Janja Garnbret (Slovenia) competes in the women's Boulder final on April 9, 2022; (photo/Jan Virt via IFSC)

Olympic Gold Medalist Janja Garnbret Announces Break From Competition Climbing

After her latest win, Janja Garnbret, Olympic gold medalist and 32-time International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Champion, announced her withdrawal from all competitions. Here’s what we know.

At 23, Janja Garnbret is still in her physical prime — or, maybe, not even there yet. If anything, Garnbret is only getting better at climbing. The world’s most successful competition climber ever, her hardware case is loaded with IFSC accolades and the sport’s first Olympic women’s gold medal.

She’s not bad on real rock, either. Last year, she punched out the hardest ever onsight by a female in Oliana, Spain — “Fish Eye,” 8c/5.14b. Then, 2 days later, she matched the benchmark by onsighting “American Hustle” (same grade) right next door.

What hasn’t the 23-year-old done? She’s never taken time off, for one. This season, though, the Slovenian plans to check that box.

janja garnbret
(Photo/Jan Virt via IFSC)

Janja Garnbret Almost Flashes Entire Comp, Then Steps Back

Garnbret summarily won the first event of the 2022 IFSC Boulder World Cup season on April 9 in Meiringen, Switzerland.

She flashed three of the four boulder problems on her way to the win. Her only non-flash resulted from a false start technicality. On her next attempt, she topped the problem — which nobody else in the competition managed to finish.

She stood on the podium alongside 2021 IFSC World Cup overall women’s champion Natalia Grossman (silver) and Switzerland’s own Andrea Kümin (third). After the dust settled, she undoubtedly surprised some in attendance by announcing her withdrawal from the season.

“Today’s win was a privilege,” she began. “It means a lot to me because it’s not obvious that you will win every competition — each competition is a story in itself. I’ve decided to skip the [rest of the] Boulder season this year.

“The Olympics last year was a pretty hard take on physical and mental preparation, so I feel that I need a little time off from comps, and this year is the perfect year to do that,” she added.

garnbret ifsc bouldering
(Photo/Jan Virt via IFSC)

Garnbret’s Plans: Hardest Female Redpoint

So, in the absence of dominating competitions, what will the world’s most dominant competition climber do all year?

Garnbret, understandably, hasn’t published her personal itinerary for public purview. In the short term, we’d look for her on just about any hard-person sport route that’s sheltered from the oncoming heat. As of this writing, she wasn’t available for comment.

Anyone who wants to dig up what inside information there is and speculate from there should refer to the Enormocast, where Garnbret just appeared.

In episode 239, she covers topics from the psychological withdrawal she experienced after the Olympics to working past her lifelong habit of perfectionism. And — she talks about tentative climbing projects.

Although she doesn’t name any in the episode, a recent post to her Instagram account revealed that she’s currently working on Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma’s mega-project “La Dura Dura,” 9b+/5.15c.

 

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She’ll make history if she tops out the 50m monster; Laura Rogora currently owns the hardest female redpoint at 5.15b/c.

Janja Garnbret: Once an Olympian, Always an Olympian

Don’t count Garnbret out of the competition scene altogether. Like any world-class athlete stepping down from the stage, she signed off in Meiringen with a flourish.

In this case, you could call it a proper cliffhanger.

Janja Garnbret (SLO) competes in the women's Boulder final April 9 2022 (photo Jan Virt IFSC)
(Photo/Jan Virt via IFSC)

“I already have [the 2024 Olympic Games in] Paris in mind!” Garnbret said from the podium.

See you out there, Janja Garnbret!

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Sam Anderson
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Sam Anderson is a staff writer at GearJunkie, and several other All Gear websites.

He has been writing about climbing, cycling, running, wildlife, outdoor policy, the outdoor industry, vehicles, and more for 2 years. Prior to GearJunkie, he owned and operated his own business before freelancing at GearHungry. Based in Austin, Texas, Anderson loves to climb, boulder, road bike, trail run, and frequent local watering holes (of both varieties).