Black Diamond Equipment

Last updated

Black Diamond Equipment
Type Public company
Nasdaq:  CLAR
Industry Climbing and skiing equipment
FoundedDecember 1, 1989;32 years ago (December 1, 1989)
Headquarters Holladay, Utah, US
Key people
John Walbrecht, President
Parent Clarus Corporation
Chouinard Equipment Company, Ventura, California, 1969. Left to right: Tom Frost, Dorene Frost, Tony Jessen, Dennis Henneck, Terry King, Yvon Chouinard, Merle, and Davey Agnew. Tom Frost - Skunkworks - 1969.jpg
Chouinard Equipment Company, Ventura, California, 1969. Left to right: Tom Frost, Dorene Frost, Tony Jessen, Dennis Henneck, Terry King, Yvon Chouinard, Merle, and Davey Agnew.

Black Diamond Equipment is a manufacturer of equipment for climbing, skiing, and mountain sports, based in Utah, United States. The company also has a global office in Innsbruck, Austria. The company is owned by Clarus Corporation, which also owns Pieps, ClimbOn! Skincare, and Sierra Bullets. [1] [2]



Black Diamond Equipment's history dates from the late 1950s, when climber Yvon Chouinard began hand-forging pitons and selling them from the trunk of his car in Yosemite Valley. Chouinard's pitons quickly gained a reputation for quality, and Chouinard Equipment was born soon after in Ventura, California. [3]

In early 1989, after several product-liability lawsuits and a continued lack of profitability, Yvon Chouinard placed the company in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [4] Black Diamond was founded on December 1, 1989, when the assets of Chouinard Equipment Ltd. were purchased by a group of former company employees led by (now former CEO) Peter Metcalf, and a few outside investors. Metcalf moved the company and its 45 employees from Ventura, California to the Salt Lake City, Utah area in September 1991 to be closer to the climbing and skiing opportunities provided by the Wasatch Mountains. [5]

In 1996, Black Diamond Equipment Europe was established in Reinach, Switzerland, making Black Diamond products more widely available throughout Europe. In 2006, Black Diamond Equipment Asia was established in Zhuhai, China to serve as both a secondary manufacturing facility, as well as a global distribution hub. In May 2010, Black Diamond Equipment was acquired for $90 million by Clarus Corporation. The resulting corporation was renamed and is now publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the name CLAR. [6]

In 2015, Black Diamond announced they would be expanding their Utah manufacturing facility. [7] In 2016, they announced they would be moving their European headquarters from Reinach to Innsbruck in Austria. [8]


Black Diamond Equipment design and manufacture products for climbing, skiing, and mountain sports. Climbing products include carabiners, quickdraws, harnesses, active and passive climbing protection, belay devices, helmets, ice tools and piolets, crampons, ice screws, bouldering pads, and big wall equipment. They also produce skiing and avalanche safety equipment. The company's mountain products include tents and shelters, lighting, trekking poles, and backpacks.

Over the years, Black Diamond has acquired and integrated several gear companies into its line, including Bibler tents (1997), Ascension climbing skins (1999), and Franklin climbing products (1998). In 2010, they acquired Gregory Mountain Products, a manufacturer of backpacks, but later sold it to luggage maker Samsonite in 2014. [9]

Notable Black Diamond products include spring-loaded camming devices called Camalot and Magnetron carabiners, auto-locking carabiners that use magnets in the gate, and a steel insert in the carabiner's nose for added security. [10]

As is common in safety-equipment industries, Black Diamond have issued many product recalls following safety concerns. [11]

Social justice and environmentalism

When the Instagram page of Black Diamond posted a black page in solidarity with anti–police violence protesters on June 5, 2020, in which Black Diamond pledged $250,000 to support access to the outdoors by athletes of color, the company acknowledged it was aware of "widespread concerns" about its "association" with Clarus Corporation chief executive Warren Kanders, who also leads Safariland, the company which manufactured the tear gas widely used against peaceful protesters. [12] Activists have called for a boycott of Black Diamond over these ties, which has been embraced by various climbing-related organizations. [13] Safariland announced the divestiture of its crowd control products divisions, including tear gas, on June 9, 2020. [14] The Clarus Corporation also faced criticism for a lack of diversity from pension fund giant CalPERS, who recommended in June 2020 that Clarus shareholders vote against re-electing executive chairman and largest shareholder Warren Kanders and two other board members. [15] CalPERS owns 52,000 shares [16] out of approximately 29,759,000 outstanding shares, [17] or 0.175 percent. On June 9, 2020, Warren Kanders and other board members were re-elected to the board of directors. [18]

Black Diamond's parent the Clarus Corporation also owns ammunition company Sierra Bullets. In 2018, the company monitored discussions regarding the role of guns in the outdoor industry for boycotts. [19]

Former [20] Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf had a history of political advocacy for both the outdoor industry and the public lands of Utah, and united with other outdoor companies against policies that threaten public lands and outdoor recreation. [21] [22]

Black Diamond says that they recycle as much waste as possible, make substantial use of wind and solar power, and support environmental non-profit bodies. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

Spring-loaded camming device Piece of rock climbing or mountaineering protection equipment

A spring-loaded camming device is a piece of rock climbing or mountaineering protection equipment. It consists of two, three, or four cams mounted on a common axle or two adjacent axles, so that pulling on the axle forces the cams to spread farther apart. This is then attached to a sling and carabiner at the end of the stem. The SLCD is used by pulling on the "trigger" so the cams retract together, then inserting it into a crack or pocket in the rock and releasing the trigger to allow the cams to expand. A pull on the rope, such as that generated by a climber falling, will cause a properly placed SLCD to convert the pulling force along the stem of the unit into outwards pressure on the rock, generating massive amounts of friction and preventing the removal of the unit from the rock. Because of the large forces which are exerted on the rock when an SLCD is fallen on, it is very important that SLCDs are only placed in solid, strong rock.

Traditional climbing Style of rock climbing

Traditional climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which the climber places all the necessary protection gear required to arrest any falls as they are climbing, and then removes it when the pitch is complete. Traditional bolted aid climbing means the bolts were placed while on lead and/or with hand drills. Traditional climbing carries a higher level of risk than bolted sport climbing, as the climber may not have placed the safety equipment correctly while trying to ascend the route; for some of the world's hardest climbs, there may not be sufficient cracks or features in the rock that can accept protection gear, and the climb can only be safely attempted by bolting as a sport climb.

Glossary of climbing terms List of definitions of terms and concepts related to rock climbing and mountaineering

This glossary of climbing terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon related to rock climbing and mountaineering. The specific terms used can vary considerably between different English-speaking countries; many of the phrases described here are particular to the United States and the United Kingdom.

REI American consumer cooperative

Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. It is organized as a consumers' co-operative. REI sells sports equipment, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing. It also offers services such as outdoor-oriented vacations and courses.

Nut (climbing)

In rock climbing, a nut is a metal wedge threaded on a wire that climbers use for protection by wedging it into a crack in the rock. Quickdraws are clipped to the nut wire by the ascending climber and the rope threads through the quickdraw. Nuts come in a variety of sizes and styles, and several different brands are made by competing manufacturers. Most nuts are made of aluminum. Larger nuts may be threaded on Dyneema cord instead of wire, but this has become unusual.


In climbing, a piton is a metal spike that is driven into a crack or seam in the climbing surface with a climbing hammer, and which acts as an anchor to either protect the climber against the consequences of a fall or to assist progress in aid climbing. Pitons are equipped with an eye hole or a ring to which a carabiner is attached; the carabiner can then be directly or indirectly attached to a climbing rope.

Yvon Chouinard American mountain climber

Yvon Chouinard is an American rock climber, environmentalist, and outdoor industry billionaire businessman. His company, Patagonia, is known for its environmental focus.

Royal Robbins American rock climber (1935–2017)

Royal Robbins was one of the pioneers of American rock climbing. After learning to climb at Tahquitz Rock, he went on to make first ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite. As an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing, he, along with Yvon Chouinard, was instrumental in changing the climbing culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s by encouraging the use and preservation of the natural features of the rock. He went on to become a well-known kayaker.

Fitz Roy Mountain in the Southern Andes; part of the Argentina-Chile border

Monte Fitz Roy is a mountain in Patagonia, on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, near El Chaltén village and Viedma Lake. It was first climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone.

Bob Kamps

Bob Kamps was an American rock climber whose climbing career spanned five decades. Born in Wisconsin, he began climbing in California in 1955, and was a member of that cadre of Yosemite pioneers who first ascended many of its great walls in the 1950s and 1960s. He was particularly adept on steep rock faces, and was among the first to shift attention from aid climbing to free climbing. Over the years he made more than 3,100 climbs. Many were first ascents or first free ascents.

History of rock climbing

The following is an overview of the history of rock climbing including its origins in Europe, and a compilation of notable events in the development of the sport.

Patagonia, Inc. is an American retailer of outdoor clothing. It was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 and is based in Ventura, California.

Sheridan Andreas Mulholland Anderson was an American outdoorsman, fly fisherman, author, and illustrator.

CAMP (company)

CAMP manufactures equipment for climbing and associated activities such as ski mountaineering and industrial safety. The company is based in Italy.

Hex (climbing)

A hex is an item of rock-climbing equipment used to protect climbers from falls. They are intended to be wedged into a crack or other opening in the rock, and do not require a hammer to place. They were developed as an alternative to pitons, which are hammered into cracks, damaging the rock. Most commonly, a carabiner will be used to join the hex to the climbing rope by means of a loop of webbing, cord or a cable which is part of the hex.

Tom Frost American rock climber (1936–2018)

Thomas "Tom" M. Frost was an American rock climber known for big wall climbing first ascents in Yosemite Valley. He was also a photographer and climbing equipment manufacturer. Frost was born in Hollywood, California, and died in Oakdale, California.

Jerry Gallwas American rock climber (born 1936)

Jerry Gallwas is an American rock climber active in the 1950s during the dawn of the Golden Age of Yosemite Rock Climbing. He achieved a number of pioneering first ascents including sandstone spires in the American Southwest, and the first ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome with Royal Robbins and Mike Sherrick in 1957. Gallwas made his own heat-treated chrome-molybdenum steel alloy pitons, which contributed to the success of the climb.

Vista Outdoor American manufacturing company

Vista Outdoor Inc. is an American designer, manufacturer, and marketer of outdoor sports and recreation products. It operates in two markets: shooting sports and outdoor products. It is a "house of brands" with more than 40 labels and subsidiaries. It trades under "VSTO" on the New York Stock Exchange. Vista Outdoor is the parent company to many ammunition makers, including Federal, CCI, and Remington.

Hannah Black is a visual artist, critic, and writer. Her work spans video, text and performance. She is best known for her open letter written with Ciarán Finlayson and Tobi Haslett, The Tear Gas Biennial, criticizing co-chair of the board of the Whitney Museum, Warren Kanders, and his toxic philanthropy which comes from selling tear gas and other weapons via Safariland. The letter prompted artists to withdraw works from the 2019 Whitney Biennial.

Rose Marcario is the former CEO of outdoor apparel company Patagonia. She joined the company in 2008 as CFO, and Patagonia's profits have tripled since then. After she was hired, she evaluated Patagonia's production processes and revised them to be more environmentally friendly, by eliminating waste and excess packaging materials.


  1. Mike Gorell (May 10, 2010). "Utah's Black Diamond Equipment sold for $90 million". Salt Lake Tribune . Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  2. "Black Diamond Completes Sale of POC to Investcorp for $65 Million". August 10, 2015.
  3. "Company History: Beginnings and Blacksmithery". Patagonia. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  4. "Suits Force Mountain Gear Firm to File for Bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times. May 11, 1989. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  5. Peter Metcalf (April 1, 1995). "Lessons Learned". Inc Magazine . Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  6. Black Diamond (August 10, 2017). "Press Release: Black Diamond, Inc. to Change Name to Clarus Corporation". Clarus Corporation. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  7. "Black Diamond is Here to Stay". Utah Policy. February 16, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  8. Black Diamond (January 14, 2016). "Black Diamond Equipment Relocates European Headquarters and Appoints Tim Bantle to Managing Director". Yahoo Finance. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  9. "Black Diamond sells Gregory to Samsonite". SNews. June 19, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  10. David Crothers (July 13, 2011). "New Magnetron Carabiner Technology from Black Diamond". Climberism Magazine. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  11. "Product recalls". Black Diamond. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  12. "Maker of tear gas used on D.C. protesters gets millions from federal government". CBS News. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  13. "Boycott Black Diamond" . Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  14. Pogrebin, Robin (June 9, 2020). "Warren Kanders Says He Is Getting Out of the Tear Gas Business". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  15. "Maker of tear gas used on Washington, D.C., protesters will exit business". CBS News. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  16. "Key Decisions". CalPERS. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  17. . Retrieved June 26, 2020.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. . Retrieved June 26, 2020.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. "Guns and the outdoor industry: Where do we go from here?". SNEWS. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  20. Lauren Steele (August 14, 2014). "Black Diamond President Peter Metcalf Steps Down". Outside magazine . Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  21. "2003 Golden Piton Awards - Service". Climbing. March 31, 2004. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  22. Michael Frank (August 7, 2012). "Black Diamond CEO Fights for Utah Environment — Against Utah Politicians". Adventure Journal. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  23. "Sustainability". Black Diamond. Retrieved March 5, 2016.