Black Diamond originated as a climbing equipment company. Although they manufacture a large variety of outdoor equipment; including skis, outerwear, and tents, the company is still best know for its high quality climbing hardware. A number of years ago, the company decided to build its own facility in China and move existing climbing hardware manufacturing away from the USA.

Rarely does a company move manufacturing overseas to then realize the error of their ways and move everything back to the USA. Over summer 2015, Black Diamond has successfully moved manufacturing of climbing equipment back to its Salt Lake City headquarters. Referred to as the repatriation initiative, their efforts not only brought jobs and money back to the USA, but also improved their R&D process and speed of product completion. A win for the community and win for the company.

While at this years Summer Outdoor Retailer, we had a chance to attend Black Diamond’s 25th anniversary party at the Salt Lake City facility. Not like your normal social event, we got to mow down some great food and drink a few cold beverages, all while wandering the aisles of a running manufacturing facility. I own close to 30 items from Black Diamond and trust my life to most. Watching how each of these items are made was a new experience for the crew, gave us a greater appreciation for the process, and understanding why I pay what I do for a device that will save my life in the event of a fall.

The evening was polished off with a slide show by one of my personal (and many others) climbing heroes, Tommy Caldwell. Tommy is arguably the greatest big-wall climber to ever live an continues to raise the bar of what’s capable with hard work and desire. Tommy Caldwell and Keven Jorgenson completed the Dawn Wall climb on El Cap last January after almost seven years of effort.


Below are a few photos of what goes into the process of making some of the world’s best climbing equipment.




Cutting crampon spikes from sheets.
Pile of carabiners before gates are assembled and anodized.
Pile of carabiners before gates are assembled and anodized.
For making climbing stoppers, Black Diamonds oldest piece of machinery, BARNEY.

Black Diamond has some new gear they are ready to kick out the door in the coming months. Below are a few shots of some old and new gear from their climbing division.




Stay tuned for upcoming reviews of Black Diamonds new releases for 2016. 

– Isaiah Burkhart for