Friday, August 15, 2014

Craig Miller to Black Diamond

John I am posting this letter to BlackDiamond on your Facebook as more climbers read your stuff:
Black Diamond gear from China:
Dear Black Diamond,
I feel I have been kicked in the gut by your company recently when I discovered that most of our technical gear, to include your climbing hardware and skis, are made in China.
I started climbing when I was 15 (1980) I am 50 now. While I have never been a great climbing it has always been a passion in my life. I have done big wall in Yosemite, 8000 meter peaks in the Himalayas, cragged on the east coast, lived in Colorado. I live in Austria now and climb in the Alps. No matter where I have climbed from peaks in Pakistan, to sea cliffs in Croatia and my local crag of Carderock outside of Washington, DC, Black Diamond (Chouinard Equipment) has always been part of my climbing life. I have always viewed BD (Chouinard and the Great Pacific Iron Works) as great American companies. So when it came to my attention that most all BD gear was now made in China it was a crushing blow.
I am no longer proud to own or use BD gear. I have a friend who worked for Chouinard equipment during the transition from Chouinard to BD and the move from Ventura to SLC. Through my friend I met many of the founders of BD, to include Director Pete Metcalf. What I remember about these folks was their passion and unbound enthusiasm to create a great American climbing company--especially a woman named Mariah (whose last name escapes me now). I recall how they would bash on companies like Camp, Salewa, Petzl, DMM, and Lowe, and how they would make a superior product.. and they did. BD stuff was the best. It seems now the profits (greed even) has trumped passion and pride. Please note the second word of BD's mission statement:
Mission: To profitably design, manufacture, and bring to market innovative and technical products of high quality, high performance and exemplary durability that are targeted toward our primary customers – climbers, mountaineers and off-piste skiers. (Does the Chinese laborer care about these things?--I think not.)
An another BD quote is: One of the founding 10 principles of Black Diamond Equipment is "to champion the preservation of, and access to, mountain, crag and canyon environments while minimizing our own environmental footprint."
Mr Metcalf, China is an environmental disaster and you are adding to it.. your house in Park City not big enough? China is a disaster on all fronts--a communist dictatorship with no regard for human rights. Look at the air and water quality of China and tell me China fits into your enviromental vision that you so proudly claim. It is also a slave labor based economy. Has the core nature of climbers and skiers changed so much that they are ok with doing business with this corrupt nation, China?
I was going to buy new BD skis this year (2014), but no more. There are still (thank god) American made skis. In addition as I start re-building and replacing gear on my rack I will actively seek out companies that are proud to be American, Welsh, French and Italian and buy from them.
Lastly, BD and Mr. Metcalf I would be willing to pay more if you could assure me that the product was made in America. I am saddened and disappointed in your and your company--but I doubt you care.
Craig F. Miller


  1. Wow. That's quite a letter. Sadly, America (wide generalisation here) has bought into the WallMartification of the goods it purchases. That aside, I was in REI the other day looking at some Petzl biners, which were made in the USA. Very cool. Also, I know that Mammut's ropes are made in Switzerland...not sure about its other gear.

  2. I think Omegas are entirely American, started by 2 former army helicopter pilots.