Tahoe City’s Emily Harrington becomes first woman to climb El Cap’s Golden Gate route in under 24 hours | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City’s Emily Harrington becomes first woman to climb El Cap’s Golden Gate route in under 24 hours

A local climber made history earlier this month, becoming the first woman to free climb El Capitan’s Golden Gate route in less than a day.

Tahoe City’s Emily Harrington, 34, reached the top of one of climbing’s most famous monoliths, summiting in 21 hours, 13, minutes, and 51 seconds. Harrington teamed up with famed climber Alex Honnold to accomplish the feat.

“I never believed I could actually free climb El Cap in a day when I first set the goal for myself,” said Harrington in an Instagram post. “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. Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions of ourselves.”

Harrington began the climb on Nov. 4, and took a fall on the Golden Desert pitch, which gashed her forehead and left her bloody and nearly defeated. She went on to climb a pitch that sent her home last year, before completing the final five pitches in the dark. She reached the summit at 10:30 p.m., becoming the fourth person to climb the Golden Gate route in under 24 hours.

“It was this giant representation of everything I’ve worked for in climbing boiled down into one day,” Harrington said in an interview with the New York Times. “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.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

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