Yosemite’s El Capitan has snagged many headlines over the past few years as the site of some impressive feats of rock climbing. Although climbers continue to push the limits on the imposing slab of granite each season, it’s a dangerous place to be, even for experienced pros like Emily Harrington. Over the weekend, she had a bad fall on El Cap that sent her to the hospital, where she’s currently recovering.
“I’m banged up but gonna be ok thankfully,” she wrote on Instagram, noting she “pin balled” off the rock and “somehow hit a rope with my neck.” She posted photos from the hospital showing cuts and bruises on her face and a large scrape along her neck—be warned, they’re a little graphic.
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I had an accident yesterday on El Cap. I’m banged up but gonna be ok thankfully. Not much to say except I took a bad fall and pin balled a bit then somehow hit the rope w my neck – 🤷🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️ All I know is that I am extremely grateful to have had @adrianballinger @alexhonnold @jonglassberg @sannimccandless @tarakerzhner and YOSAR of course there to get me out and help me through ❤️ // thanks everyone who sent kind messages and thoughts – feeling so supported and loved 💕 // 📸 portrait by @tarakerzhner + neck selfie
Luckily for her, she wasn’t alone on the mountain. Her boyfriend and mountain guide Adrian Ballinger was there along with Alex Honnold, photographer Tara Kerzhner, and others. She was rescued with assistance from YOSAR, or Yosemite Search and Rescue.
The incident is a clear reminder that things can and do go wrong when you’re out in the wild, especially when you’re dangling from a 3,000-foot granite cliff. According to YOSAR, which specializes in rescuing climbers, an average of 200 visitors get lost, sustain injuries, or die in Yosemite National Park each year. Fortunately for Harrington, this particular fall had a positive ending—she’s safe and will likely be climbing again soon.
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