Our Story

An image of Neptune Mountaineering founder Gary Neptune on top of the Salathe Wall, 1974

On April 1, 1973, Gary Neptune first opened the doors to his little shop in the university town of Boulder, Colorado. In the beginning, the shop primarily repaired climbing and ski boots, and also installed edges on wooden skis and re-shafted ice axes. Gary surrounded himself with a staff of fellow adventurers fueled by the same passions and set about creating a shop run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.


A photo of Gary Neptune in the original Neptune Mountaineering Store
 Gary Neptune in the Original Neptune Mountaineering Store


In 2013, Gary retired when he sold Neptune Mountaineering to another retailer and it never regained its status as a great store. However, in 2017, local Boulder residents, Andrew and Shelley Dunbar purchased Neptune Mountaineering and the store went through a radical transformation and it now has a great feel and community connection again. The new store (in the same location) brings together a modern design aesthetic along with the rad history of gear and mountain stories Gary always had as a part of Neptune. Once again Neptune Mountaineering had become a locally-owned, independent, single location brick and mortar retail shop.  

An image depicting part of Neptune Mountaineering since its renovation

In 2021, Neptune was acquired by another legacy shop, Ute Mountaineer based in Aspen, owned by a fellow climbing family with a decades-long connection to Neptune. 

New owner, Maile Spung's father, Bob Wade, has a history with Neptune that dates back to 1976 when he lived in Boulder and had Gary fix a pack he was taking on his trip to climb the North Face of the Eiger with Jamie Logan. After that trip, Bob helped Bob Culp start the Boulder Mountaineer in Aspen (which then became the Ute Mountaineer).

This deep connection to the Boulder community was important to Shelley and Andrew Dunbar. They wanted someone who understands what it takes to build an outstanding outdoor specialty shop that excels in serving its community.
While ownership may have changed hands, Neptune will stay true to its roots ... a rich history, an amazing selection of gear, and in-depth knowledge of the things important to our community.

The staff at Neptune continue to seek out perfect rock, fresh snow, and dizzying heights all around the world. From the very beginning, Gary Neptune's easy-going and informal approach attracted many fellow enthusiasts over the years, and that culture continues today. Hands-on experience is important and playtime a necessity. And sharing that passion for "all things outdoor" with new adventurers or fellow enthusiasts is what the staff LOVES doing!




Return to Neptune - Boulder Weekly—May 5, 2022

Outside Business Journal, March 2022

Outdoor Retailer, December 2021

Outside Business Journal, February 2017