Hidden treasures make this climbing shop a Boulder landmark
Most residents of Boulder know Neptune Mountaineering for the wide selection of gear and clothing the South Boulder shop offers, but there is a less publicized offering in the store.
In his three decades in Boulder, Gary Neptune has accumulated enough artifacts to make the store a registered historical museum.
The array of tents, backpacks and memorabilia all co-exist in the store. The offerings do not stop there. Also included in the wide scope of items for sale is an extensive book collection, practical, yet fashionable men and women’s clothing and a full range of footwear.
“It is a museum with a really big gift shop,” Neptune said.
Neptune himself has climbed Everest, the Matterhorn in Switzerland and various other classic and first ascent routes internationally. He also has collected a wide range of climbing gear that tells the story of mountaineering history.
“It is really cool that (Neptune) has the memorabilia from the long history of mountaineering, especially in Colorado,” said Winston Voigt, a junior integrative physiology major. “Because of my affection for all things to do with mountaineering, I always check the museum out. The store has a different feeling. It is much more personal.”
The collection includes boots from the first ascent of Everest on Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1953 expedition, a down suit from Peter Habeler’s first ascent of Everest without oxygen and gear from Neptune’s own ascent of Everest.
These items represent the evolution of the gear used in climbing, skiing and high altitude mountaineering. The historical aspect of Neptune Mountaineering is of common interest and not just for climbers.
There is a display of equipment from the last 100 years of technical climbing in Colorado. It contains crampons, nailed boots and ropes from before the advent of nylon. Most advances in mountaineering equipment happened after WWII.
Much of the gear is donated by Neptune’s acquaintances and found in flee markets. He also trades with others who run museums internationally. By going to museum trade shows, he is able to obtain old trade catalogues, according to Neptune.
“I created this to tell a story,” Neptune said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kathleen Straney at Kathleen.Straney@thecampuspress.com.