Bouldering: The Stars of the Scene

LISTICLE | 03/29/2022
Bouldern auf einem Felsen
ISPO.com Logo

Bouldering not only attracts more and more amateur climbers to the rock wall, but also in the competitive sport new records are set every year. The popularity of the stars of the scene is on the rise - we introduce five professionals who have made it to the top, and not just on the wall.

Dizzying heights - when bouldering are out of the question. But precisely because of the manageable drop height, the unsecured climbing sport is a real challenge for body and mind. Technique, skill and creativity are required, not excessive daring.

Meanwhile, bouldering has developed from a marginal sport to a mass phenomenon. Newcomers and experienced hobby athletes are flocking to the bouldering halls. There have also been some changes in the competitive sport. For example, the official World Cup of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) is becoming increasingly important. The highlight: bouldering as one of three competitions in the climbing premiere at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in August 2021.

Top athletes have also become real stars in the ever-growing bouldering scene. We introduce five of the superstars.




Janja Garnbret

Frau in der Boulderhalle

In sport climbing, Janja Garnbret has been the clear number one for years: She won the Climbing World Cup four times between 2016 and 2021, but in bouldering she had to wait until the 2019 season for her first overall World Cup victory. But then it came with a historic series: Garnbret won all six bouldering competitions of the season - a feat never before achieved by an athlete.

Garnbret then achieved her masterpiece at the Olympic Games, when she was unbeatable in bouldering and lead climbing, winning the first women's gold medal.

Garnbret has long been a star not only in her native Slovenia. With more than 400,000 Instagram fans and sponsorship contracts with Red Bull and Adidas Terrex, among others, she has long since become a brand in her own right.

Janja Garnbret also feels right at home on the rock. "For me, it's a break from the competition and training routine. I usually go rock climbing to relax," she says.


Adam Ondra

At the age of 13, Czech-born Adam Ondra was already among the world's best in sport climbing and bouldering. In his first World Cup participation in the men's class in 2009, the now 29-year-old immediately claimed the runner-up title in lead climbing. A year later, he decided the overall World Cup victory for himself, to finally crown his performance in 2014 with the world title in bouldering and lead climbing. Before the Olympics, Ondra was one of the medal favorites as World Cup runner-up in 2019 and third in 2021. In Tokyo, however, it was "only" enough for fifth place.

In addition to competitive sports, Ondra is always drawn to nature, where he was able to conquer some of the world's most difficult climbing routes, such as "La Rambla" and "La Dura Dura" - both in Catalonia - at a young age.
Where does the Czech get the energy to master such devilish routes?:

"Everyone has animal instincts - I don't mean screaming wildly, but being completely focused, totally absorbed in what you're doing, so that time seems to stop. But only a few people can find this animal in themselves - children can do it much better. They play. I play when I climb," Ondra reveals to klettern.de.


Alberto Gines Lopez

At just 18 years old, Alberto Gines Lopez has immortalized himself in the history books of the sport. At that age, the Spaniard won the first men's Olympic gold in climbing in 2021.

It was the culmination of a still young career in which Gines Lopez subordinates everything to climbing: After climbing with his family from an early age, he came under the wing of professional coach David Macia at the age of ten. When it became clear that climbing was going to be an Olympic sport, Gines Lopez, who was not even of age, moved to Barcelona because he could train better there. A move that paid off. Meanwhile, Gines Lopez is the shooting star of the scene.


Miho Nonaka

At the Olympic Games in her own country, Miho Nonaka was a celebrated hero with her silver medal. The 24-year-old has over 300,000 fans on Instagram and combines high-profile sports and lifestyle brands in her sponsorship portfolio with Adidas, NEC or Beats by Dr. Dre.

Sport-wise, Nonaka has been among the world's best for years: her biggest triumph besides the Olympic medal was the overall victory in the 2018 Boulder World Cup.

Her ambitious goal, which she revealed in "her Magazine," is "I want to be considered the world's best climber, and I want my name to become synonymous with the sport."

In Japan, Nonaka is already number one after the retirement of climbing icon Akiyo Noguchi. Soon, worldwide again?


Alex Megos

Alexander Megos is Germany's best competitive climber and boulderer. With his ambition and discipline, he became the first climber ever to climb a route rated 9a on-sight - that is, on the first attempt 


Overnight, he became world famous as a result and has continued to climb tirelessly ever since. In the meantime, Megos has climbed the most difficult routes on the climbing scene and has thus climbed his way to the top of the world. In 2013, he climbed, among other things, the so-called "Wheelchair" the most difficult bouldering route and with R.E.D of difficulty 9a the most difficult route in Australia.


Megos also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. There, however, he failed just short of the finals.

Share article
ISPO.com Logo
Topics in this article


ISPO.com Logo