Anyone who’s ever stepped into Neptune Mountaineering knows that they’ve entered not just an outdoor shop, but also a bastion to mountaineering and adventure. Founded in 1973, Gary Neptune originally opened his doors to help skiers and climbers fix their boots. Since then Neptune, which is right down the road from SCARPA North America headquarters in Boulder, Colo., has become one of the most celebrated hubs for all forms of alpinism, climbing, skiing and backcountry travel.
Gary Neptune himself is an accomplished climber and skier with ascents and descents throughout the world. His staff is of that cloth too. Along with his employees, Neptune’s combined knowledge and experience is encyclopedic, and customers get nothing short of bona fide beta and info when it comes to the performance of a jacket, the durability of a shoe, or the nuances of a particular route in the Karakorum.
Store Manager James Fulton, who himself has spent time guiding in the Himalaya, marvels at the store’s recycling talent. “A few workers have gone on to write guidebooks that we now sell in the store,” he says. “The resumés that continually come through the door are impressive.” That authenticity is a virtue to their customers, and like good climbing partners, their relationships are built by an implicit trust.
For that reason Neptune somehow draws people in who gel, which creates a proactive, thriving work environment. “I love being with the people who work here,” says Fulton, who’s currently awaiting Gary’s return from a trip so he can chat with him about a possible new hire with a myriad of outdoor experience. “More than that,” he says, “I want Gary to meet him because he was such a humble, nice guy—perfect for this place.”
Neptune Mountaineering isn’t just a store; it’s a museum, and artifacts of climbing and skiing history adorn the store’s walls. Pictures and maps abound, while an evolution of gear stretches the length of the shop. Leather strapped crampons, wood shaft picks and axes, steel carabiners, cordage, hardware — the progression of equipment can send anyone’s imagination reeling.
One major benefit to Neptune’s patrons can be realized at one of the long-standing Thursday night slideshows. Alpinists from around the globe have made their pilgrimage to Boulder to inspire fellow mountaineers and aspiring enthusiasts with their tales from the hills. For more than 30 years alpinists like Bonington, Messner, Korr—the list is long—have provided the motivation and drive for adventure. And it’s free to all.
SCARPA is proud to be part of the history of adventure. We like celebrating the people and places that shape and color our way of life. We’re most definitely grateful to the brand fans at the consumer level who buy our footwear season after season to pursue the outdoor sports they love, but another group very close to our team is the specialty retailers that make our products available to the public. These merchants all have unique stories, teams and roots that run as deep as those of the SCARPA brand. Our Retailer of the Month feature here on the SCARPA blog is designed to shed a little more light on why we work with the retailers that we do here at SCARPA North America, and what you’ll find going on behind the counter at some of the nation’s best specialty shops.