The Mandala

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The Mandala
Map showing the location of The Mandala
Map showing the location of The Mandala
LocationThe Buttermilks
Coordinates37°17′40″N 118°36′36″W / 37.29444°N 118.61000°W / 37.29444; -118.61000
Route TypeBouldering
GradeV12 (8A+)
First ascentChris Sharma, 2000

In the sport of rock climbing, The Mandala is a bouldering problem (a short, difficult climb completed without a rope) in the Buttermilks, which is a popular bouldering area near Bishop, California. It is one of the most widely known boulder problems in the world.[1]

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[2]. 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[3]), 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.[4] The problem is now thought to be soft V12.

The Mandala saw its first female ascent in January 2008 by Lisa Rands.[5]


It was given a sit-start by Tony Lamiche in 2002. The sit-start is about V14/8B+.

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, which continues through the top of the prow instead of exiting to the left.[6] He claimed it was much harder than the regular Mandala, but gave the same V14 grade as Lamiche's sit start.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Alex Megox sends Mandala Sit Start V13/14". Rock and Ice. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  3. ^ Video documenting first ascent
  4. ^ "The Mandala". Mountain Project. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  5. ^ Justin Roth. "Lisa Rands on The Mandala". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  6. ^ "Paul Robinson Mandala Direct Assis (V14) First Ascent". Climbing Narc. Retrieved March 15, 2018.