The 2020 Olympics are fast approaching. History will be made next year when Climbing features in the games for the first time, along with the first Gold medals for the sport. We’ve decided to profile some of the top contenders for this once in a lifetime opportunity – first up is the incredible Janja Garnbret of Slovenia.
Janja was born in 1999 and started competing at the age of 14, though has been climbing since seven years of age. Since then she has gone on to almost world domination in the competition climbing scene.
2019 has been her year and it started very well indeed. The 2019 IFSC World Cup debuted in March with a Gold for Janja in Bouldering at Meiringen, followed with Gold in all six Bouldering events. This was the first time a competitor had won every Bouldering event. Straight off the back of this achievement Janja went on to compete in the IFSC World Climbing Championships 2019 held in Hachioji, Japan.
Taking Gold in her first main event – Bouldering – showed how strong Garnbret was. In Lead she again shone through the competition and took the win for her second Gold of the Championships. Then to top that all of she managed her third medal of the event to take the IFSC Combined Climbing World Championships 2019.
Janja set an unprecedented record when she won every single Bouldering World Cup event in 2019. She is also currently ranked 2nd for the Lead category under Chaehyun Seo with three events left for 2019.
Previous to this year, Janja has taken the Gold at the Climbing World Cup in 2016, 2017, and 2018 for the combined category which includes Lead, Speed, and Bouldering. She achieved these last three combined wins by taking Gold in each Lead category as well as strong results in the Bouldering as well.
Until 2018, Janja had never competed in a speed event. As Speed climbing was announced for the 2020 Olympics, the IFSC made a new rule where climbers in the World Cup had to compete in at least two events for all three disciplines (Speed, Lead, and Bouldering) whereas previously they could just stick with two disciplines with only one event minimum for each.
As a result of these new rules and as preparation for the 2020 Olympics, Janja has started training for the Speed event. In World Cup events Garnbret didn’t advance past qualification stages for Speed. The training seems to be working well as her Speed results in the Combined World Championships really helped to secure the 1st place.
In the Studio Bloc Masters 2019 Janja managed to top all four boulders in the finals – the only person in the Women’s category to manage more than two tops. She was 2nd in the 2018 event with the same amount of tops but fewer attempts than long term rival Miho Nonaka. In 2017 again she took 2nd but this time just losing out to Fanny Gibert.
Since a young age Janja Garnbret has shown incredible talent. Early results include Gold in her age range for the Climbing European Championships Youth in 2013, 2014, and 2015 for both Lead and Bouldering. She also took Gold in Lead for 2014, 2015, and 2016 in the Climbing World Championships Youth. In the same Championships she took Gold for Bouldering in 2015 and 2016, leading to an overall Silver for the combined in those years.
Where Janja Started
Starting at around 6 or 7 years old Janja was introduced to climbing indoors after her parents found her climbing trees all the time. Shortly after she was introduced to a more serious climbing gym and started working seriously with the Slovenian team coach Gorazd Hren. More training information below.
Janja Garnbret Outdoor Climbing
While primarily an indoor gym climber Janja has climbed very hard on outside sports routes and does tour Europe occasionally. Her hardest outdoors route was the 9a (5.14d) Seleccio Natural in Santa Linya, Spain at only 18 years old. In the next two weeks at the same crag she then went on to climb another 9a (5.14d) La Fabela pa la Enmienda. She had previously been working the Sharma classic 9a+ (5.15a) Biographie in Céüse only falling at the last hard move.
The hardest onsight sport climb Janja Garnbret has done is the 8c (5.14b) La Fabelita also at Santa Linya.
Janja Garnbret Training – Diet – Nutrition
The Slovenian youth climbing coach is Gorazd Hren. Janja has been training with him for about ten years now in Velenje bouldering gym. OnBouldering has a great video interview we’ve included below. Gorazd Hren has a website for his training here.
Climbing for Garnbret is about 5 days a week on and involves strict rest days. She mainly trains with the Slovenian national coaching team but also does one on one coaching. Because of the better facilities they also travel to Austria and Germany to use larger gyms.
Training always involves a warmup including cardio, stretching, and includes resistance bands. From here she climbs up to three hours in one session. Starting with easier routes to warm up, then moving onto harder routes and then specific training on difficult problems and specific weaknesses.
Depending on the upcoming competition category there will be focus on Bouldering or Lead – though it would be interesting to see how the training for the Combined World Championships was handled. Janja has admitted to never even climbing the Speed route up until two years before the Olympics, just as the decision was made to include the sport.
Janja Garnbret’s diet seems to be a fairly healthy one in that it isn’t strict, ” I don’t follow a special diet, I just try to eat healthy”.
Janja describes herself as being a “good listener, I learn quickly“. Janja is 5′ 5” (164cm) but we don’t know her ape index (fingertip to fingertip measurement minus height).
Janja Garnbret Climbing Shoes and Gear
Janja’s Garnbret’s climbing shoes of choice for both the Championships and Cup in 2019 have been the Five Ten Women’s Hiangle. Interestingly she used these for all three categories – often climbers will change shoes for Speed climbing. These are an aggressively down turned performance shoe perfect for indoors bouldering and roped climbing. The Women’s version of the Hiangle has a smaller heel and slightly slimmer fit in general than the Men’s.
Five Ten Women’s Hiangle USA – $121 Amazon – $131 Backcountry – $150 Moosejaw – $150 REI
Five Ten Women’s Hiangle UK/EU – £97 Amazon – Ellis Brigham £92 – Alpine Trek £100 – Epic TV £106
She used to be sponsored by La Sportiva and has used the Women’s Solutions in the past. These are also a very aggressively down turned shoe favored by pro climbers and boulderers.
La Sportiva Women’s Solutions – $90-180 Amazon – $135 Mountain Gear – $135 Backcountry – $134 REI – $180 Moosejaw –
Janja uses the Camp Flash harness as a light, focused, sport sending harness. For belaying she uses the Camp Matik, which is a premium assisted braking device that works in a similar way to the Petzl Gri Gri.
Sponsorships include Red Bull, Five Ten (who are now part of Adidas and the Terrex hiking/walking sub brand), and Camp.
The IFSC World Cup is still ongoing for Lead, Speed, and Combined. In her home country of Slovenia at the end of September there will be another Lead event in Kranj. There is also Lead and the final Speed event to come in Xiamen, China in mid October. This will be followed by the last event of the season with only the Lead category in Inzai, Japan where the combined scores will come together.
Janja’s Lead results so far include 1st in Switzerland, a season low 9th in Chamonix, followed by a good 2nd place in Briancon. While she is currently ranked 2nd just under Chaehyun Seo it’s likely she’ll continue to place well. Odds are on that she’ll finish in the top 3, though if she can edge past her opponents to first it could make her fourth Gold in a row for Lead – and possibly a fourth Gold in row for Combined in the World Cup.
Of course the 2020 Olympics are the event that Janja will be looking to. Becoming the first Gold medalist in Climbing will be a historic win and cement her place in the future of Climbing as it evolves.
Her home town is Šmartno pri Slovenj Gradcu in Slovenia. Janja is in a long term relationship with fellow Slovenian Climbing team mate Domen Škofic who was the 2016 Lead World Cup Champion and placed 10th in Lead in the IFSC World Championships. Janja’s boyfriend is also sponsored by Red Bull, Five Ten, and Adidas.
In 2018 Garnbret was awarded the “Slovenian Sportswoman of the Year” award. She was award Athlete of the Month by the World Games Association at 19 years old in September 2018. In 2017 she won the Bloudek Award, a Slovenian national sporting award named after Stanko Bloudek.
More Janja Garnbret Articles
You can head over to the Janja Garnbret articles list or read some of the most popular below.
Janja Garnbret IFSC Combined Climbing World Championships 2019 Winner
Janja Garnbret wins Lead Climbing World Championships
Janja Garnbret wins Gold in IFSC Climbing World Championships Bouldering
Janja Takes Gold in Wujiang
Gold in Russia and Switzerland
First Place for Janja Garnbret in IFSC World Cup 2019