Emily Harrington

Emily Harrington

Rock Climber

Born and raised in Boulder, CO, Emily Harrington has been climbing for most of her life and boasts an impressive list of achievements to show for it.

New Horizons


She started as a member of the USA Junior Climbing Team in 1998 and continued on to become a member of the USA Climbing Adult Team (difficulty) from 2004 - 2010. In 2007, Emily became the second American female to climb 5.14b. Additionally, the same year she finished second at the Sport Climbing World Championships.

Despite her roots as a competition climber, Emily has explored several other aspects of the sport. Recently, she claimed the first female ascents of Roadside Prophet (5.14a), Living the Dream (5.14a), and Waka Flocka (5.14b) in Rifle, CO, and ascents of Powder Finger (5.14a) in the Getu Valley in China and Full Equip (5.14a) in Oliana, Spain. She won the women’s division at the Ouray Ice Festival in 2012 and in the same year was a member of the Everest Education Expedition, successfully summitting Mt. Everest on May 25, 2012.

While busy accumulating these athletic achievements, Emily also managed to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs in 2007. Her other achievements include serving as a USA Athlete Representative at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and currently representing the Access Fund as a National Ambassador. She served as an Athlete Representative on the USA Climbing Board and is currently an athlete ambassador for Outdoor Nation and Protect Our Winters.

It is clear that Emily does not do anything half-way, whether it is school or donating her time or climbing. She clearly has a passion for every endeavor she undertakes – a passion well beyond her years.

Quick Facts

Nickname: “Em”

Favorite Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums

Favorite Destinations: Catalunya, Spain and the Khumbu valley, Nepal

Favorite Snack: Cookies

Favorite Book: A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah

I Get Amped Listening To: Lady Gaga, Lil’ Wayne, Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj

Words To Live By: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

Inspiration Within the Sport: Those who are not afraid to fail, have the ability to see the bigger picture and give back to the community.

Most Humbling Moment: Realizing that I’ll never be the best, but I’ll always be trying

Proudest Moment: Deciding to pursue my passion instead of taking the safer path

I’ve Always Wanted To: speak several different languages

Three Things I Always Pack on a Trip: iPhone, swimsuit and running shoes.

Three Things People Should Know About Me:

  1. I love traveling. I believe it teaches life’s most valuable lessons.
  2. I used to hate being cold and all things winter, now I love snow and the mountains and I want to explore them all in every way I can.
  3. My goal in life is to play as much as possible. I want to be able to wake up everyday and do what I love and am passionate about.

Causes I’m Passionate About: Keeping outdoor climbing areas open, clean and accessible. Inspiring the youth of America to get outside and live active, healthy lifestyles and instill in them a concern for the environment, an awareness of the impact of global climate change, and what they can do to protect the natural world for future generations.

Career Hightlights

Competitions (sport climbing):

  • 5x US National Champion
  • 2x North American Champion
  • 2nd Place IFSC World Championships 2005
  • 1st Place Serre Chevalier International
  • 3rd Place IFSC World Cup competition (Zurich) 2007
  • 1st Place Ouray Ice Festival 2012
  • 3rd Place Ouray Ice Festival 2013


  • Hardest Redpoint: 5.14b
  • Hardest Onsight: 5.13c
  • Hardest Boulder problem: V9
  • Hardest Traditional climb: 5.13a
  • Hardest Mixed climb: M9
  • Number of 5.14 repoints: 11
  • Number of First Female Ascents (5.13d and harder): 14
  • Summitted Mt Everest and Mt Blanc in 2012