It began in 1957, the year an eighteen-year-old named Yvon Chouinard bought a hammer and anvil and started pounding out hand-forged pitons. To support his climbing habit, Yvon traveled to Yosemite and sold gear from the trunk of his car. His intelligent designs were quickly recognized by climbers as the best available.
At the time, climbing equipment was scarce. The European pitons were so malleable they could only be placed once or twice. Chouinard's pitons were made from hardened steel for greater strength. Because they could be placed repeatedly, climbers began to explore the biggest walls with a new confidence. By 1958, when Warren Harding completed the first ascent of the Nose on El Capitan, Yvon's chrome-moly steel pitons had become an integral part of his rack. Chouinard Equipment, located in Ventura, California was born.
Among the early products developed by Chouinard Equipment was the Chouinard carabiner. A vast improvement over existing biners, the Chouinard Standard was light, strong and uncomplicated. It rapidly became the industry standard, embodying the principles of simple, high-function design, durability and performance
These same values were at the core of two more revolutionary products developed during the sixties. In 1968 Chouinard introduced the world's first rigid crampon, accelerating the trend that had begun from step-chopping to the faster, more efficient technique of front-pointing. Then in 1969, frustrated by the inability of current ice tools to provide security in all types of ice, Chouinard conceived, tested and forged the first curved picks onto all his ice axes. The result propelled ice climbing to new levels of difficulty.
In 1972 an article in the Chouinard Equipment catalog changed the course of climbing forever. A concept that originated in Britain and became known as clean climbing carried a clear, powerful message-preserve the rock by using nuts and other "clean" protection. This revolution was supported by Chouinard Hexentrics and Stoppers. Since then we've been refining the exceptional geometries of Hexs and Stoppers to make these two designs as relevant today as they were in 1972. Later that decade, the Chouinard Ice Screw was introduced. It was the first tubular ice screw on the market and it allowed ice climbers to place protection more quickly and securely than ever before.
December 1, 1989 the former employees of Chouinard Equipment signed the papers to make the first employee-owned company in the climbing industry official. Black Diamond was born.
Since then, they have devoted their energy toward the goal of creating a company which fosters the enthusiasm and dreams necessary to design and manufacture the best climbing and skiing gear in the world. To facilitate that goal, they moved in 1991 from the surf of California to the mountains of Utah. There base in Salt Lake City is located within minutes of great rock climbing, ice climbing and backcountry skiing. Surrounded by a high-energy climbing and skiing community and a quality of life that suits our quest to climb and ski as much as possible. They climb together after work, meet in the parking lot for dawn patrol ski tours, and eat as many weekly specials at Mariposa as our stomachs can endure.
By playing together they have created a company which fosters the enthusiasm and dreams necessary to design and manufacture the best climbing and skiing gear in the world.
There designs and products have grown and progressed. This is partly the result of hard work and a great collection of individuals. It's also the result of each of us being climbers and skiers ourselves. We're a company of users-it's who we are. We're the greatest dreamers about what could be, and the harshest of critics about what exists. The creation of Black Diamond is a process which will never end. The company of today is better than ever, thanks to the many people here whose limitless energy and commitment to our sports have created an inspiring for us all.
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