The Inertia Contributing Writer

Margo Hayes, on the hardest climb ever done by a woman. Photo: Instagram

The Inertia

Margo Hayes, a 19-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, just became the first woman to climb 5.15a — an elite grade rarely climbed by anyone, even male climbers. Hayes sent the route La Rambla, a 45-meter sport climb in Siurana, Spain, on Feb. 26 after a week of work.

The Coloradoan is less known than some of her female peers like Sasha DiGuilian or Ashima Shiraishi, whose hardest climb is a half-grade easier at 5.14.d/5.15a. Along with Shiraishi, Hayes has been dominating youth climbing competitions of late and has been on tear outside the gym as well, sending some of North America’s hardest routes in recent months.

Hayes is currently studying abroad in France. She reportedly set her sights on the route during a 10-day trip to Spain, getting her send one day after fellow Colorado-native Matty Hong sent the testpiece. When it was first established in 1994 by Alex Huber, La Rambla was just 5.14c. But in the early 2000s Spanish climber Ramón Julián Puigblanque added a 20-foot extension that made the route weigh in at 5.15a.

Here’s footage of Chris Sharma sending the same route in 2006:


I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support I’ve received from the climbing community, and my family and friends near and far. None of us achieves our dreams alone, we do so together, and build on those who have come before us. We are a community that not only supports each other regardless of our backgrounds and differences, but is also one that realizes the importance of respecting and preserving our planet. The climbers at the cliffs in Siurana last weekend came from many nations, and were a snapshot of what the world can be like, one of support, communication, and peace. 👬👭👫🌍👫👭👬 Kudos to @honngy for the initial send… up next @jon_cardwell! Thank you @greg_mionske for capturing our try hard moments! 🎥 Xoxo Margo @thenorthface @petzl_official @lasportivana @dogearedjewelry

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