Emily Harrington becomes fourth woman to free-climb El Capitan in one day

While the rest of the world was watching the US election unfold last Wednesday, Emily Harrington was facing El Capitan in Yosemite. By the end of the day, she became the fourth woman to ever free-climb, or scale without ropes, the giant granite face. 

Alex Honnold drew attention to the treacherous climb in 2017 when his feat was detailed in the Oscar-winning movie, Free Solo. A handful of other men and women have made the climb, but Harrington sets a record as the fourth woman to do it in less than 24 hours via the Golden Gate route, the same path taken by Honnold. The climb took her 21 hours, 13 minutes, and 51 seconds. 

Climbing El Cap in under 24 hours means scaling the treacherous 3,000-foot wall with incredible stamina. Harrington had attempted the feat once before, but a scary fall stopped her short of her goal. This time, she departed the floor of Yosemite Valley at 1:34 am on November 4 and arrived at the top at 10:30 pm. 

In an Instagram post following the climb Harrington wrote, “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. Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions of ourselves.”

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