Return to glory: Neptune Mountaineering is stronger than ever under new ownership
On a Thursday night in Boulder, hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts crowd into crooked rows of metal folding chairs amid shelves of shoes, racks of sleeping bags, and a wall modeled after Eldorado Canyon and the Flatirons. They’ve paid $5 to watch a screening of Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, drink free beer, and get a chance at some Patagonia swag being raffled off.
The excitement is oddly electric, for a cheap night out in the back of a gear shop, watching a year-old documentary about a gruff climber with witty one-liners. But this is what Neptune Mountaineering is all about. This is the community that came back day after day through Neptune’s toughest year, scouring empty shelves to find something, anything, to buy to keep the shop alive while its parent company fought bankruptcy. This is the fiercely loyal customer base of climbers who still, in the age of smartphones and Mountain Project and Instagram, come in to a retail shop in South Boulder for advice, a latte, a paper map, and a place to hang out. It’s probably no surprise that these are also the same folks who proudly put a Walmart grocery store out of business last year.