In the tiny town of Bishop, California, in sight of the Sierra Mountains, and just a 30 minute drive from the famed Buttermilk bouldering, you’ll find the 6,000-square-foot Wilsons Eastside Sports, a core gear shop with over 20 years of history. Rick Wheeler founded Wilsons Eastside as a shoe repair shop in 1977. It has since evolved into a full mountain store, with James Wilson (whose words appear below) joining in 1979.
What role has Wilsons Eastside Sports played in the local climbing community? We’ve always employed climbers. The shop started out resoling climbing and telemark ski boots, and we did that until the late 1990s. We sold that business to Tony Puppo, the head repairman, who moved across the street and called his business the Rubber Room.
Talk about some of the events you’ve hosted. We sponsor the Banff Film Festival traveling show every year. And we’ve done many slide shows in the past, with people like Warren Harding and John Sherman.
What’s your claim to fame? Fame. You only get 15 minutes and mine is almost gone. I’ve been climbing in the same community for over 30 years. I even started climbing in the Buttermilks, when there were no chalk marks.
What climbing areas are close to the shop? The Buttermilks and Happy Boulders are the closest, as well as Owens River Gorge (all less than 30 minutes). Lots of High-Sierra alpine, with trailheads only 30 to 60 minutes away. The Alabama Hills are about an hour away, and Tuolumne Meadows, in the summer, is about 1.5 hours.
Is there a philosophy behind Wilsons Eastside Sports? Tell the truth. Be helpful. Be fair. Go outside: life is outside.
CONTACT:eastsidesports.com 760-873-7520 224 North Main St. Bishop, CA 93514