DOB: 12 March 1999
HARDEST ASCENT: Selecció natural (9a)
Since her debut on the competitive climbing circuit in 2013, Janja has become recognized as the most decorated competitive climber in sporting history, showing dominance in both the disciplines of lead and bouldering, being a 4 x World Champion, 9 x World Cup overall season winner and the first-ever female Olympic Climbing champion.
Image by Simon Legner
Table of Contents
The Garnbret Bio
Learning the Ropes
Ever since she could walk, Garnbret has shown a natural desire for climbing and competing. What first started as climbing door frames, cabinets and trees, quickly developed into sport climbing after her parents encouraged her to join the local climbing gym at age 7, whilst Garnbret was still in elementary school.
With a natural competitive spirit, the young child wanted to be the best at everything. “I wanted to be the best in school. I had to have the best grades. Then I wanted to be the best in the school athletic competitions, in track and field. I just wanted to be the best” Garnbret stated in an interview with Red Bull.
After joining her local gym, it didn’t take long for Janja’s natural climbing ability to shine through, and by the end of elementary school, had become a prominent member of the Slovenian Youth National Team.
From then, the accolades started to pile up thick and fast. In 2014, after just one season as a member of the national team, Janja claimed her first international title after winning European Youth B Champion in Lead, an accomplishment she would also repeat again in 2015 and 2016.
Garnbret made her IFSC World Cup Debut in July 2015, just four months after turning 16, the minimum age required to compete in the senior category. Her World Cup debut got off to a strong start, finishing in second place behind her fellow countryman Mina Markovič in her debut competition. Despite numerous podium-worthy performances Garnbret would have to wait until July 2016, and six World Cup events later, before she finally secured the elusive 1st place finish in Chamonix.
That 2016 season was a particularly impressive year for Garnbret, marking the start of her dominant reign as queen of the competitions. In 2016 alone, she won the overall World Cup in lead and combined, the World Championship in Lead, as well as the Youth World Championship in Lead and Bouldering.
Since then, Janja has gone on to dominate the female competition scene in every discipline, with the exception of speed climbing. In the five lead seasons between 2016-2021, she was the overall season winner in 4. She has won the combined title every year since her senior debut and has been the overall boulder world Cup winner once. 2019 was perhaps Janja’s most impressive season to date, taking a clean sweep at every Bouldering World Cup, winning all 6 bouldering events and topping 74 of the total 78 problems.
Garnbret is known for her achievements in the competition circuits and spends most of her time climbing on plastic. That said, she has also shown herself a capable outdoor climber, most of which is done during the winter break from competition climbing.
Garnbret started bagging hard ascents in 2015, around the same time her competitive career was beginning to take off. A trip to Pandora, Croatia in March saw her onsight her first 8b Avatar, as well as her first 8c redpoint of Scrat. That same year she would also go on to claim her first 8c+, Miza za šest, in her home country of Slovenia.
To date, Garnbrets hardest ascent came in Jan 2018 after she clipped the chains, of La Fabela pa la Enmienda a 9a line in Santa Linya, Spain. A week later, on the same trip, she claimed her second 9a with an ascent of Selecció Natural.
Her most unusual project came in the form of the Red Bull feature film ‘360 Ascent’, which Janja stated was the “coolest” climb that has attempted. This saw her fellow Solivan competition climber, Domen Škofic, climb Europe’s tallest chimney, on a route specially constructed for the duo. The route was, as the name suggests 360 meters, 13 pitches with a grade of 8B+ with the climbing progressively becoming more difficult higher up. This was a project Domen had spent 6 years trying to get approved and was also the first multi-pitch experience for Garnbret.
Off the back of her Olympic win in the summer of 2021, Garnbret has dedicated some more time to ascents of harder routes. In November 2021 she onsighted, not one, but two (Fish Eye and American Hustle) sport routes with a confirmed grade of 8c, making the first woman to onsight climb a route of this grade.
See Janja in action.