Maturity tends to come with age. Having just turned 18, Margo Hayes, defies this belief in both her climbing and perspective. Not only has she podiumed in 11 different national and world youth sport climbing championships, five different bouldering climbing championships, but she has also climbed six 5.14 routes and three V11s. As Margo told Crux Crush, “I really like the ever-changing aspect of rock climbing. The learning curve in climbing is really steep and so I know that with each climb, there will be more lessons learned! I also love to be in nature, and when I climb outdoors, I can take in the world around me and keep things in perspective. It is humbling to stand at the bottom of a wall and look up!”
We aren’t the only ones who have a crush on Margo. In 2015, she was the recipient of the prestigious North Face Young Gun Award, created to recognize up-and-coming climbers who truly represent the values of the climbing community. More than any of the routes, boulders, or championships she has conquered, Margo says winning the North Face Young Gun award is her most meaningful climbing accomplishment. “Although it does not directly reflect on climbing ability or competition results, it was an honor to be recognized for good sportsmanship, integrity, and kindness; these are qualities that I value more than physical ability and athletic talent.”
Margo was fortunate enough to grow up in the US climbing mecca of Boulder. She started as a gymnast, but eventually turned to climbing, working under the tutelage of the renowned Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou on Team ABC. “I still love the sport of gymnastics and owe so much of my climbing success to the foundation that it gave me.” While Margo has incredible athletic talent, what we admire about her is her perspective on climbing. “Climbing outdoors is so peaceful, and in this kind of environment, it becomes even more meditative. I also like how the rock stays there forever. In the gym, the routes are always changing. Outside, you know that if you don’t send a climb, it will be right there waiting for your return.” However, Margo rarely needs to return to a route. During the last year while in Rifle, Margo flashed Cryptic Egyptian (5.13c); redpointed Double Rainbow (5.14a) and Zulu (5.14a) in the same day, quickly took down Waka Flocka (5.14b) on her fifth try. Margo also displays incredible maturity – climbing Waka Flocka while wearing a helmet, something rarely seen among pro sport climbers.
Although Margo Hayes has dominated the climbing world for some time as a youth, we expect that she is just getting started as she ventures into adulthood. At the same time, Margo continues to maintain a maturity about professional climbing and life that we so admire: “Climbing is not something that I make a living at, but it is something that I am passionate about and see myself continuing to do throughout my entire life. I think that it is important to remember why you climb, and for me it is something I love. I want to combine my interest in climbing with my academic interests in science, art and mathematics.” We wish Margo the best as she continues to define her future in the sport and in life and her words, “continually learn about the world around me.”