It’s a great time for women right now, as many are paving their way into the history books by becoming the first women to do things that only men have seemingly achieved throughout the years. On the list of amazing women acting as role models for young girls to dare to dream bigger, Kamala Harris has just become the first female Vice President. And now rock climber Emily Harrington makes the list, as she is the first woman to complete a free-climb of a 3,000-foot monolith in Yosemite National Park, in 24 hours.
Emily Harrington Becomes First Woman to Free-Climb El Capitan via Golden Gate Route in a Single Day
Harrington, from Tahoe City, California, had already attempted to free climb El Cap three times before, but that wasn’t going to stop the 34-year-old from reach her goal. She already has scaled Mount Everest, Mont Blanc, and Ama Dablam under her belt, and defied the meanings of impossible dreams and realistic objectives with no hesitation. And with that, she became the fourth person to free climb El Capitan.
Starting at 1:30 am, Harrington completed the climb in 21 hours, 13 minutes, and 51 seconds. Alex Honnold, the main character of the documentary “Free Solo,” who has completed a free-solo climb of El Capitan without ropes, was Harrington’s belay for the first two-thirds of her climb. For the last third, her boyfriend Adrian Ballinger followed her up the final lip of the climb.
All was going well until Harrington approached a difficult pitch around noon. With her fingers drenched in sweat, she slipped, causing her to rest for about half an hour. As she attempted the pitch once more, she slipped again, but this time, she smacked her head against the rock wall.
Blood started spewing out, but as resilient as Harrington is, she simply patched it up, checked her vitals and kept going. Soon enough, Harrington reached the top of El Capitan, achieving a life goal of hers that she herself said she didn’t think she was going to attain.
She explained her experience in conquering Yosemite’s El Capitan in an Instagram post, thanking Honnold, Ballinger, and Jon Glassberg as well, who helped cover the story of her free-climbing the large piece of stone. She also mentioned how she overcame a scary flashback of last year’s fall while climbing the monolith, proving that with the right focus, discipline, training, and belief, any Yosemite climber can achieve what she can, man or woman.
I do enjoy rock climbing, in the little experience that I’ve had with it. Maybe I won’t necessarily become a professional free climber or an Everest guide anytime soon, but in striving to become a better version of myself, Harrington is an inspiration to me personally as a woman with passions.