Emily Harrington Sends Golden Gate

After 6 days and 40 pitches, team climber Emily Harrington stood on the summit of El Cap with broken skin, aching muscles and a smile that stretched across Yosemite Valley. Here Emily shows us that it’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination.

Emily chose to attempt Golden Gate free after her friend Hazel Findlay, who freed the route in 2011, recommended it. She made it one of her 2015 goals, which include: making finals in a sport climbing nationals comp (which she missed by one spot), redpointing a 5.14 (8b+), freeing Golden Gate, and climbing the fifth highest peak in the world, Makalu (8463m), sans oxygen.
A sport and competition climber by trade, Emily started on the path to big free climbs like Golden Gate three years ago, spending time on longer routes in Tuolumne and ticking loads of moderate granite pitches. In the months leading up to her send, she used a hangboard to strengthen fingers, a treadwall to build endurance, and went ski touring and trail running for overall fitness. And of course, she worked on her mental game—a key factor on Yosemite big walls.