No Joke. Alpine Shop Purchased 41 years Ago on April 1, 1978

One of the original signs from Mooers Alpine, Alpine Shop’s predecessor.

In 1973, a local St. Louis climber and Army Map Service employee, Bob Mooers, author of “Finding Your Way in the Outdoors” (still available used at Alibris, 99¢ and up), convinced Chouinard Equipment to open him as a dealer. So Bob started a climbing shop – in a small room upstairs from the home winemaking shop he was moonlighting on the side. It took one month for climbing to outsell winemaking, which was then abandoned in a move to a new, larger space.

Five years later, “Mooers Alpine” was thriving, but Mooers was looking to sell and move to the Northwest.

A 45-year-old customer of his from that exact same area of the country had come to St. Louis to work in the city’s banking and finance industry. A change-in-leadership at the company he worked for had soured Russell “Holly” Hollenbeck on that field though, and he considered himself a “fugitive” from corporate life. While skiing at Snowbird in Utah during the winter of 1977, Hollenbeck broached the subject of purchasing Mooers Alpine with his family. On April 1, 1978, “Mooers Alpine” became “Alpine Shop” with Hollenbeck as the new owner.

The original hand-carved sign from the first “Alpine Shop” after Hollenbeck purchased the store from Bob Mooers still hangs behind the counter at our now 18,000 square foot flagship store in St. Louis.

41 years later, climbing is still at our core, but over the years we have added gear, clothing, events and clinics for almost every type of outdoor enthusiast, from backpackers, hikers, campers, paddlers, and cyclists, to snowboarders and skiers, at four locations in Missouri and Kansas.

Alpine Shop Kirkwood’s collection of historic climbing gear, cleared from big walls in Yosemite National Park by friend-of-the-Shop Rich Copeland. Copeland died in a fall in Yosemite in 2014 and the outpouring of tributes was truly amazing.

Chouinard Equipment morphed into Great Pacific Iron Works which went on to become Black Diamond and Patagonia. Our first supplier remains our largest and one of our most admired.

After 45 years in the business, it is Alpine Shop’s Vision to see Generations Transformed by Discovery Outdoors.