Squaw Valley’s Emily Harrington Rescued After “Pin Ball” Fall on El Capitan in Yosemite, CA

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Emily Harrington. image: Tara Kerzhner

Professional climber and Squaw Valley, CA resident Emily Harrington, 33, was injured after taking a big “pin ball” fall while climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, California on Sunday.

Emily was fortunate to escape the fall with only cuts & bruises.

“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.” – Emily Harrington via Instagram on Monday
Emily Harrington. image: adrian ballinger

Gripped Magazine reports that Emily was trying to climb the challenging route “Golden Gate” on El Capitan in just one day when took a big fall on Sunday.

“Harrington has been trying to free climb Golden Gate 5.13 from the base to the summit in a single day. She attempted a few weeks ago with Alex Honnold belaying her. Harrington first sent Golden Gate in 2015 with her partner Adrian Ballinger.” – Gripped.com on 11/25/19
Emily Harrington. image: adrian ballinger

Emily was rescued by fellow climbers including Adrian Ballinger & Alex Honnold.

“The most important person in my world crumpled on a ledge after a big fall in below freezing temperatures with real injuries and a lot of reasons to suspect spinal injury. But looking back it was also the best case scenario of the worst case scenario – @alexhonnold with Em calmly maintaining spinal immobilization on the wall, getting things ready for an evac, and telling stories and keeping her talking throughout. Clear and consistent comms and planning by @jonglassberg and @sannimccandless from the ground. @tarakerzhner keeping me calm as we ran from the other side of the mountain and up the wall to be first on scene to get Em warm and stabilized. YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue) on scene within 90 minutes with a big crew and the necessary equipment to get her off the wall and to the road. Competent paramedics and Trauma 1 Center docs to give the good drugs and eventually to clear Em of spinal injury despite some gnarly wounds. The outpouring of help and support from friends at home and in Yosemite to clean up our chaos from plans very rapidly changed. And finally, Em herself and her warrior mentality. She dealt with the pain, helped where she could, and stayed positive throughout. It’s gonna take a bit of time, but Em and her blood stained 🦖 earrings and new neck tattoo will be back in the vertical world soon.” – Adrian Ballinger via Instagram today
Emily Harrington. image: adrian ballinger


  • US National Champion for sport climbing five times
  • North American Sport Climbing Champion twice
  • Placed second in the World Championships 2005
  • First at the Serre Chevalier Invitational 2006
  • First place Ouray Ice Festival 2012
  • Free climbed the Golden Gate route on El Capitan.
  • Summited Mount Everest in 2012
  • Summited Cho Oyu in 2016.
  • Multiple first female 5.14 ascents and has been on expeditions all over the world
  • Attempted big wall free climbs and high altitude climbs in Nepal, China, Myanmar, Crimea, and Morocco.
  • Featured in National Geographic Adventure blog, Women’s Adventure Magazine, Rock & Ice Magazine, Urban Climber, The North Face speaker series and Outside Magazine.


    • US National Sport Climbing Champion x5
    • North American Sport Climbing Champion x2
    • 2005 World Champion-Runner Up
    • 2006 Serre Chavalier Invitational Champion
    • 2012 Ouray Ice Festival Champion
    • 2013 Ouray Ice Festival, 3rd place finisher

    Ascents and expeditions

    • 2012 – Summited Mount Everest with The North Face expedition led by Conrad Anker
    • 2013 – Summited Mount Ama Dablam
    • 2015 – Free climbed ‘Golden Gate’ on El Capitan, Yosemite (5.13b, 40 pitches) with support from Adrian Ballinger
    • 2016 – Speed-climbed Cho Oyu with Adrian Ballinger
    • 2017 – Free climbed ‘Solar Flare’ (5.12d) with Alex Honnold
Emily Harrington. image: adrian ballinger
Emily Harrington

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