As a young boy, Adrian Ballinger fell in love with the mountains.  But it was in the mountains where he found his true love, Emily Harrington.

In 2012, Adrian was coming down from his third Mount Everest summit and stopped at Camp 2,  located  21,000 feet on the side of Mount Everest.  While there, he connected over a couple cups of hot coffee with professional sport climber Emily Harrington, who was on an expedition ascending Everest as a member of The North Face team.

After the trip, Emily bought a ticket to go visit Adrian, and they’ve been on the go ever since. You can keep up with Emily and Adrian through their YouTube Channel DangerStikTV, a professionally edited season of episodes following Emily and Adrian through the US, Himalayas, Peru, and beyond.

Adrian Ballinger's Handpresso Coffee Machine

Adrian’s favorite mountaintop coffee maker: HandPresso

In a recent interview with Moja Gear, Adrian and Emily commented on what it’s like being in a relationship, while constantly traveling to remote regions in potentially hazardous conditions. “It’s been really good for me,” Emily stated.

I need time alone. The fact that we have spent time apart has helped us be a lot stronger. If you don’t have a foundation of communication and trust, then your relationship goes to hell when you are apart.

Adrian agreed with the need for a solid foundation and added that “being worried about the risk of one of us having an accident puts real stress on our relationship.”

This fear of an accident unfortunately came true in late November 2019, when Emily took a 40-foot fall on El Cap, as part of a simul-climbing ascent with Alex Honnold.  Fortunately, Emily avoided serious injury and the couple was back on the go a week later.

What’s next for Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger?

In the final episode of DangerStikTV Season 1, Emily and Adrian answered questions from their Instagram audience. The most asked question was “when are you getting married?” followed by “when are you going to have kids?”

While it’s uncomfortable listening to people ask such personal questions, it highlights how many people simply don’t understand what makes Emily and Adrian’s relationship work.

Emily and Adrian experience and see life through a different lens. When asked about what it means to have fun when climbing through bruises, failure, and harsh conditions, Emily responded:

It’s all fun. The struggle is fun. The pain is fun.

When Adrian described how he got into mountaineering he shared that as a boy he wasn’t a great athlete but said:

I was willing to work harder than most other people and suffer harder than most other people for things that I love.

When these two love birds fly the nest for months at a time, it’s both their internal drive and their love for one another that holds them up. Knowing that they will land back together also sets them free.

Questions about their future and having kids attempt to put them in the box of society’s expectations. But these two don’t fit into that box.  And if you’re reading this article, chances are that you don’t either…our place is on the rocks, whether celebrating on the peaks, or enjoying the struggle out of the valleys.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Moja Gear.