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The Garden
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
B Boys, The T,S 
Before The Deluge S 
Border Crossing T,S 
Crackdown T,S 
Dutch Treat T 
Fine Fir T,S 
Just Do It T,S 
Showtime T 
Smooth Operator T,S 
Storm Warning TR 

Smooth Operator 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Bob D'Antonio and Ron Olsen, 8/12/07
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,457
Submitted By: Orphaned on Sep 21, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (4)
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  • Description 

    Smooth Operator is the hardest route in The Garden. It is a variation to the last pitch of The B Boys, going up a hard face and merging with the last pitch of Local Hero, below its crux roof.

    P1: Start by climbing Crackdown, Before The Deluge, or Fine Fir to their common anchor on a pedestal about 65' up. Crackdown is the suggested start.

    P2: (The B Boys): Traverse right from the belay to a thin seam/ thin gear and then clip a bolt. Make a hard move to a good edge/flake and then climb up and right to a two-bolt belay. 5.10+, 50'.

    P3: (Smooth Operator): Climb up and right on a steep smooth wall above the belay, making hard moves past two bolts. Angle right to the slab below the roof on the last pitch of Local Hero. Follow that route to the top of the pinnacle. 5.11+, 100'.

    Descent: Rappel 95' down to the anchor at the start of P3, then rappel 110' down a gully to the start of Local Hero. A 60m rope works with a bit of easy downclimbing. Go up a steep path to the left to get back to The Garden.

    Alternate descent: You can angle the second rappel sharply to the left to reach The Garden after 95'.


    The Garden area.

    Eds. the beta photo has been deleted by its submitter.


    P2: 1 bolt and thin gear (small cams). 2-bolt anchor.

    P3: ~8 bolts and gear to a #2 Camalot. 2-bolt anchor.

    Comments on Smooth Operator Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Mark Ferguson
    Sep 30, 2009

    Bob/Ron, The 11+ rating on this must be a mistake. Not in anyone's wildest dreams would this route be 11+. I think 11- is a stretch even by Boulder Canyon standards. It is a decent route, but 10+ is a more honest rating. Consider other 11+'s in the Boulder area: Englishman's Home, La Boomerang, The Contest (I could list many others). Compared to these routes, this one is a walk in the park.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Sep 30, 2009
    rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

    That's really odd. I'm used to downgrading their routes a few letter grades, but I found this one particularly perplexing and insecure. I hung on it. So, both in my wildest dreams, and in reality, I nodded to the 11+ grade on it.
    For what it's worth, I onsighted Le Boomerang and The Contest without much trouble, and recently onsighted or flashed 5.12 on other climbs with established consensus grades, but this one gave me a fit, and my partner had trouble, too.

    Perhaps you unlocked a sequence that they, nor I, could find. In which case, good on you. Got beta?
    By Jay Eggleston
    From: Denver
    Aug 4, 2013
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    I think this climb is a 5.11, not a 5.10+. I think it is about 11a in difficulty. It took me several tries to figure out the initial moves.
    By Dougald MacDonald
    Aug 16, 2015
    rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

    If you have a rack, you can add some real value to this pitch by climbing straight up and a little left after the crux, moving through a couple of overlaps with good trad pro. Roughly hard 5.10 with some balance-y moves and lichen. After that it only makes sense to join the bolted line (or continue on trad up the easy groove). This variation roughly doubles the independent stretch of Smooth Operator, and it's very interesting climbing.

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