She’s climbing through glass ceilings.
Emily Harrington became the first woman — and fourth person — to free-climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in a single day.
The 34-year-old climber accomplished the fete on November 4. She reached the top of the 3,000-foot wall in 21 hours, 13 minutes and 51 seconds. Harrington took a route called The Golden Gate. It’s 2.5 times as tall as the Empire State Building, according to the Yosemite website.
Harrington had scaled the granite walls before, but never in a single day. Last year, she fell while climbing El Capitan, and was rescued by Alex Honnold, the star of the 2018 documentary “Free Solo.” Honnold was the first person to climb the famous rocks without a safety rope. Free climbers use ropes in case they fall, but do not use them to ascend.
After spending a year training in Tahoe City, California, Harrington was ready to try the climb again. She was again accompanied by Honnold, along with her boyfriend Adrian Ballinger, a Mount Everest guide.
It wasn’t without struggle: When she reached one of the hardest parts of the climb, her foot slipped and she fell sideways, hitting her head on the rocks.
“Blood just started pouring down her face, dripping onto me at the belay,” Ballinger said. “We immediately thought her day was done. It was a wild, scary flashback to last year’s fall.”
Harrington rested for an hour and dressed her wounds, but then got back at it. “There was a part of me that wanted to give up and quit,” the climber told ABC News. “But this other part of me was like, this is why you’re here. It’s supposed to be hard. You owe it to yourself to try again.”
Harrington understood the historical significance of her accomplishment. “I spent a lot of years feeling like I didn’t belong, like maybe I hadn’t earned my place to be a Yosemite climber,” she said. “But throughout this experience, I learned that there is no belonging or not belonging, no formula to achievement up there. I was creative and experimental and I found my own way.”
She celebrated her accomplishment on Instagram, posting pictures of her bleeding head. “It didn’t seem like a realistic objective for me. I didn’t have the skills, fitness, or risk profile to move so quickly over such a large piece of stone. But I chose it exactly for that reason,” she posted. “Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions of ourselves.
Many consider Yosemite, located in California, to be the birthplace of modern rock climbing.
With Post wires
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