Brette Harrington is one of America’s top climbers and she has spent considerable time in Canada over the past few years. Andrew Bisharat recently published a great interview with Harrington on his website Evening Sends, which you can read here. She is currently on Baffin Island climbing with Marc-Andre Leclerc and other strong Canadians.
Over the winter, Harrington and Leclerc were working on their new climb Auroraphobia next to the winter climbs Nophobia M10, Hydrophobia WI5 and Cryophobia M7. While they have not sent the route, they have freed the pitches up to 5.13. When complete, it will be the hardest routes in the Ghost River area and one of the hardest in the Rockies. In Squamish, she has made the first ascents of Vanguardia 5.12c, a trad/bolt route at Ferris Wheel Crag near Squamish and Catharsis Crack 5.10d, the first pitch to the four-pitch 5.12c Labyrinth on Tantalus Wall. She also sent the well-known Zombie Roof 5.12d. Most of Harrington’s Canadian adventures have been had with her regular partner Marc-Andre Leclerc, who was also with her for The Muir Wall via The Shaft 5.13c on El Cap and The Grand Illusion 5.13c on Sugarloaf in California. The following five ascents demonstrate Harrington’s diverse set of skills on rock and ice.
The Shadow In 2014, Harrington made the second female ascent of The Shadow 5.13, a variation pitch to University Wall on The Chief. Peter Croft made the first free ascent after onsighting it in 1988. Senja Palonen of Vancouver was the first female to send it in 2012 and said, “One of the most beautiful and iconic routes in Squamish.”
Edge of Pan The Edge of Pan on The Chief in Squamish was aid climbed in the 1980s at 5.8 A3 by Jim Brennen and C. Thompson. Years ago, Leclerc cleaned out the old the old pitons for a possible free ascent. Sonnie Trotter made the first free ascent in 2011 and graded it 5.13bR. In 2015, Jesse Huey made the second free ascent and shortly after, Harrington sent the 40-metre stem/layback corner on solid gear.
I returned to Edge of Pan this morning for the send! Six days ago I belayed Mr Jesse Huey on the second ascent of this knife blade corner. The relentless stemming pumped my legs as I slipped on my flash attempt, but today the cool wind and good company made for a perfect sending recipe. @mdre92 @arcteryx @evolvusa
Straight No Chaser In 2014, Harrington and Leclerc made the first ascent of the 1,500-metre Straight No Chaser, the Direct South Ridge of Serra 2 in the Waddington Range. She has gone on to be one of America’s most committed alpine rock senders. A few months later, she soloed Chiaro di Luna, a 750-metre 5.11 in Patagonia.
Take back to an amazing trip into the Waddington Range 2014. On this day @mdre92 and I climbed the 1,500m Serra 2 and put up a new direct line Straight No Chaser 5.11. We then descended a steep snow face where rivers were running beneath us and navigated the gnarliest glacier I have yet to cross. Such an amazing adventure #wildcanada @mtwaddingtons @arcteryx
Colonel Foster In the spring of 2016, Harrington and Leclerc made a in-and-out send of Into the Mystic, a 1,200-metre 5.10 on Colonel Foster. While the route is not the most difficult solo, to down-climb the rappels and make the long approach and descent in a day is a noteworthy feat.
Nightmare on Wolf Street This past winter, Harrington took up ice and mixed climbing. After only a few training days, she jumped on Nightmare on Wolfstreet with Leclerc. The Stanley Headwall route requires good technical mixed skills and a strong head.
I'm pretty stoked to have met two Austrian crushers @vittoriomessini and Matias up at the Stanley headwall. They were able to snag this shot of me leading the first pitch of Nightmare on Wolf St. M7. Can't wait to go back to the rockies for some more! @arcteryx @petzl_official #canadianrockies #mixedclimbing