A Slovenian pushing the boundaries of sport climbing

Easy going and modest on the surface but, at heart, a determined and focused perfectionist who knows exactly what she wants – to climb. At the age of 22, she is already a legend. The greatest of all time – the G.O.A.T. She has already won everything there is to win in sport climbing, namely three world champion titles at a single world championship, and the first Olympic gold medal in the history of this sport. One success after another in rock climbing too – her most demanding climb so far has been the 9a route, La Fabela pa la Enmienda at Santa Linya. As the world's first-ever female climber she onsighted two 8c routes at Oliana. And yet, all she wants is to climb some more. To climb and have fun. Be it on artificial climbing walls or challenging rock formations. That is Janja Garnbret. And this is her story. 

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Photo: NODUM Sports, Tobias Haller

Janja’s collection of medals and awards 

Despite her young age, Garnbret has outdone them all to become the best-ever sport climber. Her trophy cabinet is bursting with medals, trophies and awards. These are her greatest achievements. 

 

Olympic Games 

Gold medal, Tokyo 
2021

 

World Championships 

2 x World Champion, Lead
2019, 2016

2 x World Champion, Boulder
2019, 2018

2 x World Champion, Combined
2019, 2018

 

World Cups 

10 x Overall World Cups  

37 x World Cups

European Championships 

European Champion, Lead
2022

European Champion, Boulder
2022

European Champion, Combined
2022

Other achievements 

Athlete of the Year

2021, 2019, 2018 

Bloudek Award, the most prestigious Slovenian award in sport

2018

I try not to worry about being successful, I try to focus on having fun.

Janja Garnbret  

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Photo: NODUM Sports, Tobias Haller

From conquering pieces of furniture to Olympic champion 

Janja was a good child who was brimming with energy and who simply loved to climb. Climb everywhere. Climb trees or climb on furniture in her home.  Until one day her parents, Darja and Vili, enrolled their daughter in a climbing course. When Janja first climbed on the artificial wall, it was love at first sight. In her debut competition she was second to last, but very soon she ended close to the top and then at the very top. At the age of 14, she made the Slovenian Junior Team, crowning her first season with the title of the European Youth Champion. But that was not her only title in that year. To her European Youth Champion title in difficulty climbing, she added a gold medal at the bouldering European Youth Championship.  That is Janja, unstoppable when it comes to winning. Already next year, she won the World Youth Championship

When I compete, I try to be fast, focused and dynamic, to move the energy from move to move. That’s just my style.

Janja Garnbret  

Since 2016, when she first competed in the sport climbing world cup, her career has been on a steep upward trajectory. That year saw her win the World Championship in lead and the Overall World Cup in lead and combined. She has more than 30 World Cup wins and 6 World Champion titles. Her crowning year was 2019 when she clean swept the season in bouldering as the first ever to win all the world cup competitions in boulder. But she did not stop there. The climbing World Championship in Hachioji, Japan, was a complete success for Janja, as she conquered the titles in all three categories (lead, boulder and 3x3 format) – something no other female climber had accomplished before. An excellent starting point for the Olympic Games in Tokyo where sport climbing was first included in the Olympic programme. 

For the 2020 Olympic season, Janja had a new coach, Roman Krajnik from Škofja Loka in Slovenia, who replaced her first coach Gorazd Hren

Janja started her preparation for Tokyo where sport climbing was first introduced as an Olympic discipline. The true significance of this milestone for the history of sport climbing has also been shown in the feature film The WallClimb for Gold directed by Nick Hardie, which follows four elite female climbers in their preparations for the Olympics. Janja is one of the protagonists. 

The fact that the Olympiad in Tokyo was postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic did not thwart the plans of the accomplished climber from Slovenia to once again climb to the top. On 6 August 2021 Janja Garnbret won the first Olympic gold medal in the history of sport climbing

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Janja, a Slovenian champion at the Tokyo Olympic Games 

Slovenian athletes returned from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo with five medals. Three of them were gold medalists: Janja Garnbret, Primož Roglič in cycling and Benjamin Savšek in canoe slalom. Judoka Tina Trstenjak and cyclist Tadej Pogačar added silver and bronze medals to this collection. 

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After winning medals at the world championships and the Olympic Games, the only thing that Janja had missing from her trophy case was European accolades. She ascended to the European Olympus at the 2022 European Climbing Championships in Munich, where she made history as a triple European champion in the lead, bouldering and combined disciplines at a single competition.

Janja’s personal life 

She was born on St Gregory’s Day, 12 March 1999, and comes from Šmartno pri Slovenj Gradcu in the Slovenian region of Koroška. As a child she wanted to be a librarian but, very early on, she discovered that her heart was in sport or more precisely climbing. Talent and hard work got her to the very top, to the point of really enjoying what she excels at. Her love of climbing also meant that, having completed secondary school in Velenje, she put all her energy into sport. 

Her role models were Maja Vidmar (married Štremfelj) and Mina Markovič, two outstanding Slovenian female climbers of the time.  She watched all their videos, wanting to be just like them and dreaming of matching their results. Janja’s dreams have come true and she has even surpassed her idols, becoming a role model herself. 

When they come to me with those big eyes, when they look at me with their bright shiny eyes, then I say to myself, that’s what I am working for.

Janja Garnbret about girls, young female climbers who look up to her

Janja welcomes any climbing challenge. With her former partner Domen Škofič, who is also one of the best Slovenian climbers, Janja did a spectacular climb up the Europe’s highest chimney in the Slovenian town of Trbovlje during the 2020 “corona” season. Measuring 360 m in height, they ascended the highest artificial multi-pitch route in the world. 

 

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Photo: Red Bull Content Pool, Jakob Schweighofer

 

Janja is fully committed to climbing. Some describe her style as real art, a harmony of thought, strength and flow, which makes her feel weightless. When she is not climbing she practices yoga to maintain focus. She likes all things fast, including formula one race cars. 

Janja and Ana – the combined power of two exceptional women

What happens when two exceptional Slovenian women, Janja Garnbret and Ana Roš, combine their impressive energies? We get a pleasant and entertaining meeting, an exchange of experience and common views and, above all, a new friendship. See how the outstanding Slovenian climber fared at her visit to the world-famous chef.

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Ambassador of Slovenian Tourism 

Janja Garnbret is an ambassador of Slovenian tourism. She is proud of her green country, especially its sustainable development.  In light of this, she is pleased to promote Slovenia by increasing its visibility through her unparalleled achievements in sport. 

I like the way tourism has evolved in Slovenia, especially with sustainability as a central pillar. It feels like this is a true value of the destination's DNA and not just an ambition for a green tag.

Janja Garnbret on Slovenian tourism and its sustainability

Take a tour through our green story

Watch the interactive video and get to know some of the most interesting facts and green stories that reveal the sustainable path of Slovenia.

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Take a tour through our green story

Take a tour through our green story

Watch the interactive video and get to know some of the most interesting facts and green stories that reveal the sustainable path of Slovenia.

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The Koroška region – a popular tourist destination and the home of Janja Garnbret

The region is a paradise for sporty visitors, as it is a treasure chest of surprises that inspires with its pristine landscape rich in forests.   Visitors can, for example, explore by bike or kayak the underground world of Mount Peca in the former mine at Mežica, which is part of the UNESCO Karavanke Geopark. Slovenj Gradec is a pleasant historic town where you can start your trip to the green Pohorje mountains. 

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Conquer your peaks of active adventure 

There are many routes in Slovenia which will take you to the top. The rugged landscape is ideal for hiking, mountaineering or climbing. It appeals to both adrenaline-seeking visitors and families enjoying the natural beauty.  

Slovenia is a hiker's paradise

Hiking trails criss-cross Slovenia, and you would be hard pressed to find a place where your hiking boots would not come in handy. Slovenia has more than 10,000 kilometres of maintained and marked trails, which is a good reason why you should explore this green country on foot. See for yourself what makes hiking Slovenia's most popular activity.

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Slovenia is a hiker's paradise

Slovenia is a hiker's paradise

Hiking trails criss-cross Slovenia, and you would be hard pressed to find a place where your hiking boots would not come in handy. Slovenia has more than 10,000 kilometres of maintained and marked trails, which is a good reason why you should explore this green country on foot. See for yourself what makes hiking Slovenia's most popular activity.

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Via ferratas – protected climbing routes

Via ferratas – protected climbing routes

Ferratas or protected climbing routes suitable for nearly everyone are becoming increasingly popular in Slovenia as well. All you need is the right climbing gear (a helmet and a self-belay set, including a harness), which you can also rent. Or you may prefer to be accompanied on your ascent by a mountain guide.

Visit Slovenia for unforgettable climbing experiences

Visit Slovenia for unforgettable climbing experiences

Slovenians love to take on even the most demanding challenges, which is why they are a leading nation of Alpine climbers in the world. Slovenian mountains are not only interesting mountaineering destinations but, with their rock walls, also attractive to sport climbers.

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An explosion of adrenaline-filled fun

An explosion of adrenaline-filled fun

If you are an adrenaline lover, you can enjoy a wide range of adrenaline-filled experiences in Slovenia. You will find plenty of adventures to get your blood pumping, such as going down river rapids, enjoying bird's-eye views of the landscape, riding single tracks through trees and much more. More

Pohorje – the nearby world of active adventures

Pohorje – the nearby world of active adventures

Enjoy a walk, a hike or a bicycle ride in the Pohorje forests or peat bogs, and, in winter, the ski slopes of Pohorje. To boost your energy, you should taste some local dishes to explore the natural and cultural highlights of the Eastern Alps.

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Top climbing centres in Slovenia 

Slovenia has had a number of top sport climbers who have honed their skills on artificial walls all over Slovenia. Furthermore, many school gyms have climbing walls, and some climbing centres are open to the public. Visit some of the biggest centres. 

Slovenia, a country of active people and adventures 

As sport is in our genes, it is not surprising that Slovenia dedicated a special day to sport – the Day of Slovenian Sport. Its diverse landscapes and good sports facilities provide many opportunities for active leisure time. Want to visit Slovenia? 

Reasons for Slovenian sporting success at the international level

We present some reasons why Slovenia is successful in the field of sports.

Reasons for Slovenian sporting success at the international level

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Ferratas and climbing sites in Slovenia

Find climbing challenges and delight in the views on via ferratas, and in Slovenia’s many natural and artificial climbing areas.

Ferratas and climbing sites in Slovenia

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Hiking

Slovenia is a hiking paradise. More than 10,000 kilometres of marked hiking trails.

Hiking

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Long-distance trails

Long-distance trails run across mountain peaks, through valleys, all the way to the sea.

Long-distance trails

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Fly like a bird with the help of ziplines

Ready, set, go – slide down the most daring ziplines in Slovenia.

Fly like a bird with the help of ziplines

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Let the adventure begin!

Find adrenaline fun in adventure parks.

Let the adventure begin!

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Active holidays

Discover the world of active outdoor adventures in Slovenia.

Active holidays

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Slovenia is a country of world-class athletes

Experience the active Slovenia and get to know its sporting heart.

Slovenia is a country of world-class athletes

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Stories from Slovenia

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