In October 2020, Janja Garnbret and Domen Škofic turned the primary individuals to free climb the chimney’s new route which is now the tallest synthetic multi-pitch route on this planet.
The pair, who had only a rope to catch them in the event that they fell, have been profitable on their second try after over seven hours of climbing.
Each climbers are world-class in their very own proper.
Škofic, 26, was a climbing prodigy and gained the Lead Climbing World Cup title in 2016; Garnbret is sort of merely some of the gifted sport climbers on the planet.
The 21-year-old has gained a number of world championships and World Cup titles and is among the favorites to win gold when climbing ultimately makes its debut on the Tokyo Olympics.
Regardless of their expertize, the problem was nonetheless means out of their consolation zone, with each extra accustomed to indoor climbing the place the wall is often not more than 30 meters excessive.
This route, nonetheless, contained 13 pitches (or sections) and concerned rope methods which can be very completely different from what they’re usually used to.
The chimney itself was in-built 1976 and used to emit emissions out of the valley the place it is located. It has been nonoperational since 2014.
‘Not in my consolation zone’
However the brand new route, particularly designed over the course of 5 years, offered an actual endurance check for the 2 climbers.
“It actually helps as a result of I am an individual who’s at all times on the lookout for a problem, who at all times needs to do one thing new, to do one thing higher.
“So that is undoubtedly a cool mission and it was not in my consolation zone. I needed to step out and simply get pleasure from the entire course of.”
Their first try took almost 12 hours and each climbers fell on a lot of pitches. Carrying heavy backpacks left them bodily exhausted and so they realized they hadn’t introduced enough meals and drinks to maintain them.
Undeterred, the pair regrouped and went once more 4 days later, efficiently scaling the chimney in seven hours and 32 minutes.
Reaching the highest after such a grueling climb is a sense that neither will neglect in a rush.
“After I assume again now, I keep in mind how uncomfortable it felt, the way it was sizzling, it was chilly, it was windy, it was every little thing,” Garnbret added.
“I additionally mentioned one time that I by no means wish to go once more, that this was my final attempt to I by no means wish to go once more. But it surely was an excellent superb expertise and yeah, I used to be actually comfortable once I got here on the highest.”
‘I used to be extra scared wanting up’
Though heights include the territory for climbers, neither had ever skilled such a vertical earlier than.
Škofic nonetheless remembers the stomach-churning feeling of standing on the foot of the chimney, wanting up as the highest disappeared into the clouds.
“I used to be extra scared wanting up, watching the chimney. I imply, I had enormous respect,” he mentioned.
“However once I was on the wall, I form of fell into the climbing a lot that I principally forgot in regards to the heights.”
Along with being an exhausting bodily problem, each agreed that it examined their psychological capability simply as a lot.
Their very security was depending on sustaining focus for hours on finish and each mistake counts whenever you’re dangling on a climb like this.
Garnbret, who was additionally comfy with the dizzying heights, initially struggled with the strategy of falling off such a floor.
Indoor partitions are inclined to have a slight overhang which prevents climbers from smashing into the wall after they fall off however the chimney did not present such luxurious.
“The chimney had the identical angle for 300 and sixty meters. It was virtually vertical,” she mentioned.
“So whenever you fell, you fell laborious into the wall. So it is one thing completely different […] I needed to get used to the falling to only hold this out of my thoughts. Prefer to not be scared to fall.”
After reflecting on the achievement, neither has dominated out tackling the same problem sooner or later.
Till then, each are enthusiastic about the potential of climbing competitions returning after the pandemic and Garnbret has her eyes firmly targeted on the Olympics.