Business of the Week:  Boulder Mountaineering

Bob Culp really knows rock & ice climbing. His long list of accomplishments over the years includes pioneering many first ascents at Eldorado Canyon and elsewhere, and he has traveled the world in search of the best climbs. Naturally, he loves living in Boulder. "This is the best place I've ever been in terms of a place where you can have a normal job and be in close proximity to excellent climbing" he said. "Most climbers want to live in Boulder."

Local places like Eldorado Canyon and the Flatirons are so great because "it's perfect rock, with lots of cracks and good holds, ideally suited for 'trad' climbing and multi-pitch routes, which is the kind of climbing that I prefer. Rocky Mountain National Park has some very good climbs, too" Bob enthused.

Back in 1970, Bob opened The Boulder Mountaineer at the corner of University and Broadway Avenues, where he provided climbers with equipment and expertise for twenty years. Then he decided to sell his shop so that he could devote more time to climbing. But he regretted selling the store and he missed the community atmosphere of it. Now, Bob is back and, along with his son Robert, has newly opened Boulder Mountaineering, in its original building on the Hill.

Bob enjoys working with his son, and he's "glad to be in contact with the climbing community more directly." Along with their expertise, their shop is well-equipped with the latest outdoor gear and climbing apparatus. Bob is particularly excited about a 8.5 mm lead rope that is coming soon, the smallest and lightest rope ever, he says. "I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one of those. Rope technology has improved so much that now you can have a skinny little rope that performs much better than much bigger ropes of years ago. They're lighter to climb with, so you won't have all that weight hanging from you. Newer rope materials also have less friction and won't catch on rocks and stuff as much."

Robert continued: "there is an ultra-light movement across the board for all products. We have ultra-light equipment, clothing, tents, and backpacks that are just a fraction of the weight of what used to be available. New lightweight carabiners are insanely lighter than older ones. Ten or fifteen of them make a big difference."

Boulder Mountaineering also features trail running shoes and clothing, a favorite sport the whole staff engages in. "Steve, our store manager, runs the Leadville 100 Trail Race every year," Bob said. In addition, they will soon have an extensive line of Osprey backpacks that are highly customizable for an excellent fit; they personally mold the hip belts for a much more comfortable backpacking experience. Custom boot fitting is also available, tailored just for you.

And if that's not enough, Bob gives climbing instruction, on rocks and ice. He's planning more, including a number of packages for beginners, and guided trips locally and internationally. You can find more information regarding his guided climbs at his website, The store's website,, will be operational soon.

Contact Bob and Robert at Boulder Mountaineering at 303-444-2470, or visit them at 1335B Broadway, which is the southwest corner of Broadway and University, on the Hill in Boulder.

By Jeff Pistana

Originally published in the Colorado Daily newspaper on Feb. 22, 2006.
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copyright Jeff Pistana