Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Pebble Boulder

Crystal Mantel V2 5+
Direct South Face V2 5+
North Overhang V3-4 6A+
Northeast Mantel V3 6A
Southeast Face V5- 6C
Strege Problem V5 6C
V1 right of Pebble Mantel V1 5
West Overhang V3 6A
Unsorted Routes:
Type: Boulder, 10 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,793 total, 9/month
Shared By: Adam Hicks` on Oct 4, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

17 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


This is the first problem you see when you arrive at the Pebble Boulder from the trail. It is just before the slot between the main boulder and a small, head height boulder to the right (east). You can identify it by the giant, diving board pebble sticking out of the wall and the low flake sit start.

Sit start on the flake, go up to the crystal, and figure a way to use it and the face holds above and right of it to get your feet up so you can reach the lip. I've seen it done a million and one ways, but the name says what comes easiest for most people: mantel the crystal if ya can.


The landing is big and flat. A pad is all you need, and the topout is fairly straightforward.


However it's graded, this is one of the most interesting problems I've done on Flagstaff. Subtle and balancy, it's a great one to wire in and use to burn off your strong friends. I'd add it to my Flag circuit, but I'm afraid it'll be a project every time I attempt it. Apr 4, 2007
Adam Hicks`  
One more thing I want to add: If someone doesn't like what I give for bouldering grades, perhaps why is because I didn't even know what a grade was until I moved to Boulder. I had bouldered plenty, but Flagstaff was my introduction to the V-scale.

So, when I say this problem is V2/V3 it is in comparison with other Flag problems I've done, attempting to exclude the super sandbagged ones like Red Wall V3's. However, since I've climbed other places now, I will admit that a Flag V3 is like a V4 or V5 in a lot of other places.

I like Boulder because everyone is good, so it makes you try that much harder.

Peace Nov 11, 2003
Adam Hicks`  
I put V1 because that's what I saw it rated as in most guidebooks, but I put V2/V3 as my discrete rating. I'm not sure this showed up, but I freely admit this problem is much more difficult than V1.

Nov 3, 2003
Another super-sandbagged Flagstaff quasi-classic. This might have been v1 or v2 back in the 70s when the ground was a few feet higher, but its way harder these days. I think its at least comparable in difficulty to Eric Varney and the other standard Red Wall problems, as well as a number of other classic Flagstaff problems rated as high as v5. As with most mantle problems, this one will be easier for shorter people. Nov 3, 2003
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
Chip Phillips   Broomfield, CO
AC - I hear what you are saying. For what it is worth, I was just sharing information contained in old guidebooks and the yet-to-be-published guide I happened to have handy. FYI: The Crystal Mantel was probably done for the 1st time in the mid to late 1950s or early 60s by someone like Corwin Simmons, Bob Beatty, Ray Northcutt, Dallas Jackson, Layton Kor, Bob Culp, Pat Ament. That's pretty much who was trolling around flag at that time ...maybe you've heard of some of them???

As for adding information about the variations, feel free to go up and there and try to do a right-handed mantel or a two-handed straight-on mantel, instead of doing it the easiest way. Ament referred to his right-handed mantel as "a test of gymnastic strength." Seeing how he had gymnast-like core body strength and gymnastic skills, most of the rest of us end up laughing when we try these things. Keep in mind that these guys wore loafers, hushpuppies and giant boots when they went bouldering, so don't bring your climbing shoes.

These variations were hilarious to me and you may/may not feel the same. For me, one of the best things about visiting historical bouldering/climbing areas is getting on the classic problems, thinking about who went first, why no one did it before, etc. I suspect you are not much of a boulderer (which you admit). That said, many boulderers I know couldn't care less who went first and when.

2 cents more Oct 31, 2003
I don't know shit about bouldering, but do have a question:

you guys really give FA credit to specific movement patterns, rather than routes or variations or the ubiquitious "sit start"? meaning, if I grab the hold a certain way (left-hand vs right-hand mantle) and am the first to hold it like this, I get FA credit? I'm seriously curious (maybe you meant left vs right side of the boulder, each with mantle problems or something?).

shit, suddenly I think I've got lots of firsts, based on how I've grabbed things...

Oct 31, 2003
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
Chip Phillips   Broomfield, CO
Hey Adam, good job adding another historical Flag problem to the database. Kind of funny how this area continues to lag behind. One of these days when the 600+ problem guide gets finished, i'll get around to adding some. Anyway ...

IMHO and in relation to other problems on the Pebble Boulder, this one clicks in around V2/3, being just a bit easier than Bob Poling's The High Step V3, Jim Michael's Sweet Pea V3, Richard Smith's West Overhang V3 and Pat Ament's North Overhang V3/4. I feel its just a hair hair harder than Ament's Direct South Face V2 and quite a bit more difficult than Ament's Southwest Corner V1 and ?'s Southeast Corner V1. That said, I suck at mantels.

As for the FA, I have no idea who did the first left-handed mantel, but Ament did it first right-handed and apparently Holloway did a straight-on two handed mantel.

For your reference, Pat Ament's High Over Boulder 3rd Edition published in 1976 called it "strenuous" B5.10 (regular left-handed mantel) and B5.10+ (right-handed mantel). By and large, B5.10 in Ament's old guides equates to V2. Similarly B5.9 most often equates to V1. Problems originally called B5.8 are often considered V0s. Benningfield called it V2. whatever ... its a cool problem.

my 2 cents Oct 31, 2003