In November 2021, American alpinst, big wall climber and pro backcountry skier, Brette Harrington, freed El Corazón 5.13b on El Capitan over the course of 13 days.
Harrington has just released a short film with footage from her time on the wall with Elliott Bernhagen. “We didn’t capture everything,” Harrington said, “but you’ll see how the story goes. I sent the roof pitch right before the epic rainstorm. We didn’t get any footage, but Drew Smith took the cover photo. Good vibes, hard climbing.”
Harrington and Bernhagen dealt with changing weather for their mid-November climb. Harrington said, “On day eight, our hanging tent nearly sank in a torrential rainstorm. We bailed water out with the jet boil cup all night, then spent the next day and a half drying out.”
El Corazon is a combination of Salathé, Albatross, Son of Heart and Heart Route plus new variations by Huber and Reichel. Besides placing some new bolts on belay stations, no single bolt was placed. It was first climbed in 2001 by Alex Huber and Max Reichel over six days of aid climbing. Huber and Reichel returned and Huber made the first free ascent at 5.13b. The second free ascent was by Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden in 2007, and has since been sent by many others including Will Stanhope and Brad Gobright.
Harrington is known for her bold alpine free-solos and new routes. In the Rockies, she’s established a number of hard routes in the past few years, such as Aurorophobia 5.13+ in the Wiaparous River Valley with Marc-André Leclerc, Life Compass IV 5.10 M4+ on Mount Blane with Rose Pearson, Just a Nibble M6R 5.10 WI5 14p on Mount Niblock with Dylan Cunningham, The Sound of Silence VI M8 WI5 on Mount Fay with Ines Papert and Luka Lindic, and The Hammer and the Dance VI 5.11X on Neptuak with Tony McLane. She’s also known for opening bold new ski lines, including Gold Card Couloir.