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Where Did Margo Hayes Get Her Climbing Chops? Rifle, Her ‘Home Crag’

The Boulderite became the first woman to climb 5.15, owing to her wicked strength, off-the-charts flexibility, and creativity. But long before that, she started climbing in Rifle, Colo.

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Petzl calls Margo Hayes’ climbing style “poetry in motion.” But I think that’s a crap description because most poetry sucks, and Margo is so damn good.

And the best climbing area in the world to hone those capacities might be her home crag: Rifle.

The limestone power factory is Colorado’s most legendary sport climbing spot for a good reason. Randomly shaped holds jut from the slippery, cave-like surfaces at wild angles, plastered on routes that wander everywhere.

So-called “three-dimensional” climbing and Margo Hayes go together like peas and carrots. See for yourself in this semi-biographical clip. You’d also be right to describe Hayes’ personality as multidimensional: The Boulderite is far from your typical rock jock.

“Honestly, my memories are my sister’s flip-flop getting lost in the river,” Hayes says in the video, laughing.

Well, that and climbing at The Arsenal, she adds — otherwise known as Rifle’s biggest stage.

Runtime: 8.5 minutes

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