Woman scales El Cap in a day - 23rd November 2020

American Emily Harrington has become the fourth woman to free climb to the summit of the monolithic rock formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, and the first ever woman to do so following the arduous Golden Gate route.

El Capitan, sometimes dubbed El Cap, is a 1,000 metre high granite edifice which thousands of climbers flock to every year. Ascents can take up to a week via a variety of routes, yet only the most elite climbers manage to reach the peak within 24 hours.

Relying on ropes and other gear solely as a safety precaution, free climbers scale mountains and rock faces using just their body and physical strength.

Harrington set off at 1.30am. She completed the first leg of the ascent with well known climber Alex Honnold, who starred in the documentary film "Free Solo", chronicling his own free climb of El Cap. Harrington spurred herself on by chanting her mantra of "slow is smooth, smooth is fast" as she clambered over its vertical rock formations.

While not the first to follow the formidable Golden Gate route to scale El Cap in a day - three men have done so over the past few years - Harrington is the first woman to accomplish this feat. This achievement was particularly poignant since her previous attempt to reach the peak, last year, ended in disaster seeing her hospitalised after falling 45 metres.

Upon conquering the summit, Harrington posted a triumphant message: “Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions of ourselves.”

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