Sixteen years ago Dave Talsky was the proprietor of a rock gym in Mammoth, California. At that time the local climbing shop was selling gear only during summer months—what they considered climbing season. When the shop switched over to winter enthusiasms, they shelved rock shoes for skis, and there was no place for climbers to acquire gear. Dave did a little math and started selling climbing equipment to his customers, climbers who kept it going throughout the year. As the retail side of the gym started outdistancing the gym income, Dave went all in with retail, and in 1996 Mammoth Mountaineering was born.
“The number one thing we are known for would be our status as a committed mountain shop,” says store manager Jon Crowley. “We have all the best product from small unknown manufacturers, as well as the from the big name brands.”
He’s not kidding. The shop itself is swollen with product. Much to the chagrin of employees, Dave packs his store with as much product as possible to ensure customers that they have what they’re looking for. “It’s jam packed with gear,” says Crowley. “There’s stuff hanging from the ceiling, and in corners you wouldn’t think existed.” For the record, Mammoth Mountaineering is the only shop in town to cover all aspects of backcountry skiing and mountaineering.
The staff has their mountain passions. Some chase it on stone; others search for it on snow. “Our staff spends [lots of] time in the mountains, climbing, skiing, hiking,” says Crowley. Mammoth encourages new and old employees alike to experience new products, familiarize themselves with the latest technologies so they can pass on their experiences to the customers. “The more you use something,” Crowley says, “The more you know it, and the better you can explain it to the customer.”
Mammoth Mountaineering also ties a solid knot to the community. The store sponsors many local events, trail runs, road runs, avalanche center events, climbing competitions, crag clean ups—the list is very long. “We used to have a ‘Telebration’, says Crowley, “which was a backcountry ski fest for both Tele and AT skiers. We had avalanche education classes, Tele technique lessons, movies and most popular of all: free demos.” This event has morphed from a weekend at the mountain [resort] to a weeklong event where Mammoth does free demos out of the store.
The town of Mammoth is a departure point for a lifetime of mountain exploration, whether on snow, rock or trail. Dave Talsky knows this, as do his employees. Mammoth Mountaineering aspires to sell quality products by qualified, passionate people. “There’s no filler in our store,” says Crowley, “only excellent equipment and excellent people.”