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Stunning new short film sees world-class duo scale the tallest chimney in Europe

For those who love to climb in gyms, it has been a tough year. Climbing facilities have been open spottily at best across Canada. Luckily, a new short film 360 Ascent offers some serious inspiration from some of the best climbers in the world doing something completely unique. 

Two of the world’s leading climbers, Jania Garnbret and Domen Skofic, tackled a massive 360-metre chimney of the Trbovlie Power Station for a compelling new short film available now on Red Bull TV. Climbers will love it, and anyone with an interest in outdoor endurance and adventure will marvel at the skill and determination of the young climbers tackling the tallest chimney in Europe. 

The chimney is located in the climbers’ homeland of Slovenia, and the film shows not only that the climbing is incredibly intense and challenging, but the construction of the routes was a labour of love and fraught with risk.

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.

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+.

The idea was to climb the entire chimney with no mistakes, and, even though these are two of the most exciting and talented climbers on the planet, it proved a monumental feat. 

“I was a bit scared before the start,” Garnbret 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.”

It took the duo, who took turns leading each pitch, nearly 12 hours to reach the ascent at their first attempt, doing so just as it turned dark.

“The chimney is completely different from anything I've climbed so far. It is a giant, artificial object, which I found rather mystical,” Skofic said. “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."

On the second attempt, they both completed all 13 of the pitches, without falling, in 7 hours 32 minutes.

“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,” Garnbret said. “A fall means repeating pitches and losing additional strength and time.”

The full movie is streaming right now and it is fantastic. Be sure to check it out on Red Bull TV

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