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.