Margo Hayes, 18, Sends The Crew (5.14c) in Rifle

Margo Hayes, U.S. Lead Champion, added another 5.14c to her list with The Crew at Rifle Mountain Park, Colorado.

By Hayden Carpenter | June 20th, 2016

Margo Hayes, 18, sending The Crew (5.14c). Photo courtesy of Jon Glassberg / Louder Than Eleven.

This weekend Margo Hayes added another 5.14c to her list with The Crew at Rifle Mountain Park, Colorado. “The line is beautiful,” she tells Rock and Ice, “full of unique features and big, bouldery moves!”

Hayes, an 18-year-old from Boulder, is the current U.S. Lead Climbing Champion. Since her introduction to the sport in 2008, her indoor game has been strong. She’s stood on the podium in eleven different youth sport climbing and five different bouldering championships. Outdoors, she’s also crushing testpieces. The Crew is Hayes’ second 5.14c send, after her ascent of Pure Imagination in March.

“I wanted to do a climb that would hone in on my weaknesses and make me a better climber,” she says. Hayes tried the route over the course of three weekends. “The moves didn’t come easily to me,” she says, “and after my first attempt I concluded that it was the hardest route I had attempted thus far.”

The Crew, originally 5.14b, was bumped to 5.14c after broken holds upped the challenge. “The Crew has an old-school, hard route feel,” Dan Mirsky told Rock and Ice after he redpointed the route in 2015. “The first six bolts are really un-Rifle—[it’s] bouldery, not three-dimensional, and the moves revolve around bad holds instead of big moves on good holds.”

Three years ago Hayes was recognized with the North Face Young Gun Award, created to honor up-and-coming climbers who have displayed exemplary climbing community values, sportsmanlike conduct and commitment to the sport. In bridging the gap between plastic and real rock, Hayes has continued to uphold these values both in the gym and outdoors.

Joe Kinder, who has established and climbed many of Rifle’s hardest routes, posted about Hayes’ accomplishment on Facebook: “It makes me proud to see a young climber girl like Margo representing our sport in a real and sincere way, a way that us core climbers believe in. GREAT JOB MARGO!!!!!!”

Last summer Hayes sent Double Rainbow and Zulu, two Rifle 5.14a’s in one day, and this March she secured the U.S. Lead Champion title. At the 2016 IFSC Bouldering World Cup in Vail, Hayes qualified for semi-finals and placed 15 overall.

“I love both outside and competition climbing,” Hayes says. “They are different challenges, but equally as motivating for me!”


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