The Mandala

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For other uses, see Mandala (disambiguation).

In the sport of rock climbing, The Mandala is a bouldering problem (a sequence of hand and foot holds constituting an ascension route) in the Buttermilks, which is a popular bouldering area near Bishop, California.

The problem climbs a steep prow on a large granite boulder and was considered a great project for many years before it was first climbed by Chris Sharma in February 2000[citation needed]. This ascent received much acclaim in the climbing community. Although Sharma did not rate the problem (jokingly, he stated that if he had to, it would have been V16[1]), it was thought by many to be hard V14 in the bouldering grading system.

However, the problem was repeated by other climbers in quick succession: (#1: Dave Graham; #2: Jared Roth; #3: Fred Nicole; #4: Luke Parady; #5: Ian Vickers; #6: Dave Struthers, all within the first year after the first ascent), and the grade was consolidated at V11 or V12. Since the first ascent, several holds have broken including one of the crux holds. The problem is now thought to be soft V12.

It was given a sit-start by Tony Lamiche in 2002. The sit-start is about V14/8B+. The Mandala is one of the most widely known boulder problems in the world.

Later in 2007 Paul Robinson, who climbed it in one day together with The Swarm 8B/8B+, made the first ascent of The Mandala Direct Assis (variation of the current one), which he claimed to be much harder than the regular mandala, but gave the same 8B+ grade.

The Mandala saw its first ascent by a woman in January 2008 by Lisa Rands.[2]


  1. ^ Video documenting first ascent
  2. ^ Lisa Rands on The Mandala, Climbing Magazine