Written by: Tomas Morgan
A year and a half after his first podcast appearance with us, adventurer and educator Jason Hardrath is back on the podcast waves, sharing tales of his recent exploits that involve summiting more peaks and imparting wisdom in the classroom. The man who thrives on both the adrenaline of conquering physical challenges and the satisfaction of inspiring young minds believes that the true value lies in bringing back the gold from his grand adventures.
Hardrath delved deeper into the metaphor of "bringing back the gold." For him, it's not just about personal achievement; it's about sharing the experience, wisdom, and riches acquired during his journeys with the community. He likens the hero's journey to a cycle — going on the grand adventure, conquering objectives, and then circling back to share the greatness. Without this crucial return, the memories of conquest would be fleeting, confined to the individual.
Hardrath, who has ADHD, admits to struggling with conventional tasks dictated by others. This aversion to following orders led him to a career in teaching, where he imparts knowledge by sharing his story and encouraging students to pursue their passions rather than succumb to societal expectations.
"The stories we tell are for the people that come next," he emphasizes. The grand adventure, in his view, grants permission to inspire others, creating a ripple effect that encourages individuals to chase their dreams.
His most recent challenge, the Rocky Mountain Slam, saw him complete the task in an astonishing 39 days, 23 hours, and 44 minutes, enduring excruciating pain along the way. From blistered and peeling feet to coughing up fluids and bleeding, Hardrath faced numerous physical trials. Yet, in the midst of a storm during a climb, he pushed through the pain until he could no longer, illustrating his commitment to the adventure.
Looking ahead, Hardrath sets his sights on the Volcanic 7 Summit, a challenge involving the highest volcanic summits on each of the seven continents. Despite uncertainties, he remains undeterred, heading to the tallest volcano in the world, standing at 22,615 feet.
His ability to persevere, even in the face of adversity like high-altitude pulmonary edema and a reconstructed knee, stems from a desire to prove to himself that he can overcome any challenge. As a physical education teacher, he channels this mindset into inspiring his students, aiming to instill the belief that they can achieve remarkable feats.
Acknowledging the inevitability of ageing, Hardrath foresees a transition from being the adventurer to becoming the coach and inspiration for others. This shift marks a new chapter in his journey — one where the focus shifts from personal growth to storytelling and finding individuals to carry the torch forward.
As he trains rigorously for his upcoming challenge, Hardrath's routine involves a mix of weightlifting, cardio, and sauna sessions, emphasizing the importance of physical and mental preparation. His advice to the next generation echoes his own journey — find big dreams, set intermediate goals, and persevere through setbacks, always making choices that will make the future self proud.
Jason Hardrath's odyssey continues, a testament to the enduring spirit of adventure, resilience, and the power of inspiring others to embark on their hero's journey.