Janja Garnbret is the First Woman to Onsight 8c (5.14b) — Twice

If there were any doubt that Janja Garnbret’s gym-climbing literacy would translate outside, that doubt is gone. On November 1, the 22-year-old Slovenian became the first woman in the world to onsight 8c (5.14b). But wait, there’s more! Garnbret also onsighted her second 8c just two days later.

No woman before her has onsighted a sport route beyond 8b+ (5.14a), and only a handful of climbing’s most elite men have onsighted 8c or above.

Janja Garnbret double-onsights 8c (5.14b)

Garnbret’s historic first-go ascents took place at the Oliana cliff in Catalonia, Spain. First, with Fish Eye, a classic 50m pumpfest established and freed by Chris Sharma in 2009. Then, with American Hustle, a 45m line that Sam Elias freed in 2014.

Pierre Delas of Fanatic Climbing gave an eyewitness report of Garnbret’s go on Fish Eye: “Since the route is endurance-based, its grade has never been put in doubt by its many repeaters and ‘Fish Eye’… seems to us to be a benchmark in that difficulty.”

Janja as a historic climbing figure

Crushing the 8c-onsight threshold is just the latest historic achievement in Garnbret’s short, multifaceted climbing career. The Slovenian is best known as climbing’s first female Olympic gold medalist, a stake she claimed in August.

Prior to Tokyo, Garnbret boasted a near-flawless record on the international climbing circuit. There she became the first climber — female or male — to clinch 30 IFSC World Cup event wins and six championship titles.