Woman Free-Climbs 3,000-Foot Mountain, Makes History

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In case you needed some motivation to get off your couch today, consider this: Emily Harrington made history last month by free-climbing a 3,000-foot mountain in less than one day.

On the heels of the election, Harrington clambered into the record books with her ascent of Yosemite National Park's El Capitan via the Golden Gate route, becoming the first woman to do so via that route — and the fourth to ascend the mountain — in such a short period of time.

The 34-year-old achieved the feat in 21 hours, 13 minutes, and 51 seconds, and told The New York Times that her mantra throughout the climb was, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

Of the journey as a whole, Harrington told the publication: “It was this giant representation of everything I’ve worked for in climbing, boiled down into one day. There was a lot going on in my head, but at the same time, I had this confidence deep down because I knew that I was more ready than I ever had been in my entire life.”

El Capitan, also known as El Cap, is a famously difficult summit amongst the free-climb community and it rose to global prominence when it was the focal point for climber Alex Honnold in the Oscar-winning 2018 documentary, Free Solo.

Prior to Harrington, Lynn Hill climbed El Capitan in less than 24 hours in 1994, followed by Steph Davis in 2004 and Mayan Smith-Gobat in 2014. (Again, not via the Golden Gate route.)

Harrington paid homage to Hill’s achievement and shared a heartfelt Instagram tribute to her legacy, acknowledging that her own victory was “on the shoulders of giants.”

“It’s pretty hard to talk about free climbing on El Capitan without mentioning perhaps THE most astonishing ascents of all time,” she wrote, adding that Hill’s “ascent made her the very first human to achieve such a feat, and it was far and beyond what anyone could conceive of at the time.”

Tags: Groundbreaking Women, Gender Equality

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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