Emily Harrington: The Interview
Emily Harrington is a total bad ass. She climbs hard inside and out. She’s a comp killin, climbing dynamo and will simply not stop crushing. We did get her to sit down and give us some answers about her life, what she’s doing, and how she might or might not want to be an assassin for the CIA.
Interview by Andrew Tower (Wig)
Photos by Caroline Treadway (C-Note)
Let’s start with basics. Where are you from? How old are you? How long have you lived in boulder?
I am 22 years old, I was born in Boulder and I still live here (but we moved to Kansas City when I was 2 for a year).
When did you start climbing?
I was 10 and I started at the Boulder Rock Club. I took kids classes during the summer and then I joined the Jr. Team and I started doing comps.
And you’ve been shredding the Front Range gnar ever since. What’s the best crag within an hour of boulder?
Hmm. I guess for sport climbing its maybe Clear Creek. I don’t really know if I can decide. There are a bunch of smaller areas that are good. The Flatirons, the Monastery, Industrial Wall, Eldo, Boulder Canyon.
So. Just anything I guess.
Yes. There are a lot. It just depends on my mood I guess
What’s the best route you’ve ever climbed that’s 5.8 or easier?
5.8 or easier? I cant think of anything really that easy. I soloed the 1st Flatiron. How hard is that?
It was fucking terrifying. I thought I was going to die. No good. I will never do it again, but i guess it was kinda cool…
So what are you doing with your days right now? You graduated right?
Yes, I graduated in May 2007. Now I just climb and travel and try to keep my brain busy, but its getting old. I think I need to go back to school. I like climbing but I’m not one of those people who can stay motivated when it’s the only thing I do. Daniel woods and I did a slide show in Kentucky at a high school, so now I want to do more because I’m sick of just traveling and climbing. I feel like I don’t do anything all that productive.
That sounds rad. I say do it. You have P&C’s stamp of approval.
Ha thanks. I like the idea too, and my sponsors do too. Hopefully I can organize it and make it happen.
Good. We have a reader submitted question. Someone I know wants to know if you are of Nordic descent or if he has just convinced himself you look that way.
Nordic descent? I have no idea. Maybe…
My parents are from Holland, MI, so we have some Dutch and Irish and English I think. I’m a random mix. I’m also the only one in the family with blond hair. You have viewer submitted questions?
Actually no but Limit made a drunken comment one night and I decided to publicly poke fun at him for it. Well speaking of drinking, I hear you do not know how to go into a liquor store and buy alcohol.
I’ve been to the liquor store three times since I turned 21. I just didn’t know what kind of vodka to buy because I never drink and there were so many different kinds. I was overwhelmed.
So if you aren’t a drinker what do you do? Any vices at all?
Yes. Lots. Cookies, ice cream and sleeping pills. Not good. I have sleeping problems and I take sleeping pills and I’m trying to not, but I always cave. And the internet.
What’s your favorite website? This is an EASY question.
I don’t know if I have a favorite. Let me think.
I go on 8a a lot. and Facebook and the Foodnetwork and weather.com
Pimpin and Crimpin…duh…
Of course. So 8a, you have a card and everything?
Yeah I do. I suck right now though. I used to be good, but I haven’t been sending shit. I need to have a comeback. I need to start climbing outside again. I’m going to Spain in February with Beth so hopefully sending will occur.
I’m certain it will. What’s in between Spain and now? Why aren’t you climbing outside this very moment?
I’m trying to train for North American Championships in Montreal in 3 weeks. And in December, well, I haven’t thought that far ahead, but January is the National Championships so I will train for that too. I climbed in Eldo on Saturday though, so I’ve been getting out a little bit. I want to go the VRG in December, but I’m afraid it will be too cold for me. I suck at climbing in the cold.
A warm weather girl huh? What’s the best thing to do when it’s warm outside that ISN’T climbing?
I like running too. I ran Cross Country in 10th grade. It was hard.
The very first article I ever read in a climbing magazine was about you and Tori Allen and I think you said something about wanting to free a route on El Cap eventually. How’s that goal coming?
Haha Yes I’ve always said that. I haven’t got around to it. Hopefully someday… It’s a lot of work and preparation. I’d like to go with Beth some day. I think I will do it someday. I just need to be ready and motivated.
(a bunch of boring banter about Yosemite)
…but whatever we had fun I guess. Gotta screw up sometimes.
That’s how you learn. I’ve learned through my own epics
What’s the MOST epic thing that’s happened?
So many. Mostly traveling epics. I almost didn’t make it home from China. They told me I had no reservation, and I started freaking out because I almost didn’t make it there. The same thing happened. I think I actually had a panic attack and collapsed on the floor in the airport. I was exhausted and so ready to go home, and they wouldn’t give me my boarding pass and they kept speaking Chinese and I just shut down mentally and freaked out. Then these two stewardesses came and took my arms and lead me to the front of the line and gave me my ticket and brought me through security and put me on the plane. I think they just wanted to get rid of me. Another time, in Australia, our van broke down and we were stuck for two days in this little town. We ended up hitchhiking. There was a lot of crazy things in Australia.
Lets talk about boys.
You got one right?
Kick ass climber right?
Yeah, he’s pretty talented. He’ll go months without climbing and then be strong immediately. He lived in Philly for the last year and a half. He was working not climbing much. Now he’s on a road trip.
Do you get hit on at the crags a lot or do you think dudes are totally intimidated?
Not really. I think I’m too shy. I just don’t talk much, so even if they were I don’t respond to it. Then maybe they get intimidated or think I’m a total bitch.
No, I don’t think so…maybe I am!
Doubtful. Maybe it’s because 9/10 times I’ve seen you climbing it’s been with your dad. No one wants to hit on a girl in front of her dad.
That’s true. Good point.
Could you actually date a non-climber?
I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it. I bet I could though. Rob and I never really climbed together. We do other stuff because he likes to boulder and I sport climb.
Typical fluffy question: what’s the very best thing about climbing?
For me, climbing is the best sport because it never gets old. There is always going to be something new. New areas, different rock, different styles. The possibilities are endless. There’s no end to the challenges. It’s not like other sports where the distance/rules/course/movement is always the same. It’s a very unique sport in that way.
Cheers to that. If time, money and experience were not a factor at all. What would be the coolest job in all of history to have?
I’ve always wanted to be in CIA, but you have to move to DC
Really. Doing what?
Covert operations. I want to know what the government is doing behind our backs, and I want to be in the know.
Oh that kind of thing.
Yes, I studied international affairs.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I think I will probably be in Law School. That’s what I want to do right now anyway. International Law
Damn. You’re an ambitious one.
Yes I suppose. I get bored. I want to learn more. I like school. I’m a total nerd wad.