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Mantels are the sleeper cruxes of the climbing world. In route climbing, mantels are rarely the physical crux of a route, but they demand finesse and technical precision—and will spit you off the moment your attention wavers. That was the case for Sean Franklin, anyway, on the infamous topout of Brain Child (5.12c), at Donner Summit’s Snowshed Wall.
“I had climbed this route many times and was quite familiar with this section,” Franklin wrote to us, “but with familiarity comes contempt.” Franklin nails the crimpy crux and latches a good edge out left. He rocks up and presses down on the topout holds—“really just slightly flatter spots on the [45-degree] rock”—but his left foot greases off before he can establish himself on the slab. The fall is airy, clean, and exciting: everything we love to see in a Weekend Whipper!
Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.