Emily Harrington’s El Cap Rescue
While trying to climb Golden Gate (VI 5.13) on El Capitan, Yosemite, in a single day on Sunday, Emily Harrington took a huge fall on a 5.10c on the Freeblast (which makes up the lower portion of the route).
Harrington and Alex Honnold, her partner for her attempt to climb Golden Gate in a day, were simul-climbing the beginning pitches of the route on Sunday when Harrington slipped.
Honnold told Outside Online that Harrington was 150 above him when she took the fall. “I was sitting on the ground tying my shoes, getting ready to start simul-climbing,” Honnold told author Grayson Schaffer. “Tons of slack just pools on the ground, which is consistent with huge falls.” Honnold continued, “The rope is falling at the same speed as the climber. It’s just physics.”
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Harrington lost consciousness and was extremely banged up with what Honnold, as well as Jon Glassberg—who was on the wall filming the attempt—were concerned could be life-threatening injuries.
Adrian Ballinger, Harrington’s boyfriend, was at the two-thirds of the way up the route waiting for her to support her to the top, rappelled down to help Honnold and Glassberg, as they all waited for Yosemite Search and Rescue to arrive.
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Grayson Schaffer summed up the extent of Harrington’s injuries as follows: “At the hospital, her injuries proved to be gruesome but largely superficial. Most shockingly, Harrington had somehow managed to get her neck caught in the rope during the fall and was left with a long bruise that made it look like she’d been strangled. Ultimately she was able to walk out of the hospital a day later.”
Harrington is a highly accomplished El Capitan climber. In 2015, she freed Golden Gate in a six-day push.