Jakob Schubert: One of the World’s Best Climbers

He sent both 5.15d and V17 in 2023, plus he qualified for the 2024 Olympics!
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When you’re considering the best climbers in the world, Jakob Schubert cannot be missed.

This 33 year old professional climber from Austria has one of the most impressive climbing resumes ever seen. Schubert focuses on both lead climbing and bouldering, and is accomplished both in competitions and in outdoor rock climbing.

In this article we dig into what makes Jakob’s career so impressive and why his 2023 was considered one of the best ever in climbing history!

Schubert’s Early Climbing Life

young jakob schubert
© Wikimedia Commons

Jakob Schubert started climbing over twenty years ago, at the age of 12. He visited the local gym, and quickly became hooked. Schubert entered his first youth series competition after just a year of climbing, and went on to compete in many more competitions, including world cup events, over the next five years.

During those first five years of competitions, Schubert placed first in the youth circuit fifteen times, an impressive accomplishment for someone so new to climbing. Schubert continued to participate in many competitions over the next few years, and won the climbing world cup multiple times.

In fact, he’s one of the most decorated competition climbers of all time: he’s a six time World Champion, having won the World Championships four different years, two of which he won both lead and combined. He also has the most IFSC gold medals of any male competition climber in all of climbing history!

Recent Years

tokyo 2020 olympic park

As Schubert’s career has progressed, he has accomplished even more impressive things!

2021 Olympics

Jakob Schubert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, and took home the bronze medal in the Combined Sport Climbing event. Despite this plethora of indoor achievements, Schubert has also spent lots of time climbing outdoors.

Outdoor Ascents Over the Years

In 2014, Schubert climbed his first 9b/5.15b when he sent Fight or Flight, an impressive sport line in Oliana, Spain. He clipped the chains on his 24th birthday, after twenty attempts on the route.

Jakob continued to progress through the outdoor sport grades: in 2019, he sent Perfecto Mundo, a 9b+/5.15c climb in Margalef, Spain. Schubert claimed the line’s third ascent with his send; the line had previously been climbed by Alexander Megos and Stefano Ghisolfi. All in all, Schubert has climbed dozens of 5.15s, which is not something many climbers can say.

Schubert is not just a sport climber. Over the years, he’s sent many hard boulders, including three flashes of V14 problems!


Schubert has downgraded several routes over the course of his career: in 2021, he sent two 5.15s and downgraded both of them. La Capella and King Capella are both sport lines in Siurana, Spain. Will Bosi had graded King Capella 5.15c, but Schubert felt it deserved 5.15b. He also thought that La Capella was a solid 5.15a, down from 5.15b.

Training and Mindset

Rock climbing has always been something that brings Schubert joy. As he’s made impressive ascents over the years and achieved everything from winning the world championships to finding success in outdoor bouldering, he’s remained highly motivated.

He trains five days a week, and focuses on his mindset as much as his fitness. Jakob is a highly ambitious person, and enjoys the analytical aspect of the sport. He is always curious, whether that means trying new beta or learning from other climbers like Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra.

Other Interests

In between becoming a world cup winner and managing to snag impressive sends, Schubert finds time to develop other hobbies and interests too. He likes playing chess, a hobby where he feels like his analytical mindset also comes in handy.

Jakob is also passionate about yummy Japanese food, and likes to spend time gaming online with friends, as well as hanging out with his family and partner.

2023: What a Year!

jakob schubert celebrating
© Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

Jakob Schubert has been an impressive athlete for many years, but 2023 was on a whole new level. To say Schubert had an incredible year is simple an understatement. He had what might be the most impressive year in climbing history!

World Champion

In 2023, Jakob Schubert became a double world champion, winning both the lead and combined disciplines. This impressive performance secured his spot at the Paris Olympics, which he will compete in this summer.

Ascent of B.I.G.

jakob schubert on project big in flatanger

After getting his ticket to Paris, Schubert shifted his focus to outdoor rock climbs. In September of 2023, Schubert made the first ascent of the route B.I.G. in Flatanger, Norway. Schubert gave the line a grade of 9c/5.15d, making it the third climb in the world to receive this grade. The climb has yet to see a second ascent.

Schubert first tried the line in 2022 with Adam Ondra – it was Ondra who first found and bolted the line. The pair of climbers worked the route for several weeks, and initially thought it might go relatively quickly. However, neither of them sent that year.

When Schubert returned in 2023, he realized that the line might be more difficult than he’d thought the previous fall. He got through the crux multiple times but went on to fall higher up. Previously, Schubert had thought that once he stuck the crux, he could get to the top. In the end, it took Schubert around two months of projecting to send the line, and no one has sent it since.

About the Route

One of the hardest routes in the world, B.I.G. is. striking line in a beautiful cave in Flatanger. The line is somewhere between 50-60 meters in length with around 120 moves total. It begins with an easier section that traverses a bit, and then an 8c/5.14b section up to a kneebar rest.

After a couple rests, there’s 15 meters of very powerful climbing with a crux move at the very end. Schubert said that this section felt like hard 9b/5.15b. After this crux section, there’s a final 8a+/13c section, which Schubert called sort of a “victory lap”.

On a recent podcast interview, Jakob noted how inspiring ands fun the line is– everything is natural, and the moves are beautiful. It’s a full-body route, requiring the use of your legs in addition to arms.

Logistics of B.I.G.

The logistics of such a long and overhung climb can be challenging! Schubert would climb the first traverse section with two ropes, and then untie one at a rest. This was done to reduce rope drag on the upper part of the climb.

The route is so long that in order to make it back to the ground, Jakob had to unclip the chains after finishing and take a large whip! It’s also such a strenuous line that Schubert could only try it once per day.

On the send go, Schubert actually broke a hold in the easier top section. He was hanging on to a hold with one hand when part of it broke off. Amazingly, he was able to hang on with two fingers! Schubert shared his send go on a livestream video so that people around the world could share in his success.

The Complicated Grade of 9c

After careful consideration, Schubert gave the route a grade of 9c/5.15d. He noted that it felt much harder than Perfecto Mundo did, and took over twice as long. Schubert feels like he was in excellent shape for the climb, so he felt confident that it really was a full grade harder than Perfecto Mundo.

Schubert said that he consulted with Adam Ondra on the grade– even though Ondra has not yet sent the route, he has spent a lot of time projecting it. Grades above 9b/5.15b are very new to the entire climbing community, and there’s simply not a lot to base decisions on. However, Schubert feels confident in his grade proposal.

Sending V17

jakob schubert on alphane
© Michael Piccolruaz

For Jakob Schubert, the season did not end in the fall. After sending 5.15d, the climber did not take a break! In December of 2023, he finished off the year with a bang by sending his first V17 with a repeat of the boulder Alphane.

Alphane is a V17 boulder problem in Switzerland. Shawn Rabatou made the first ascent in 2022, and the boulder then saw a repeat by Aidan Roberts in 2023. Will Bosi made the third ascent, and the fourth ascent was made by Simon Lorenzi. Alphane is one of only four V17s in the world.

How He Did It

Schubert’s 2023 year made him the first climber to send both V17 and 5.15d! How did he accomplish all this in one year, in addition to qualifying for the Olympics?

Part of it, Schubert says, was good luck: he felt like the year just went well. Qualifying for the Olympics so early in the year allowed him to focus on outdoor projects for the rest of the year. The fact that he spent so much time working on B.I.G. in 2022 also set him up well to snag the first ascent in 2023. He also got lucky with the conditions, and had many good weather days when he was trying B.I.G..

However, his accomplishments are undoubtedly primarily due to his impressive drive and motivation.

Failures and Struggles

Although 2023 was an extremely impressive year for Jakob Schubert, he didn’t send everything he tried. Schubert also tried Sleepwalker, another V17 boulder, but was unable to send the problem.

In a recent interview, he noted that he struggled with mindset on the boulder, as well as with skin management and conditions. Although he put up a good fight, he will have to return to the boulder on another trip.


Jakob Schubert is undoubtedly one of the world’s most capable rock climbers. From world cups to V17s, he has progressed though his career with steady improvement.

Schubert’s 2023 was a year on a whole new level. Sending both 9c/5.15d and V17 definitely elevated Jakob’s climbing career to a pinnacle, and it will be exciting to watch his performance at the 2024 Tokyo Olympics.

It’s only a matter of time before the climber has another impressive season!


  1. Perfecto Mundo
  2. Jakob Schubert
  3. Third 5.15d
  4. Official website
  5. The Nugget

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