Every one of you has probably seen or heard of The Mandala (V12) at the Buttermilks outside of Bishop, CA. After it was first climbed by Chris Sharma in 2000, he famously joked in Dosage I that the problem must be V16 because it took so long to see an ascent. However, after a quick repeat by Dave Graham the grade has settled somewhere in the V12 range. In 2002, Tony Lamiche added a difficult sit start that is sometimes referred to as The Mandalion that bumped the grade up to V14. Since 2002, the Mandala SDS has been repeated several times and the stand version has been climbed by dozens of climbers including a recent FFA by Lisa Rands.
In early 2007, an obvious variation to the original Sharma line was also climbed. Jeff Sillcox did the FA of The Mandala Direct (V12) which climbs directly up the prow to the top instead of escaping off to the left near the top. The direct variation adds a difficult and committing deadpoint right near the top of the prow. This obviously opened the door for someone to climb from the SDS into the direct finish, a door which Paul Robinson walked through less than a week after Jeff’s send to create The Mandala Direct Assis* (V14). Paul commented on his 8a.nu card that he felt the direct finish was, “much harder than regular mandala”.
Here is the video of Paul’s FA:
*Assis, sit start, SDS…whatever you want to call it