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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Nov 112020
Ama Dablam

With Nepal seeing the lowest number of teams in decades due to the COVID crisis, there are a few teams enjoying success. Summits on Ama Dablam. Plus a female first on El Cap.

Ama Dablam

Madison Mountianing summited the popular 6,000-meter peak Ama Dablam (22,349′) today. I received a text from one of the members saying it was a long, hard day and they returned all the way to base camp after topping out. One client with two sherpas from Seven Summits Treks also submitted. And, as has been the custom this COVID year, a prince from the Middle East also summited. Prince of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani along with 13 others, seven in support, made the top today.

It’s been quiet, obviously, in Napel this entire year. Only one 8000er has seen a summit, Manaslu, again by a Middle East Prince. Other peaks climbed included Barunse, Gyalzen, and Himlung in addition to Ama Dable, the most popular with 26 permits issued.


China has announced its side of Everest will be open in the Spring of 2021, and I assume Nepal will do the same. I expect huge crowds on both sides with the pent up demand.

Nepal continues a global trend of increasing COVID cases and deaths. With a vaccine coming into focus, perhaps by April of next year, it will be widely available but it’s too soon to say.

Emily Harrington – El Cap

The North Face sponsored climber, Emily Harrington made some history with her free-climb of El Capitan’s Golden Gate route in 21:13:51.  She became the fourth person to free-climb any route on El Capitan in a day. To keep this accomplishment in context, in 1994 Lynn Hill, became the first person to free-climb the Nose in under 24 hours. Also, Steph Davis and Mayan Smith-Gobat both climbed the Freerider route, in 2004 and 2011, respectively, less than 24 hours.

Em was belayed by none other than Alex Honnold, and Adrian Ballinger.

She posted on IG:

I never believed I could actually free climb El Cap in a day when I first set the goal for myself. It didn’t seem like a realistic objective for me. I didn’t have the skills, fitness, or risk profile to move so quickly over such a large piece of stone. But I chose it exactly for that reason. Impossible dreams challenge us to rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions of ourselves.

On Nov 4 I started climbing with @alexhonnold at 1:34am, caught between my own internal drama of achieving a life goal and the more prevalent one of the elections – both unfolding in parallel ways in my brain. I knew I was in for a big day – but that’s exactly why I was there. I wanted to find my limit and exist in it and fight beyond it.

A nasty slip on the 13a Golden Desert pitch almost took my resolve – a deep gash on my forehead left me bloody and defeated. I pulled on again, part of me not really wanting to stay on the wall, the other part gathering courage and flow. I kept thinking “why am I still hanging on?”

The next pitch was the A5 traverse, where I failed last year. This time it was not my limit. I fought hard but with flawless movements in the dark. I cried at the belay – it could happen this time….The final 5 pitches felt scary in my current state but I pulled over the final lip at 10:30pm in disbelief.

There’s a lot more to say but mostly I wanted to express my gratitude for the love and support from friends, family, and strangers. I feel the love so intensely right now. Thank you all 🙏🏻

Massive thanks to @alexhonnold for climbing with me over these years, you’ve inspired me to think bigger and believe in myself in ways you cannot imagine. To @jonglassberg for your friendship, creativity, and ability to capture a story while at the same time keeping it light and always fun. And finally to my best friend, partner, lover, fave human of all time @adrianballinger– your support and love for me through the darkness and the light has never wavered. I love you endlessly ❤️❤️❤️
More to come!!!

Climb On!
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