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Over the years, he has frequently changed his hair color and hairstyle. But the intense and unaffected gaze, typical of someone who goes to the gym or crag every day to satisfy a fundamental need, has remained the same.

Jernej Kruder was simply destined to be a climber. Born in 1990, he began testing his first holds at the age of seven in Slovenian bouldering gyms. The young Jernej moved between the artificial holds with impressive ease and speed, collecting one podium finish after another in national competitions and in the European Cup. On the threshold of adulthood, he received the call from his national team, with which he won the overall World Cup in 2018 and the European championships in 2020. His nonstop climbing style, which rarely gives his body a rest, arms that become one with the wall, eyes that dictate the next movement — his combination of power and skill has allowed him to achieve one national success after another over the years, and to climb to the top step of the podium together with his sister Julia in the prestigious Red Bull Dual Ascent in 2023.

Jernej excels not only in competition (he holds the record for appearances in the bouldering World Cup); he is also among the best in the world on crags. Climbing on rock allowed him to discover another aspect, that of challenging himself, which has no finish line in sight. Because Jernej, seeking new motivation every day, is obsessed with pushing his own limits. To the point of having attempted Mišja Peč, on the Osp crag, more than 100 times (yes, you read that right).

Jernej has personally completed or bolted more than 600 8c+ and more than 10 9a routes on Slovenian walls. Among the most sensational repeats is that of “Es Pontas” (the second 9a+/9b in history) as a deep-water solo in 2016 and then again in 2020. But what’s striking when conversing with him is his humility. We soon end up talking about the vertical project that he hasn’t completed yet, the unfinished pitches on that route ... Jernej impresses with the strength of his dreams and his ability to get up after every fall. A derisive look, and his eyes gaze upward again. It’s in the DNA of all of us, but he does it particularly well.



You often participate in bouldering events, including as an organizer. How important are climbing communities, in your opinion?
For me, the climbing community is very important. Fortunately, the inclusive spirit of climbing hasn’t changed much over the years. I’m friends with many athletes on the World Cup circuit and always try to spend time with them after competitions. Events are a way to form new relationships.

Your favorite things are climbing, extreme sports, and music. What would you not be able to give up?
That’s easy: climbing!

Sport climbing is a family affair. What’s the relationship between you and your sister Julia when you climb?
I’m tied to Julia with a natural bond. We have the same climbing style and the same mental strength. I think this is the secret to the results we’ve achieved together. Especially considering that at this stage I’m focusing mainly on crags, while my sister is focused on competitions.

What’s your favorite Karpos product?
The Highest Down Hoodie Jacket and Alagna Down Jacket — they’re perfect when I’m belaying or for approaches in particularly harsh conditions.


2023 Winner, Red Bull Dual Ascent, together with Julia Kruder
2023 National bouldering champion
2020 European champion
2018 Overall bouldering World Cup winner
2016 Repeat of “Es Pontas” (9a+), deep-water solo
2014 2nd place, bouldering world championships


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