Five minutes with 20 year old climberm Margot Hayes
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