Jaw-dropping footage shows 21-year-old climb the highest chimney in Europe

Emerald Pellot
·2 min read

Slovenian climbers Janja Garnbret, 21, and Domen Škofic, 26, reached the top of the 1,180-foot cement chimney — a feat that took the duo 12 hours to complete.

The smokestack is part of a decommissioned power plant in Trbovlje and was converted into a multi-pitch climb by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC). Garnbret and Škofic were the first to make the ascent.

Plastic holds — similar to the kind you’d seen on a rock-climbing wall but a lot more difficult — were bolted into the structure. Despite being competitive climbers, Garnbret and Škofic had very little multi-pitch experience.

“I was a bit scared before the start,” Garnbret told Climbing. “I was afraid of falling, which can get really nasty in case of a vertical wall compared to an overhanging wall where you hang in the air. Here you can quickly hit a wall or a hold before the rope stops you.”

Red Bull released footage that showed Garnbret and Škofic conquer any reservations they may have had. The two meticulously worked their way up the massive chimney. Sometimes they would have to leap to reach awkwardly shaped or larger holds.

“The chimney is completely different from anything I’ve climbed so far,” Škofic told Climbing. “It is a giant, artificial object, which I found rather mystical. I felt discomfort, strong fear of the unknown but I quickly made friends with the chimney, as the route was really beautiful and challenging. Once I started focusing on climbing, all other thoughts were gone and I was just enjoying it.”

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