Five min­utes with 20 year old climberm Mar­got Hayes

Adventure - - #209 -

Mar­got Hayes has been climb­ing since she was ten years old. First in­tro­duced to the sport by her dad in her home town of Boul­der, Colorado, Mar­got has now made climb­ing her ca­reer. In Fe­bru­ary 2017, Mar­got be­came the first women to climb a route graded 9+a when she scaled La Ram­bla in Spain. We caught up with the 20 year old for a quick chat...

How would those that know you sib­lings, par­ents, friends de­scribe you?

They would say that I am cu­ri­ous about the world around me, and that I have a strong work ethic.

Ex­plain to those that don’t climb why it’s such an ab­sorb­ing sport – why do it, why take the risk, what is the foun­da­tion of the achieve­ment?

Climb­ing is a sport where one must be fully ab­sorbed, body and mind. Climb­ing gives one the op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge them self, be ac­tive, spend time out­doors, and ex­press them­selves through their move­ment. There are sit­u­a­tions in climb­ing that are risky, but this is the same as any sport. What I like about climb­ing is that there is a lot in your con­trol. It is a rel­a­tively safe sport if you take pre­cau­tions.

Was there a spe­cific mo­ment when you thought ‘yep- this is what I want to do for a ca­reer’?

I don’t know when the ex­act mo­ment was, but a few years ago, I de­cided that I wanted to dive deeper into my climb­ing, and I post­poned my stud­ies. I am very pas­sion­ate about my sport, and I have other in­ter­ests that I want to pur­sue in my life such as sci­ence. I be­lieve that my in­ter­ests com­ple­ment each other, and I plan to re­sume my stud­ies in the near fu­ture along­side my climb­ing.

Re­cently you climbed Biogra­phie (5.15a / 9a+), quite likely the hard­est sport route ever done by a woman. With La Ram­bla (9a+) and Biogra­phie within a few months of each other can you ex­plain to those who don’t un­der­stand the 5.15a/9a+ what all that means and why it’s a big deal?

In climb­ing, we use a rat­ing sys­tem as a way to cat­e­go­rize routes and track progress. In the United States, we use the “Yosemite dec­i­mal sys­tem”. At this point, routes go all the way up to 5.15d!

If there is some­one read­ing this and is con­sid­er­ing a pro­fes­sional ca­reer as a climber what ad­vice would you give in mov­ing for­ward?

Re­mem­ber why you climb! :)

If Margo now could give Margo a few years back some good ad­vice what would it be?

I would ad­vise Margo to lis­ten to her body and rest more of­ten.

When you are not climb­ing what­ever do you do – do you have any other pas­sions?

Yes, I do have other pas­sions! I love sci­ence, es­pe­cially bi­ol­ogy, and I re­ally en­joy math as well. I love to cre­ate, whether it is through pho­tog­ra­phy, draw­ing, or some­thing to­tally new!

RIGHT: Photo Cour­tesy The North Face/ Clay­ton Boyd BE­LOW: Mar­got in ac­tion at the Boul­der­ing Na­tion­als, 2017 Photo Cour­tesy The North Face/ Greg Mionske

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