’s nothing outside of my technical prowes then it’s like, okay, what are the routes? What fits together? Um, how many days his whole project potentially possible. And then bouncing that off of people who were experienced, like, what do you think? You know, Eric, Eric Gilbertson, the previous record holder, he was a huge help, you know, and he, he ran some of his own predictions on how fast he thought it could go. And we landed in the same ballpark with our first guess. And I, that, that’s what made me think, okay, this does fit into a school summer. You know, I don’t have to quit my job and end my career to go to go do this effort. Um, I can remain a stable, healthy adult, uh, while still doing something that’s
Corrine Malcolm (24:35):
Jason Hardrath (24:37):
Yeah. Consuming. Yeah, exactly. Um, so brought, brought that, that into it figured out, okay, this is possible and the timeframe that I have available, um, and it’s pretty much the biggest thing I could fit into that timeframe available as well, which made it attractive. Right. Where it’s like, you know, if just a few things go wrong, like it might not fit, it might not happen. Plus the, the feeling of racing, the fire, the fire season as well was, was there
Corrine Malcolm (25:04):
Pushing along just unpredictable. Yeah. How do you like, so you’ve got, you know, you’ve got the, your, you you’ve assessed your challenges. You’ve looked at the potential outcomes kind of you you’ve asked for help, which is in, I think a very valuable, um, part of that, that skillset, but then like there’s obviously an unpredictable nature. So that, that there’s weather, there’s injury, there’s ultra length days in there. There’s route five, there’s making mistakes. Like how did you, like, how did you mentally and or prepare your crew for that, that little, that perfect ultra magic of unpredictability?
Jason Hardrath (25:38):
Jason Hardrath (25:40):
I mean, for me, I, I tend to thrive in chaos. That’s another byproduct. I think of the ADHD is everything is so chaotic for someone who grew was up with that, uh, because of how our brains work, um, that thriving in chaos is something we do fairly well. So I was ready for like all these pieces and things to go wrong and like, this will probably happen and I’ll just deal with it when it comes and I’ll figure out this route when I get there. And I’ve, I’ve learned how to structure things together and sort of, uh, I almost think of them as separate outings or, or, uh, pieces on the puzzle, if you will, uh, the chess pieces on the board. And it’s like, okay, these can move in different orders and they can interact with each other in different ways. So if, if this goes wrong, I’ll move the pieces this way and hope that the, this of whatever’s hanging me up changes by the time I get there.
Jason Hardrath (26:33):
Um, you know, one reason for doing the chillax so late in the effort, which is the hard group to get to, uh, when you alluded to having to go in through Canada, it was gonna be really ridiculously hard to get to those because of Canada not being open. So part of the recently got moved toward the back of the project was the potential the Canadian border would reopen. Um, and it reopened two weeks after I finished the project. So, uh, got to go in the hard way and, and earn it, but, uh, assessed and made decisions that way and kind of had everything in my head laid out where it’s like, okay, if this, then that, um, so that I knew I could, I could make on the fly decisions about which peak groups and how they grouped up and which way they could be approached and exited from. Um, and just had those kind of chess pieces in my head ahead of,
Corrine Malcolm (27:23):
I was say, that’s interesting. It kind of reminds me of like the, like the general ultra mindset of being like, okay, like I’m running, I’m, I’m in this segment of the course or I’m in this segment of this thing and like trying not to get ahead of yourself. And I’m wondering as you’ve got all these chess pieces in your head, and maybe this is the ADHD that allows these pieces to be so mobile. And so like able to move them quickly as a posed, maybe the rest of us who are more rigid in our mindsets because of just our, our, the, the way our brains work, you know, like how do you not get ahead of yourself in that two? Like how do you not at, you know, day one, not think about day 49.
Jason Hardrath (28:00):
Um, I think part of the, part of the beauty of that is being able to hyperfocus and also being aware within, you know, just sort of my inner work with myself that it’s like the whole reason I’m out doing it is for being in the moments, uh, while I’m out there doing it, not for the finish line, like I’ve done enough of this to know why I’m there. And so the thing in my mind, once the big once the big, you know, chess board is filled out and I know how the pieces work, what I’m there for is what is the challenge I’m looking forward to today? Cool. Like, oh, I can’t wait till that fifth class, 2000 feet of fifth class route climbing, that’s gonna be epic. The views are gonna be awesome. Oh, we get to traverse this glacier. Like, that’s gonna be awesome.
Jason Hardrath (28:46):
I hope up the KVAs aren’t ridiculous. Like what if we have to jump over? Arava like, this is gonna be wild. Um, oh man, this is gonna be a heinous, you know, 5,000 feet of downhill and two miles through Bush whacking terrain, like, uh, that’s gonna be heinous. Um, so just kind of being present in the moments, uh, once the pro project started is something that’s, uh, both a developed skill and something that I think comes fairly naturally for me. So it was very easy and, you know, occasionally I have to remind myself, you know, just run the mile you’re in, that’s something, we’ve all the phrase we’ve all heard. Um, but I don’t know. It’s like, I look forward to the challenges cuz that’s why I’m there. Like I I’m looking forward to that next things. So sometimes yeah, it was like, okay, I have to, I need to run, you know, 20 miles of trail to get out to the thing I’m actually looking forward to.
Jason Hardrath (29:34):
Um, and so sometimes some of that was a little bit daunting, but it was also like, ah, but I do have something to look forward to. So it’s not that hard. And then yeah, it was kind of keeping the next day out of mind except except I, I, I called it, uh, learning to move like an old man. Um, because I had to approach this different than even like doing the Reiner infinity loop. When I, when I took down that record, it’s a short enough time span that you can write, check that your body can’t cash. Um, like you can just yard, sale, everything out there, cuz it’s like, oh, I, I won’t walk for five days. That’s fine. I won’t walk for five days, but I’ll have done the thing. Well, there was no option to make a decision, to write even a check for more than a cent over what my body could could cash because three weeks later I was still out there climbing peaks an in dangerous terrain.
Jason Hardrath (30:23):
And so to write even a little too much each day, I might be out on a fifth class, you know, route when I have a meltdown, like that’s not an option. Um, so yeah, I called it learning to move like an old man where I was like, thinking, okay, how many times am I landing on my right foot versus my left foot? When I hop over a down tree, uh, you know, down to these little things like, okay, you know, how much impact force while running downhill and you know yeah. Just paying attention to things. Normally I would not even consider cuz I would be too focused on just pushing harder and going faster. Yeah.
Corrine Malcolm (30:59):
That speaks to like that unknown though. Right. It’s like this, this effort would, was finally long enough that it was like truly entering the unknown for you. Like how obviously like you seem to have handled the unpredictability of a FK T like this or really well, like what you said, you, you had to learn to move like an old man, but like how, you know, akin to unpredictability like that unknown aspect, right? Like how does one meter out this effort with the hopes that on day 40 or 42 or 48, like people feel this way about mile 80 of a hundred too, of like what’s gonna happen for the next 20 miles? Like how do you, how did you approach the unknown because you don’t get to do those distance jumps very often like this.
Jason Hardrath (31:42):
Huh? Um, I just believed that the, the sense of meaning and the passion would sustain me during the difficult times it always had in the past. And so I leaned in that, that I was, I was gonna be motivated by that, that sense of purpose. Um, because I’d chosen something that was aligned with, you know, when you, when you sit down, when you sit down to plan something, I always find that putting the pencil to the paper is very revealing because if you put the pencil to the paper to really finally turn a dream into a reality and your motivation decreases, it’s a sign that on some intuitive instinctual level, you know, it’s not the right time or it’s not possible. Um, when you put the pencils to the paper and motivation increases, it’s a sign that somewhere deep in there, there’s a part of you that really knows like, yeah, this is it.
Jason Hardrath (32:37):
Like this thing I’ve, I’ve been dreaming of is act. It can become a reality. Um, and I’d had that experience as I put the pin to the paper on this one. And so it was kind of this faith, if you will, that it’s like, no, like when, when the hard days come and you know, my Achilles tendons are both swollen and I’m thrashed and I had a day where I couldn’t get any food down. So now I’m calorie deprived and trying to catch back up and the muscle cramps are setting in and I’m still trying to make fourth class and fifth class route climbing moves, um, that in those moments where it was scary and uncomfortable and it hurt that I was still gonna go, this is off some,
Corrine Malcolm (33:21):
Yeah. I was about to ask you, like did like what, what went wrong? But it sounds like, you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t perfectly smooth sailing. It sounds like there, there were some melts out there.
Jason Hardrath (33:30):
Oh yeah. Uh, I mean I was, I was in a completely unbuilt out van during the, like a hollowed out tin can of, of a van because my previous van had broken down right before or this effort. So I had to scramble and get into something else. And all I could find was just an unbuilt cargo van. Um, so this a hundred plus degree heat wave, like one of the, one of the hottest ones on record in Washington rolls through, um, and I’m in this tin can, right. So really diff difficult to get good sleep, really difficult, you know, changes the logistics to try to occasionally like get a hotel room for a night and have some air conditioning and a shower. Um, you know, things like that. I had a, I had a day where trying, just trying to work out all the logistics with the film crew coming out, um, and that same, you know, heat, stress, uh, you know, planning, stress, like moving the chess pieces, um, then our pizza because they were understaffed, like never showed up, ordered a pizza, never showed up.
Jason Hardrath (34:27):
So, uh, the crew, you know, had to go pick it up. Um, and we ended up being up late instead of getting extra sleep, ended up with less sleep. Um, and just all this stress like woke up the next day with my stomach just turned inside out, like for the whole day, pretty much couldn’t get food down and still out like begging four peaks that day five peaks that day. Um, just unable to eat deep in the back country. Um, just kind of wondering like, is this it, like, if at some point, if I can’t put calories in and I keep burning calories out, like the whole system shuts down and it’s game over, um, um, luckily it turned around about three quarters through the day and was finally able to put, put stuff back in, but just say, you know, sort of abiding that like, yeah, I’m extremely uncomfortable.
Jason Hardrath (35:12):
I feel like vomiting, I can’t eat, but I’ve been in situations where this has turned back for the better in the past. And so I’ll abide the discomfort and keep moving forward and that it’ll turn around again. Um, so a bunch of situations like that, another one that comes to mind is a fire did break out that shut down highway 20. Yeah. And I had to divert all the way around instead of what would’ve been like a 15 minute drive to get to the Trailhead. I wanted, uh, turned into an eight hour drive to get to the Trailhead I wanted. And I had to, again, move those chess pieces because a few of the peaks I was gonna do a bit later were right next to the fire, um, or were relatively close to the fire, not right next to, it didn’t feel like it was high risk and the land wasn’t closed.
Jason Hardrath (35:55):
Um, but I’m like just in case the wind shift, which could put these peaks in jeopardy, I need to flip the schedule around and just go hard to tag these three peaks with, you know, smoke in the air and a fire burning right nearby, um, and just go for it. And so just committed and jumped in, um, to go to go quickly tag those three peaks, um, and just being able to like do that. And that was actually a low point cuz uh, Ashley who, you know, my, my significant other, she, she was a huge support person, you know, helping run base camp and hiking stuff in along trails where I could do a big peak peak link up and then drop down for a restock and like sleep in a tent and then go hit the next big peak link up right from there instead of having to go all the way out and all the way back in, um, she had to be gone cuz she was, uh, leading an all women’s guided trip on Mount Shasta. And so she was gone for a chunk of time with that. And then also my climbing partner at the same time had to be the one who’d become Nathan Longhurst who became the youngest person to finish this whole list because of our partnership with I, which I think is one of the coolest out it’s so cool
Jason Hardrath (36:57):
Of this. Like so stoked and now he’s onto his own really big project. He’s gonna take on the, uh, SPS list this year here starting in, in less than a month now, um, which is a P a list of 248 peaks of the Sierras. Um, so people want someone to follow that’s someone to follow this year. Um, but yeah, he, he was gone because his sister was getting married. So I’m solo fire breaks out. I’m exhausted, you know, alone have to like scramble logistically have to check like, is it all over? Is a, is one of the peaks I haven’t climbed on fire. Like, you know, that emotional turmoil while, while sleep deprived, exhausted trying to drive myself, trying to feed myself. Um, and I remember like that, like that first part of the trail out onto this big, like 40 mile push, um, to link these peaks up just being at a huge emotional low, and just, just struggling to have the motivation to move forward.
Jason Hardrath (37:55):
Um, and just like wrestling with that and wrestling with that and wrestling with that, I rounded this corner and like stuff was kind of starting to come together in my head. And then the view of the peaks I was gonna climb, like I rounded a corner and they came into view on the horizon and they were catching kind of the APEN glow of the evening. And it was just like, at that moment, I remember like the pieces fell in, like it’s gonna be okay, you’re you’re doing something you love, just do it. And it was just like, yeah. Okay. Everything’s gonna be all right.
Corrine Malcolm (38:25):
That’s so, so, so cool. Well, while we kind of, I mean, I wanna talk to you about this for forever, but we’re gonna abide by your, by your lunch break here. So we’re gonna slowly round like, you know, bring things back together, the film I’ve gotten to see it journey to a hundred. So, so cool. Tell us, you know, what, what do you hope people get from it? When can people get it? Where can people see it? What should people, what should we be looking out for? Um, tell us, tell us about that coming, coming to life, cuz it’s really cool.
Jason Hardrath (38:54):
Absolutely. Um, I’m really excited about it. Uh, I mean it’s, it’s an awesome short documentary. It’s uh, 30 minutes long. It covers, uh, a bit of the background. We talked about me being, uh, a, a kid that didn’t easily just fit into the mold of society. Um, it, it covers my, my journey to, uh, you know, chase pursue running and pursue, uh, these, these athletic outlets through my life and how the car accident came along and kind of set me back. Um, and then it really focuses in on this journey to a hundred F KTS that’s consumed me for the last three years. I, um, but a lot of the footage is from this Bulger’s effort, um, the a hundred peaks. So yeah, I think, I think what people are gonna take away from it. And I, what I really hope people take away from it is this sense that if you can, if you can orient yourself around that thing, you find meaning and purpose and passion and, and, and, and you dig in to the, the skills and the processes and the systems that moved you toward actualizing, the dreams you have in it.
Jason Hardrath (40:07):
You know, you put that pin to the paper and, and you, you listen to that intuition that says, yes, this is the way or not quite this one yet. Um, that you’re gonna find yourself doing these wild and unbelievable things. These things that people told you wouldn’t happen and couldn’t happen and your body wouldn’t be capable of. Um, and all of that is kind of, yeah. Kind of laced into these 30 minutes. And I, I, the creative team, like I can’t take credit for it. I, I, I just go climb mountains and teach kids, but the creative team did such an amazing job of conveying all of that in, in and more I think, um,
Corrine Malcolm (40:44):
It’s beautiful. It’s a, like, the imagery is really, really cool. We were all, uh, have knowing that area too well. Like it was like, oh yeah, that’s a good link up. Oh, that that’s a good peak. Okay. So it’s, it’s really, really beautiful. We encourage you all to watch it. When is it out yet? No,
Jason Hardrath (41:00):
It’s, uh, I think the next chance to see it, it’s gonna, uh, show with the Vancouver international film Fest. Um, I’ll make sure you have a link with, for that, um, for the description, uh, then the big, the big athletic brewing was the sponsor. Um, they’ve been awesome to work with, uh, you know, being a PE teacher, your health teacher. Like I love their product cuz no, I guess this is a real way to convey it while I was doing this effort. I had some branding cuz they, they helped me when uh, my van broke down cuz they wanted to see this effort come through. So they helped, helped me get into a new van and people came up because of athletic brewing being on the side, just to tell me like your product changed my life. I’m like, okay, it’s not mine. Like I’m, I’m just an athlete for them, but that’s so amazing.
Jason Hardrath (41:43):
And how could I not, you know, as a teacher be behind something, that’s a tool that people turn their life around with. Um, to me it’s like a no brainer. Like I love it. Like I’ll be a fan, you know, whether I’m still their athlete, you know, five years from now or not, I’m gonna be a fan because those moments where people came up, tears in their eyes, uh, yeah. That’s those memories aren’t ever gonna leave. That’s so cool. But yeah, back back, back to being on track, um, you can watch, uh, the big film launch with athletic. Brewings gonna start in Brooklyn, April 9th. Um, we’re gonna do a, a, a showing and a talk there, a conversation and a question and answer it’ll then go to Denver, I think on April 23rd. And then we will be in Seattle, May 7th. And I think Portland is either the week before or the week after a little, little fuzzy on my numbers there. Uh, I’ll make sure you get that to put in the show description. Um, and then it’ll launch on outside TV to be able to stream, um, in your home mid-May so that’s the, that’s the current, the current plan. Well,
Corrine Malcolm (42:48):
Keep plugging it. I’m I’m really excited for people to see it. I think it’s, it’s it makes you wanna go on, on your own adventure and I think that’s, that’s the goal of everything that you’re doing. Um, we’re gonna end it there for today so that you’ll be able to get back to your students on time. Jason, thank you so much for giving us your lunch break.
Jason Hardrath (43:07):
This was a pleasure.