Black Diamond Equipment is best known as the largest climbing equipment manufacturer in North America. Staffed by climbers and backcountry skiers the company’s philosophy is simple: to design and produce the best climbing, backcountry skiing and mountaineering equipment imaginable, and then get out there and use it!
Black Diamond’s roots date back to 1957 when Yvon Chouinard started hand-forging the first cromoly, hard steel pitons. His pitons enabled climbers to make daring ascents of the sheer granite walls of Yosemite and were followed by many other climbing equipment firsts, including rigid crampons, curved ice axe picks and the promotion of clean climbing in North America with the development of Stoppers and Hexcentrics. During the 1980's his company, Chouinard Equipment, played an important part in the development of telemark ski equipment with the XPD binding and first cable bindings. By 1989, Chouinard Equipment, though recognized and respected throughout the climbing world, was still a small maverick business and when faced with several lawsuits was forced to seek Chapter 11 protection. Rather than accept defeat, the employees purchased the assets of the company and in December 1988 Black Diamond Equipment was born.
After two decades of double-figure annual growth Black Diamond Equipment has firmly established itself as a leading player in the technical outdoor market and, in May 2010 it moved into a new phase in its development by becoming a publicly traded company.
First Ascent has represented Black Diamond Equipment in the UK, first as sole distributor and today as sales agents, since January 1989.