Margo Hayes has done it again! The 21-year-old American climber from Boulder, Colorado has sent Papichulo, her third 5.15a. Hayes famously became the first woman to climb 5.15 when she sent La Rambla, in Siurana, Spain, on February 26, 2017. She went on to send Biographie, also 5.15a, on September 24, 2017.
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Hayes broke the Papichulo news on Instagram. “I am grateful to be back on Spanish limestone, which suits my style in such a comfortable and familiar way,” she wrote. “I feel so small against the magnitude of rock. It has been a wonderful experience climbing one of Oliana’s most beguiling routes, Papichulo 9a+”
She went on to thank Alexander Megos for his “unwavering support and for catching every fall,” and Chris Sharma for establishing Papichulo in 2008.
Papichulo, located in Oliana, Spain, is notoriously pumpy and difficult. The 45-meter route has a no-hands rest after several bolts, but then requires a no-holds-barred fight to the anchors. A deadpoint crux not far from the anchors is often a heartbreaker for would-be ascentionists. After Jonathan Siegrist ticked Papichulo in November 2015, he told Rock and Ice in an interview that it was “one of the most pumpy routes I’ve ever climbed.” Another ascentionist, Daniel Woods, described the route after he sent it in 2016 as”the most resistant route I have climbed on.”
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The list of climbers that have sent Papichulo is a pretty impressive collection of some of the strongest climbers of the past decade: Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra, Ramón Julián Puigblanque, Sachi Amma, Cédric Lachat, Jakob Schubert, Domen Škofic, Magnus Midtbø, Mateusz Haladaj, Jonathan Siegrist, Daniel Woods, Matty Hong, Piotr Schab, Said Belhaj, Klemen Bečan, Patxi Usobiaga, Jon Cardwell, Felipe Camargo.
And now, Margo Hayes.
Her send only further solidifies her position as one of the top sport climbers in the world. In addition to her now three 5.15s, Hayes has sent hard routes around the world including Bad Girls Club (5.14d), Rifle, Colorado; and several 5.14c’s in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky, namely Pure Imagination, Golden Ticket and Southern Smoke.
She’s a force in comp climbing as well. Just two weeks ago Hayes won the 2019 Sport Climbing National Championship—an event she had previously won in 2016, and has podiumed in each one of the past five years except for 2018. Her gold at Sport Climbing Nationals, combined with a bronze at Bouldering Nationals in February, earned Hayes one of the coveted few spots on the USA Overall National Team. She and the other National Team members are considered the country’s leading contenders to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
After sending La Rambla in 2017, Hayes told Rock and Ice in an interview, “For decades, women have been taking climbing to new levels. I am honored to stand among those women. We will see more women pushing the boundaries of climbing in all of the genres.” With her third 5.15, Hayes is still leading the charge, but she was oh so right: In the year following Hayes’ send, Angela Eiter became the first woman to send 5.15b when she sent Planta de Shiva, Villanueva del Rosario, Spain, and Anak Verhoeven became the first woman to make the first ascent of a 5.15, with Sweet Neuf, Pierrot Beach, France.
And we expect Hayes will be adding more 5.15s to her resume sooner rather than later!