Top climber survives 'wild sideways fall' off Yosemite's El Capitan

Professional climber Emily Harrington, who was hospitalized with cuts and scrapes after a fall while scaling Yosemite's 3,200-foot El Capitan on Sunday, said she's going to be OK.

Harrington, a U.S. national champion in sport climbing, posted on Instagram from a Fresno, California, hospital Tuesday that she had an accident and got "banged up."

"Not much to say except I took a bad fall and pin balled a bit then somehow hit the rope w my neck," Harrington wrote. The post included a picture of her scraped face and another of a long horizontal bruise across her neck.

Harrington, 33, told "Today" after leaving the Community Regional Medical Center that "I actually feel better than I thought I would."

She said she "lost consciousness for a period of time" after the "wild sideways fall," but eventually "could feel my fingers and toes, so I kind of knew that things were not super, super, super serious."

In her Instagram post, Harrington, a five-time U.S. sport climbing champion, thanked fellow climbers, including her boyfriend, Adrian Ballinger, and Alex Honnold, who is the first person to climb El Capitan without a rope or harness and the subject of the 2018 Academy Award-winning documentary "Free Solo."

She also thanked Yosemite Search and Rescue. Harrington, who lives in Squaw Valley, California, has previously free-climbed the challenging El Capitan in six days, according to The North Face, which sponsors her.

20 PHOTOS
Yosemite National Park - El Capitan
See Gallery
Yosemite National Park - El Capitan
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] A Winter sunset at The Gates of the Valley, Yosemite National Park, in the California Sierra... The water of the Merced River reflected the alpenglow striking El Capitan high above. It was cold enough that the tufts of snow were covered in perfectly formed spiky ice crystals.
California, Yosemite National Park, El Capitan (Left) And Cathedral Rocks From Valley View. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - DECEMBER 16: USA, California, Yosemite National Park, (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1984). Yosemite Valley, El Capitan Mountain (Photo by DEA / M.SANTINI/De Agostini/Getty Images)
El Capitan and Half Dome Rock Formations, Yosemite National Park, California (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
Valley View in Yosemite National Park, the Merced River flowing toward El Capital and Half Dome, California, United States. (Photo by: MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - JULY 20: The El Capitan rock formation stands on July 21, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. Yosemite is among California's biggest tourist destinaitons. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 01: Climbers on El Capitan are cheered on by waving friends and family. Yosemite National Park, California. (Photo by Jonathan S. Blair/National Geographic/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1900: California, United States - El Capitan mountain, Yosemite National Park. (Photo by Francois LE DIASCORN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
YOSEMITE, CA - 1980: El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and the entire Yosemite Valley are seen in this 1980 Yosemite, California, winter landscape photo taken from a scenic overlook. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
YOSEMITE, CA - 1980: The granite face of El Capitan is reflected in the Merced River in this 1980 Yosemite, California, winter landscape photo taken from the valley floor. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
YOSEMITE, CA - 1980: The trees and El Capitan are reflected in the Merced River in this 1980 Yosemite, California, winter landscape photo taken from the valley floor. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
YOSEMITE, CA - 1980: El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls are reflected in the Merced River in this 1980 Yosemite, California, winter landscape photo taken from the valley floor. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 06: A time exposure of El Capitan mountain shows brilliant lights, Yosemite National Park, California (Photo by Dean Conger/National Geographic/Getty Images)
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park
Twilight on El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California
USA, California, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, Tunnel View
El Capitan Yosemite National Park
El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Yosemite National Park El Capitan Bridal Veil Falls sunset rock climb climbing California, USA
El Capitan - Yosemite National Park, California.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

She has also summited Everest, speed-climbed and skied down Cho Oyu on the China–Nepal border and climbed many other high-altitude peaks around the world.

Ballinger, Harrington's boyfriend, wrote on Instagram that when she fell, "the scene was all dread."

"The most important person in my world crumpled on a ledge after a big fall in below freezing temperatures with real injuries and a lot of reasons to suspect spinal injury," he wrote. But Honnold said he kept Harrington calm and conscious until Yosemite Search and Rescue arrived on scene within an hour and a half, and paramedics were able to clear her of "spinal injury despite some gnarly wounds."

Ballinger said Harrington "dealt with the pain, helped where she could, and stayed positive throughout."

"Em and her blood stained earrings and new neck tattoo will be back in the vertical world soon," Ballinger wrote.

Harrington chalked up her "accident" to being a lesson she will learn from.

"I just hope that people can kinda take away a little inspiration in that message in whatever they're struggling with in their lives," she told "Today."

Read Full Story