Janja Garnbret, the Slovenian climbing prodigy, continued to set records and break boundaries in the climbing world. In the latest news, the 23-year-old crushed an infamous 5.14c/d climb during her trip to Italy, just a few days after winning gold at Arco Rock Masters.
Garnbret couldn’t resist getting on Underground, one of the most well-known routes in the Sarca region in Arco, since she was already there. This route located in the Massone sector is roughly 25 meters of roof climbing and serves as a standard for the 8c+/9a grade. The Slovenian’s talent was amply demonstrated with the incredibly quick repetition that she was capable of completing.
Bolted in 1998 by Manfred Stuffer, Underground is a steep limestone climb that goes through three difficult cruxes, is considered quite hard to read, has to get in weird body positions, and has to tackle hooks, jams, and gastons.
The route, initially graded as a 5.14c, has seen around 30 climbs since its establishment and was later upgraded to a solid 5.14d It’s remained quite a piece of controversy among climbers however.
In 2020, Alex Megos managed to flash Underground and suggested that the route is an “easy 9a” (5.14d), appreciating it as rather an 8c+ (5.14c) and therefore implying a downgrade.
Janja is a long-standing member of the 5.14 climbers club. In 2015, she climbed Miza za šest at Kotečnik in her home country of Slovenia, her first 5.14c.
In 2021, during a trip to Oliana, Spain, Janja also made history by setting the first-ever female onsight of a 5.14b, Fish Eye, which was quickly followed by American Hustle, first ascended by Sam Elias in 2014.
The only other person to have onsighted American Hustle before Janja was Swiss climber, Cedric Lachat, who did it in 2020, making Janja’s ascent of the route another historical first.
Check out a youthful Jakob Schubert sending the route:
Featured image: © Lena Drapella/IFSC