Garnbret and Škofic to climb the tallest chimney in Europe with 360 meters

Slovenian world-class climbers, Janja Garnbret and Domen Škofic, took the climb of their lives and tackled the longest artificial multi-pitch route in the world on the highest chimney in Europe (360m).

The tower at Trbovlje Power Station used to billow smoke out of its neighbouring chimney from its summit 360 metres into the sky. Now no longer operational, two of the world’s leading climbers Janja Garnbret and Domen Škofic came together to tackle the tallest chimney in Europe in their native Slovenia.
It stands as the highest chimney in Europe but, from 2014, it has not been operational. The route plotted out for Garnbret and Škofic was also the largest artificial climbing route in the world, designed by specialists and IFSC route setters Katja Vidmar and Simon Margon.

Climbing tower Trbovlje Slovenia

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jakob Schweighofer

 

There were 13 pitches to tackle in all, the easiest of which were graded at 7b, while six were graded 8 and above. The most challenging was pitch 10, 257 metres above the ground and graded at 8b+. Neither climber knew the course, movement or arrangement of the pitches before starting the route – only able to see the initial 30 metres clearly from ground level prior to the climb. Something of a climb into the unknown for the duo, it took them nearly 12 hours to reach the ascent at their first attempt, doing so just as it turned dark.

Climbing tower Trbovlje Slovenia

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jakob Schweighofer

 

For Garnbret, it was her first attempt at a multi-pitch climb, and she readily admitted to the fear factor. “I was a bit scared before the start,” she said, “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. Thus, I needed to fall a few times until I finally relaxed and banished the fear.”
Škofic’s experience of such climbs was hardly much greater having done just one multi-pitch previously. Prior to the ascent, he said: “The chimney is completely different from anything I’ve climbed so far. 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.”

 

Climbing tower Trbovlje Slovenia

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jakob Schweighofer

 

On their opening attempt, they were given from dawn until dusk to complete it. But such was the challenge that they did not both complete every single pitch. If one of them fell, they moved on although, between them, they completed every pitch.
Four days later having recovered from their exhaustion they returned to the foot of the chimney once more with lighter equipment and the experience of having climbed it before. This time they both completed all 13 of the pitches, without falling, and almost 4 hours faster with 7 hours and 32min.
Of climb two, Garnbret said: “The most difficult pitch is really hard and so high up the route but I wasn’t afraid of it in the second attempt, I was more afraid of a few big dynos lower
down the route where you lose a lot of energy and you need to be 100% focused to prevent any falls. A fall means repeating pitches and losing additional strength and time.”

Click here to watch 360 Ascent on Red Bull TV

 

3 Responses to Garnbret and Škofic to climb the tallest chimney in Europe with 360 meters

  1. valentin kastner Jan 27, 2021 at 11:22 pm #

    Did they leave the route for others or was it a “one-time” marketing thing?

    greetings, vale

    • Jusitn Jan 28, 2021 at 11:09 am #

      Yes, it was a one off. The holds are down already.

      I did however get sent a fact sheet which is rather interesting:

      360 ROUTE FACTS:

      2. ALL THE VOLUMES ON CHIMNEY WERE COSTUME MADE FOR THIS EVENT.

      3. THE ROUTE WAS SET FOR THIS EVENT ONLY, AND ALL THE HOLDS HAS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE CHIMNEY.

      4. ROUTE IS SET OUT OF MORE THAN 500 PU HOLDS AND MORE THAN 250 FIBREGLASS VOLUMES

      5. MORE THAN 50 DIFFERENT HOLDS WERE DESIGNED AND PRODUCED EXTRA FOR THIS PROJECT

      6. THE BIGGEST VOLUME (GREEN VOLCANOE) WHICH WAS FIXED ON THE CHIMNEY HAD 0.9 METER AND ONLY 11 KG

      7. DURING SETTING AND WORKING WE NEEDED MORE THAN 300 CARABINERS.

      8. TO SET THE ROUTE WE USED MORE THAN 3500 METERS OF ROPE.

      9. THE ROUTE WAS SET IN 24 LOOONG WORKING DAYS. THE LONGEST BOLTING AND SETTING DAY WAS 22 HOURS.

      10. TO SET THE ROUTE WE DRILLED MORE THAN 4000 HOLES, WHICH REQUIRED TO BRAKE AND REPLACE MORE THAN 35 DRILLS.

      11. THE WEIGHT OF ALL HOLDS ON THE CHIMNEY IS OVER 1500KG

      12. 360 ROUTE HAS 13 PITCHES, WHERE WE SET 13 ANCHORS AND MORE THAN 160 BOLTS

      13. 360 ROUTE IS THE LONGEST ARTIFICIAL ROUTE IN THE WORLD.
      PREVIOUS RECORD HELD CLIMBING ROUTE ON DAM IN SWITZERLAND WITH 165M.

      360ASCENT FACTS

      2. ON THEIR FIRST DAY OF CLIMBING, THEY WERE CLIMBING ALMOST 12 HOURS

      3. THAT WAS JANJAS SECOND MULTIPICH ROUTE (FIRST ONE WAS 80M FOR PRACTICE A FEW WEEKS EARLIER)

      4. ON THE ASCENT DAY THEY BOTH TOPED THE ROUTE IN 7 HOURS AND 32 MINUTES

      JANJAS FAVOURITE PITCH IS XXX

      DOMEN AND JANJA LEFT BACKPACK WITH FOOD, DRINK AND ALL UNNEEDED EQUIPEMENT UNDER THE 10TH (HARDEST) PITCH TO MAXIMISE THE CHANCE OF SUCCESS.

      WHEN THEY CLIMBED THE ROUTE, THEY DID ALMOST 800 MOVES (COUNTING ONLY HANDS).

      8.DOMEN AND JANJA CLIMBED THE ROUTE IN THEIR SECOND ATTEMPT

      9.DOMENS FAVOURITE PITCH ARE PINK DISHES

      10. ON THE DAY OF ATTEMPT BOTH OF THEM FAILED IN THEIR FIRST TRY OF THE HARDEST PITCH.

      11. ON THEIR FIRST DAY ON CHIMNEY, DOMEN SAID THAT HE IS NOT ABLE TO CLIMB THE HARDEST PITCH OF THE ROUTE IN HIS LIFETIME … HE SENT THAT PICH TWO TRIES LATER.

      12. THEY PROPOSED THE FINALE GRADE OF THE ROUTE 8B+

      13. THEY STOOD ON THE TOP OF 13TH PITCH ON 13TH OF OCTOBER AT 16: 46.

  2. Warren Gans Feb 7, 2021 at 12:23 pm #

    Why not build something permanent? Or at least there for a while. A publicity stunt that’s lost on me

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