HomeOutdoor activitiesThe Best Rock Climbers in the World

The Best Rock Climbers in the World

Rock climbers of the highest caliber all share something special that sets them apart. Some excel in one style of climbing, while others possess exceptional skill across multiple disciplines – indoor and outdoor, sport or trad, free soloing, ice climbing, bouldering and speed.

There is also the emerging talent. Ashima Shiraishi is one of them and she possesses immense potential.

1. Adam Ondra

Adam Ondra has achieved remarkable success throughout his career, climbing an array of hard routes and setting numerous first ascents. Additionally, he has won multiple competitions and earned himself the reputation as one of the finest rock climbers in the world.

Ondra strives to reach the pinnacle of climbing by dedicating himself to training both his body and mind. He consults a physiotherapist, Patxi Usobiaga, as well as a ballet instructor in order to perfect his technique and develop fluidity on the rock face.

Furthermore, he engages in intense visualisation by practicing his climbs mentally (video). This helps him stay focused and visualize success and perfection.

Ondra stands out among sport climbers due to his strength. Although he may be taller and thicker than his rivals, Ondra boasts well-defined muscles that enable him to hold 1.1 times his bodyweight when hanging off a two-centimetre edge with his fingers in the air.

Ondra has scaled some of the world’s toughest sport routes, completing more than 60 routes rated 5.15a or harder.

He has scaled many 9b+ and 9c+ routes, making several first ascents that have been deemed among the toughest climbs in the world.

His 2012 first ascent of Change in Flatanger, Norway is considered one of the hardest 9b+ climbs worldwide; similarly, his 2017 first ascent of Silence in the same region achieved a 9c+ rating.

Ondra is an acclaimed athlete who has been dominating the climbing scene for years. He has won multiple competitions and even qualified to represent Team USA at the 2020 Olympic Games.

2. Janja Garnbret

Janja Garnbret is one of the greatest rock climbers in history. She was the first female athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for sport climbing and is widely regarded as one of the greatest competitive climbers ever. Among other accomplishments, Janja was first woman to onsight 5.14b and has redpointed 5.13d and 9a+ routes.

Garnbret has achieved great success throughout her career, winning multiple IFSC Climbing World Cup titles and earning several podium finishes. She holds the record for most IFSC gold medals earned at individual World Cup events and ranks among the top five most successful competition climbers of all time.

She has earned many honors, such as Slovenia’s most successful female athlete and the Slovenian Sports Journalists Association (SJSA) Athlete of the Year award. Additionally, she received other distinctions such as the SJSA Bloudk award for sport climbing excellence and IFSC’s highest honor: the coveted Climbing World Cup trophy.

Her success can largely be attributed to her commitment to training. She owns a gym and goes there at least three times per week. Furthermore, she coaches an area youth climbing club.

On April 20, 2022, she had won 32 IFSC World Cup gold medals and was the most successful competition climber in history. Additionally, she had captured six IFSC Climbing World Championships, giving her more overall World Cup series and World Championship victories than any other climber in history.

3. Sebastien Bouin

Sebastien Bouin is a French climber renowned for being one of the world’s best rock climbers. He was part of the original French team that established Chilam Balam in 2015 and since then has become an influential force within the sport by setting seven routes graded 5.15b or better.

His passion for climbing fuels him to take on challenging routes and succeed. Additionally, he enjoys teaching students how to be active and healthy through climbing.

He has only been a professional climber for a short period of time, but his passion and drive to succeed have allowed him to reach his objectives. His training regimen is tailored depending on which project he is working towards; rest periods help his body recover after each climb.

His slim frame and excellent route-reading skills enable him to excel in all three disciplines of climbing. His explosiveness makes him a top pick for speed climbing, with gold medal potential at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

DNA in Vernon Gorge is currently the world’s toughest route, but it took Bouin nearly 250 attempts spread out over 150 days to finally conquer it. He now rates it a 5.15d and stands as one of only a handful of climbers to have conquered this challenging ascent.

He boasts incredible finger strength and is currently climbing some of the toughest 5.15c routes around the world, but there are still many challenges ahead for him. If he can continue to build upon his recent successes, he could become an international star in competition climbing.

4. Martin Schubert

Czech climber Matj Kac is a multiple IFSC World Champion in lead climbing and bouldering divisions. At 29 years old, his impressive list of accomplishments includes 15 gold medals in lead climbing competitions and six boulder gold medals from IFSC competitions to date – an incredible achievement!

He is one of few to have successfully climbed 9c ( 5.15d), widely considered one of the hardest grades for modern climbers to conquer. In October 2012, his most recent accomplishment was sending 9b+ Change at 9.97% grade.

As a physiotherapist by trade, his expertise lies in activating the right muscles at the right time to get his bouldering projects off the ground. His training regimen incorporates traditional methods and modern day innovations like foam rollers, weightlifting and an innovative exercise called “Spine Stabilizer,” which incorporates weight training with yoga.

In addition to his climbing accomplishments, he is an acclaimed slackline artist and holds the Guinness World Record for longest slackline. His latest endeavor involves building an 8m long slackline that runs from mountain top to bottom; which he hopes to finish within a few weeks.

Recently, he has had an incredible run, including victories at both IFSC Bouldering World Cup at Rocklands and Arco Rock Master this past weekend. However, his most remarkable triumph came during the Lead World Championship in Innsbruck; not only was he the first Austrian male to win this coveted title but he outwitted fellow Czech silver medalist Adam Ondra and bronze medallist Alexander Megos from Germany to take home the prize.

5. Thomas Potter

Climbing has grown increasingly popular over time, becoming an activity enjoyed by everyone. From discovering new routes to setting record ascents and dominating competitions, climbers have taken this sport to new heights and provided inspiration for others.

Thomas Potter is a rock climber renowned for his many remarkable climbs and achievements. He won multiple world championships in sports climbing, and in Yosemite Valley, Thomas pioneered free soloing El Capitan – known as one of the hardest climbs ever attempted.

Tom Freesolomed El Capitan in 2000, marking an historic achievement both for himself and the sport of rock climbing. Additionally, he became the first climber to free solo The Nose–another big wall located within Yosemite Valley–also marking another significant milestone for himself and climbing in general.

This climb was extremely difficult and it took him seven years to successfully onsight the route, locate partners and secure belay people. As one of the hardest big wall climbs in the world, he had to learn how to rig ropes, carry food and water while living on-wall for the duration of the ascent.

He achieved an unprecedented feat: climbing El Capitan’s Nose in less than 12 hours! In addition, he has made many other first ascents on El Capitan and is widely regarded as one of the greatest big wall climbers in history.

He is not only an accomplished climber, but a brave man as well. He famously pushed his captor over a mountain while saving his friends in Kyrgyzstan from capture; later writing a book about the experience.


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