The Circuit Outdoor Climber of the year 2017. Margo Hayes
Young American climber Margo Hayes had an exceptional 2016, carving a name for herself in Rifle climbing folklore with ascents of The Crew and Bad Girls Club, as well as taking victory in Lead, Bouldering and Combined at the Youth World Championships in China.
It is however 2017 she will be more remembered for, breaking the 9a+ barrier for females early in the year with an ascent of the classic La Rambla in Spain (you’ve probably all seen the incredible post ascent photo by Matty Hong). This was a huge breakthrough for female climbing as she not only cracked a new level of difficulty, she did so on a famous and well-traveled route that had seen many attempts from strong climbers in the past.
In a year where Adam Ondra climbed the first 9c with Silence in Flatanger, Norway, Austrian star Angy Eiter bumped the hardest ascent by a female to 9b with an ascent of La Planta de Shiva in Spain and Anak Verhoeven was the first female to establish a 9a+, there were many climbing heroes to choose from. Margo cemented her position as our pick for Outdoor climber of the year with her second 9a+ ascent, the iconic Biographie in France.
To break a grade barrier as we saw done this year is one thing, to do it climbing such renowned routes is something more. It gives credibility, and shows a grounding in the history of the sport which is great to see in a climber still only 19 years of age.
Congratulations Margo on being The Circuit Climbing Outdoor Climber of the year!