I wanted to know of any good outdoor shops to buy climbing gear? I am not looking for REI - REI used to be good; now they have turned themselves into a speciality clothing store. Are there any small boutique kind of store that specializes on climbing/hiking gear?
Marmot Mountaineering in Berkeley. It's across the street from the Ashby Bart Station. They're also the only local climbing shoe resolers (at least that I know of) in the Bay Area. The REI in Berkeley also has a much better selection of climbing/mountaineering gear than any other REIs in the Bay Area. For basic rock climbing gear Planet Granite (SF, Belmont, Sunnyvale) has a decent selection.
Redwood Trading Post in Redwood City has a good selection of hiking stuff. I do not believe they have climbing gear, but that may have changed since the last time I really looked around there 5 or so years back.
In the category of "shops on the way to where you are going," Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, WIlson's in Bishop, and Mammoth Mountaineering in Mammoth all have good selections and generally knowledgeable staff. And of course there's always the Yosemite Mountain Shop in Curry Village.