Emily Harrington—Rock Climber and Mountaineer
MOST ALPINISTS take roughly two months to climb an 8,000-meter peak, like Nepal’s Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth-highest mountain. Last spring, Harrington did it, with her partner Adrian Ballinger, in 14 days—door-to-door from their home in Squaw Valley. To boot, the duo skied from the top, schussing down snow at 26,000 feet.
A decade ago, this high-speed ascent would have been considered impossible, and Harrington perhaps the least likely to accomplish it. She was known as a sport climber, having won five U.S. national titles and two North American championships. But she had her sights set higher—much higher. “I didn’t want to be someone who only understood climbing from the perspective of the gym,” she says. “I wanted to be on the side of the mountain.” In 2012, Harrington climbed Mount Everest and Mount Blanc. In 2013, she summitted Ama Dablam. Over the next five years she went on expeditions around the world, from China and Myanmar to Morocco, setting multiple first-female ascents of the hardest rock climbs on the planet; she even free-climbed one of the biggest granite walls in the High Sierra, at 1,500 feet, with Alex Honnold. Today she may be the most well-rounded climber and alpinist of her generation, and, at 32, she’s only getting started.
“Emily is a beacon of positivity,” says Conrad Anker. “And going from El Cap to Everest, she’s truly a Renaissance climber in all disciplines.”Back to top