Brette Harrington spends most of her time in Squamish, but the American climber is no stranger to other world-class areas including Patagonia and Yosemite. She recently made a likely second-female-ascent of a California classic.
Two weeks ago, Harrington sent Grand Illusion, the first 5.13c crack climb in North America (and maybe the world) and said, “I finally sent the Grand Illusion 5.13c today out at Sugarloaf.
“After climbing at Lovers Leap all afternoon Marc Andre-Leclerc and I hiked up to Sugarloaf for one last go at Grand Illusion for my last day in California and it went.”
Originally Grand Illusion was the third pitch of The Fracture and was climbed on aid, but in 1979, Tony Yaniro freed it. There is some dispute about what was the first 5.13 in Cali, but Grand Illusion is the agreed first 5.13+of its kind.
“It’s Harrinton’s first solid 5.13, after doing The Shadow 5.12d/5.13a in Squamish last September,” said Leclerc.
Beth Rodden made the first female ascent, onsight, in 2002 with the majority of the gear in place. Harringon placed all her gear on lead, aside from two fixed nuts in the roof. She clipped another two fixed nuts at the bottom on the 5.8 slab before the route really starts, so that doesn’t affect the difficulty.
As of right now, it seems the second-female-ascent claim goes to Harrington, but you never know who’s gotten in a quick lap of this famous Tahoe route.