There are intangible character traits that separate the best from the rest in climbing and other challenging endeavors. Facing unexpected adversity with redoubled determination and a nod of humor are two such traits exhibited by World Champion Janja Garnbret in this short, but remarkable video.

It was a hot day in Villars (Switzerland) with a steep semi-finals lead route filled with sloper holds to be climbed. A chalk bag is essential for climbing success on such a hot, sweaty day….yet Janja Garnbret’s chalk bag fell off (0:05) as she started up the climb! How would she respond?

With the heart (and smile) of a champion, of course!

Surprisingly, the IFSC commentators didn’t notice the dropped chalk bag. They remarked frequently about Janja’s prowess and determination, yet missed the most amazing thingher ability to stay calm and lighthearted, despite the apparent doom of the dropped chalk bag, as she cruised up the semi-finals route.

The lesson we can all learn from Janja: Don’t dwell on unfortunate and irreversible hurdles or handicaps that arise—rather, immediately accept the unchangeable and press on with renewed determination and resolve. While the ideal outcome is never guaranteed, only by forging onward with love of the process (and the current situation) do we have any chance at all for success.

Based on Janja’s frequent smiles and head nods, she embraced the unfortunate situation with a good sense of humor…and the heart of a champion!


In my opinion, 20-year-old Janja Garnbert is the most dominate athlete in the world. She is Micheal Jordan (basketball) in the late 1980s and Tiger Woods (golf) in the late 1990s and early 2000s—that is, her skill and competition outcomes transcend everyone else in all of sports.

Janja’s Record

In 2016, 2017, and 2018, Janja won both the World Cup Lead climbing and Combined disciplines…and she’s well on her way to winning again in 2019. Since turning pro in 2015,  she has medaled in 25 of 27 Lead World Cups (through July 15, 2019), missing the podium only two times. In Spring 2019 she achieved the “impossible” by winning every Bouldering World Cup event throughout the entire season!

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