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bballer44

Portland gear shops

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What are some of the better gear shops in the Portland area? Which shops have the best personnel to answer questions and give good advice? What shops have the best prices, discounts, used gear, selection, etc?

thanks cool.gif" border="0

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My favorite shop is Next Adventure on SE Grand at about Stark (that's 5 blocks south of Burnside), on the east side of the street. They have tons of used/closeout stuff, and some new gear (don't go here expecting to find everything you'd ever want, but it's a cool enough place that I make a trip through every week or two). The place is like a museum of old gear too, it's all on display on the walls. If you meet Deek or Brian, the owners, tell them I sent you.

For a good selection of the latest/greatest climbing specific gear, I prefer ClimbMax on SE Division at around 20th, north side of the street. It's less than 2 miles from my house. They carry all the usual suspects, and are a US distributor for Kong and a few other euros companies. There's always a 3 part "bargain bin" in there with like a $5/$10/$15 section. I've picked up a bunch of lockers and some pins from their bins as well as an Alien hybrid once. If Monique is working the counter, tell her to have fun on her east coast trip.

Being in the 'Couv, there's an REI at Jantzen Beach Center, that's your closest bet. OMC - the Oregon Mt Community, is a store downtown in the Chinatown area, located at about NW 1st and Davis (couple blocks north of Burnside) they've got tons of gear.

My other favorite shop, with very cool staff is the US Outdoor Store on Broadway, just a couple blocks south of Burnside. They don't have the best pack selection, but everything else is there. Gavin Ferguson,the climbing buyer is a good guy and in the know. Tell him I sent ya.

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What about Oregon Mountain Community? Other that being a pain to find amidst the one-way streets and no-turn intersections of downtown Portland, I found the shop to be well-stocked and staffed with knowedgable people who use the gear they sell.

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I'll put in seconds on ClimbMax and Next Adventure for their deals. ClimbMax is currently having a 15% off sale. Fun little store. Next Adventure has some decent used gear every now and then, the staff is great. OMC (Oregon Mountain Community) is a good shop but pricey. Mountain Shop on NE Broadway blows chunks.

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quote:

Originally posted by b-rock:
Mountain Shop on NE Broadway blows chunks.

My feelings as well, but I just want to clarify for the original poster, the Mountain Shop on NE Broadway is actually named "The Mountain Shop", this is not to be confused with the US Outdoor Store, which I mentioned above, also on Broadway but downtown, rather than in NE.

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Hardly to let a thread pass without at least one voice of dissent: I think The Mountain Shop rules with respect to ski mountaineering info and equipment. Oregon Mountain Community is my second choice, with Climb Max usually being my first choice for rock gear. I almost never go to REI.

I think U.S. Outdoor Store blows. No backcountry ski gear and maybe two/three people in the whole store who know anything about climbing--in my experience. Perhaps I just hit them on bad days? I still go there to compare prices.

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Can't argue with you there Rob, I don't do the ski-mtneering thing so I was talking strictly about the rock/ice thing. If you go to US Outdoor, and want a non-gumby to help ask for Gavin, he's done some "real" wall stuff in Zion and Yos. They are much more of a snowboard/overpriced outdoor-wear store than a climbing shop though.

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About Gavin at US Outdoor, I have no doubt that he knows his shit, but anyone else find him inattentive when talking with him?

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i agree that mountain shop on NE broadway doesn't suck and that us outdoor on SW broadway does suck. rob is right about the backcountry skiing being mountain shop's strength.

omc carries quality gear, but i find their staff to be self-righteous and even condescending.

i think next adventure is kind of, well, silly. they do have some decent deals i guess. a lot of the stuff is crap, however. i have also heard of them showing up to swaps such as the mazama's used gear sale and grabbing up a lot of stuff and marking it up at their store.

finally, the patagonia store on nw irving is cool if only because of their commitment to the environment, etc.

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I'm with Will on his assessment of US Outdoor as an overpriced apparel store. HOWEVER, I got a ladies ratagonia shell jacket there once for a song. It pays to shop around.

I rarely rely on the sales staff of a gear shop for beta on the equipment. I do my research before I ever go into the shops. Sometimes you can obtain route info from the staff, but again I rarely rely on it alone.

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quote:

Originally posted by crack addict:
finally, the patagonia store on nw irving is cool if only because of their commitment to the environment, etc.

The only climbing gear they carry are over-priced jackets and pants you could possibly fill with snow and use as bollards. Hell, they didn't even have bibs when I was in there Friday.

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Ok, some clarification on my thoughts. The Mountain Shop (on NE Broadway) is alright for BC ski. Some good gear and good people. Not bad on sale. DH skis, clothing, forgetaboutit, that's where they make their dough of the rich NE pricks. I have found some of the people there are helpful, but mostly condescending and/or fat. This is the closest gear store to my house, so I do still frequent them. Whatever.

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That's a good point Maurice, I guess I view it from a standpoint of who am I likely to have things in common with, might actually climb with, burn one with etc.

I come from a position of not generally needing or wanting the opinions of the shop personell. Helpful stuff for me tends to run along the lines of turning me on to the lesser known areas, beta on what ice is in, etc. It certainly is a different scenario when you're going in to BS and maybe pick up a few things you already know you need compared to a newbie looking for solid advice.

The poster did ask about which shops are helpful with advice etc, so I think your point is well taken. Although I must say, REI is typically at the other end of the spectrum, people jumping on you to dispense their sage wisdom rolleyes.gif" border="0 I prefer to relax and wait for the dirtbags/stoners to get a free minute than to fight off the REI gapers.

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I don't take too much to heart at REI, I've worked in an outdoor shop and I would get jumped on by my boss if I did not jump on the customers, which I had no desire to do. Like Safeway were the employees are forced to greet everyone.I think it is nice that at US Outdoor they don't jump on you quite as much, especially upstairs. If one will ask a question though they should got an honest and thoughtful response, but I've wondered some persons commitment to this. Do they get tired of people who want to go from day hiker to mountaineer in one weekend or just not care or what?

Also, my vote is for US Outdoor, hit the 50 off racks in the front and go no further. I don't really seek advice since most of it is dubious.My vote for the worst advice: The backpack section of Au Vieux Campeur in Paris.

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This a funny topic for Portlanders, because I don't how many timbes I've sat at the Horse Brass and ranted about the pricks you have to deal with in some of shops in town (mostly because I had nothing else to talk about). Climbax is clearly the place to go for climbing gear. The always have stuff marked a bit lower than the other stores, and they have the Euro gear you won't find anywhere else in town. I second the comment on the Mountain Shop having b-c skiing gear. After that, I think its really just a crap shoot as to whether you get a young arrogant punk who hasn't been outside in a year or someone cool who knows what their doing and can help. I've heard plenty of horror stories about US Outdoor, Mountain Shop and OMC. REI sux [Moon] for gear.

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wow. thanks for all your advice. i am also tired of rei's personnel and lack of climbing equipment. us outdoor is too overpriced and full of unknowledgeable sales staff, the upstairs is nice though. i will have to try next adventure and climbmax this week. omc i have heard is a good place to get gear.im new to climbing routes other than dog routes up the mountain and need to add more technical gear to my pile. also any advice on some harder routes on mt hood or adams.

thanks a lot for all the posts

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The Mountain Shop had no problem replacing my defective Ascension skins when the glue started peeling off and I didn't have to press them for a replacement pair while mine were sent in for warranty. The proactively called me to offer me a new pair. Way cool. They've got my business (partially because I live a few blocks away). Funny, there is ALWAYS someone in there buying some full space-age telemark package at full retail in there every time I go though. Some people are loaded.

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Have to get in my two cents:

Climb Max is the real deal. More gear than clothes.

OMC sucks completely. There is maybe one guy in there worth talking to. Here's a good example: In 1990, while making $4/hr, I saved up enough to buy a full set of Friends & biners. I walk in the next day, the same guy that sold me the stuff is acting like he doesn't know me when I have a couple questions, and then the owner acts like it's a big goddamned deal to get me a block of chalk. I would sooner order everything mail order than give them my business again. Maybe if you're a West Hills hottie with d-cups looking for a four season North Face tent to take to the coast, it's the right place for you to shop. Anyone else could get better service at the DMV.

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Rereading my last post, it sounded really stupid where I said my vote was for USOutdoor. What I wanted to say was that one should go there and get the sale stuff and leave because they suck and get some Arcteryx for half off.

I think they all kinda suck, they each have a couple of high points and lots of low points.

The best shop overall has got to be Andy and Bax, everyone should have a slung de-activated hand grenade on their rack.

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I have found the People at The Mountain Shop to be real and knowledgeable when I have gone in there. There is a girl in there that wears some buddy holly-like glasses and a guy with bushy sandy hair that excellent for asking questions on gear or routes. In fact the dude (can't remember his name) sold me a pair of his personnal Kaukulator's for 35 bucks.

If you see Monique at Climax tell her I'll see her in Indian Creek next week.

-Karsten

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quote:

Originally posted by dharmabum:
. . .In 1990, while making $4/hr, I saved up enough to buy a full set of Friends & biners. I walk in the next day, the same guy that sold me the stuff is acting like he doesn't know me when I have a couple questions, and then the owner acts like it's a big goddamned deal to get me a block of chalk. . .

Hmmm. . lets see, 2002-1990=12 years. Awful long time to be harboring a grudge because a retailer didn't suck your dick after you spent $150.

Like someone else said, they all have their good points and their bad points. Its a business, not a mutual admiration society. Thats what this board is for, no?

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You think the gear shops in Portland suck - try Eugene. REI is only good for buying gear that you think you may have to return because of their liberal return policy. Plus, they occasionally have some okay sales.

There tends to be a high "duuuude" factor among the male employees. You will get some unmotivated stoner dude or some other guy that's way too cocky for their lack of experience. You will go in there knowing exactly what you need (and why) but then you will catch some unsolicited advice or criticism from an employee that doesn't completely know what they are talking about.

McKenzie Outfitters sucks too, but they are even worse than REI. I wish they would go out of business so a better store could take their place. The best store in town is BackCountry Gear on Madison (BackCountryGear.com). Mike offers great advice and is very helpful. Unfortunately, their sales are predominantly web based , so they don't have much retail space for browsing. Hopefully they will move the store one day and have more retail space.

Because of the lack of selection in Eugene, I end up going to Portland whenever I need to make a major purchase. I disagree with everyone that says USOutdoor has high prices. In fact, they are typically lower than any other gear shop in town. In fact, other retailers have complained to manufacturers because USOutdoor sells items lower than the MSRP. USOutdoor does suck. I have never received any good advice (when I asked them for it and when it was unsolicited). The only reason to go in there is to check out their sale and clearance items. They do have some of the best deals in town if you are willing to deal with the high "dude" factor.

I have shopped at OMC, and I have always received good advice. However, it seems like they never put anything on sale, ever. I have always received good advice when I have asked for it. It seems like they know their stuff. I have only been to MountainShop once, and I had a very good experience. I'll probably go back. And, I'll have to check out ClimbMAx the next time I am in PDX.

So in short, USOutdoor really, really sucks, but they have good prices at times. OMC and MountainShop are pretty good. And, ClimbMax seems to have a good reputation.

And Redpoint is pretty good too...

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Just thought I would chime in some Kudos for the US Outdoor Store, with the Holiday season on I have been in and out of there several times in the last month .... service upstairs in the climbing shop IMO is better than ever ... yesterday I picked up a new anitbot set for my Grade 8's for only $24, granted the Grade 8's are no longer in production but I have seen many shops still expecting you to pay MRSP. All DMM TCU's are @ $30 and FCU's are around $38 ... I was however a little disappointed after writing out my check the dim wit at the cash register had forgotten to ring up the #3 bugaboo .... all and all I think they have improved

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Opinions are like assholes, eveyone has one. My vote goes to the Mt. shop on NE Broadway. I suggest going to all of the shops in town and find one that works for you.

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