Black Diamond Equipment
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 and owned Sierra Bullets.
|Traded as||NASDAQ: CLAR|
|Industry||climbing and skiing equipment|
|Founded||December 1, 1989|
|Founder||Yvon Chouinard |
|John Walbrecht, President|
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.
In early 1989, after several product-liability lawsuits and a continued lack of profitability, Yvon Chouinard placed the company in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 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.
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, which owns Armor Holdings, Inc., a military defense contractor. The resulting corporation was renamed and is now publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the name Black Diamond, Inc. (BDE).
In 2015, Black Diamond announced they would be expanding their Utah manufacturing facility. In 2016, they announced they would be moving their European headquarters from Reinach to Innsbruck in Austria.
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.
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.
As is common in safety-equipment industries, Black Diamond have issued many product recalls following safety concerns.
Former Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf has a history of political advocacy for both the outdoor industry and the public lands of Utah, and has united with other outdoor companies against policies that threaten public lands and outdoor recreation.
- Mike Gorell (2010-05-10). "Utah's Black Diamond Equipment sold for $90 million". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- "Black Diamond Completes Sale of POC to Investcorp for $65 Million". 2015-08-10.
- "Company History: Beginnings and Blacksmithery". Patagonia. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- Peter Metcalf (1995-04-01). "Lessons Learned". Inc Magazine. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- Black Diamond (2010-05-11). "Press Release: Black Diamond Merger". rockclimbing.com. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- "Clarus to acquire Black Diamond Equipment and Gregory Mountain Products". TheStreet.com.
- "Black Diamond is Here to Stay". Utah Policy. 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- Black Diamond (2016-01-14). "Black Diamond Equipment Relocates European Headquarters and Appoints Tim Bantle to Managing Director". Yahoo Finance. Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- "Black Diamond sells Gregory to Samsonite". SNews. June 19, 2014. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
- David Crothers (2011-07-13). "New Magnetron Carabiner Technology from Black Diamond". Climberism Magazine. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- "Product recalls". Black Diamond. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- "Sustainability". Black Diamond. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- Lauren Steele (2014-08-14). "Black Diamond President Peter Metcalf Steps Down". Outside magazine. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- "2003 Golden Piton Awards - Service". Climbing. 2004-03-31. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- Michael Frank (2012-08-07). "Black Diamond CEO Fights for Utah Environment — Against Utah Politicians". Adventure Journal. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2016-03-05.