It scaled 3,000 feet of massive granite on Wednesday as the nation focused on developments in the presidential election.
“It’s pretty impressive what she’s done,” said Ken Yager, president of the Yosemite Climbing Association Museum.
But he pointed out that she isn’t the first to freely climb the iconic rock.
Harrington is the first woman on the route, but three more women came before her, including Lynn Hill, who became the first to climb El Capitan freely in 24 hours in 1992, Yager said.
Climbers Beth Rodden and Steph Davis also completed the challenge.
Only three people – all men – had ever freely climbed the Golden Gate route on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in less than 24 hours, and now Harrington is the fourth.
Harrington was the first woman to complete this task in less than a day and scaled El Capitan in 21 hours and 13 minutes.
“I never thought that I would actually be able to freely climb El Cap on a day that I set a goal for myself,” she said in an Instagram post.
“It didn’t seem like a realistic goal to me,” she said. “I didn’t have the skills, the fitness or the risk profile to move so quickly over such a large piece of rock. But that’s exactly why I chose it. Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above what we do now to see if we are. ” can become better versions of us. ”
Harrington said she started climbing at 1:34 a.m. on November 4. She shared some of the challenges she faced, including a slip that left her with a cut on her forehead. She later admitted that “it almost took (her) determination”.
“I put on again,” she said, “part of me didn’t really want to stay on the wall, the other part gathered courage and flow. I kept thinking, why am I still clinging to it?”
She successfully climbed past where she had failed a year earlier when a nasty fall halted her ascent.
“I cried while belaying – it could happen this time … The last 5 pitches felt scary in my current state, but I pulled the last lip in disbelief at 10:30 pm,” she said.
“There’s a lot more to say, but mostly I wanted to say thank you for the love and support from friends, family and strangers. I feel the love so intensely right now. Thank you all,” said Harrington.
Correction: An earlier version of this story and heading misrepresented Emily Harrington’s performance. She is the fourth woman to ever freely climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, and the first to do so via the Golden Gate route.