janja garnbret
Lowering off "American Hustle"; (photo/Toni Mas Buchaca)

Janja Garnbret Snags First Women’s 8c/5.14b On-Sight, Building Her Legend

With 31 IFSC Climbing World Cup gold medals and Olympic gold, the Slovenian is arguably the most successful competition climber ever. Janja Garnbret can climb real rock, too — on-sight, harder than any other woman in the world.

In case you didn’t know, Janja Garnbret is really good at rock climbing. The first women’s sport climbing Olympic gold medalist, she started winning IFSC championships when she was 16. Now, at 22, she has topped the world’s hardest female on-sight.

 

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“Fish Eye” (8c/5.14b) in Oliana, Spain, is a 50m pumpfest. Garnbret styled the route in early November and set the first new women’s on-sight benchmark since 2006. Josune Bereziartu was the first woman to on-sight 8b+/5.14a; others followed her lead, including Sasha DiGiulian in 2011 and Laura Rogora in 2020.

If that wasn’t good enough, Garnbret promptly turned the trick again the very next day. “American Hustle,” just down the cliff at Oliana, became the world’s second 8c/5.14b female on-sight.

janja garnbret

Oliana is one of the planet’s most famous sport climbing destinations. Its crown jewel, Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra’s “La Dura Dura,” was the world’s second 9b+/5.15c.

Janja Garnbret: Superlative on Plastic and Rock

Nobody considers Garnbret a gym climber, at least not pejoratively so — before “Fish Eye,” she’d on-sighted up to 8b/5.13d and redpointed 9a/5.14c twice.

Those two routes, “Seleccio Natural” and “La Fabela pa la Enmienda,” went down just a few days apart in Santa Linya, Spain, in 2017. Then, she turned her attention to comp climbing. Historic results followed: Garnbret became the first athlete to sweep an IFSC Bouldering World Cup season, winning all six events in 2019.

garnbret climbing
Garnbret at the 2017 IFSC Climbing World Cup in Munich, Germany; (photo/Henning Schlottmann)

What’s next for Janja Garnbret? Reading between the lines of her “Fish Eye” announcement on Instagram, we’re guessing more of the same — she casually called it her “first 8c on-sight.”

Also, keep an eye on Garnbret at the 2022 IFSC World Cup, which kicks off in Moscow on April 1 with bouldering and speed comps. No doubt, the world’s new best female on-sight climber will be hunting more hardware.

Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.