Climber: Ally Swinton
Route: Innominata Ridge, Mont Blanc
All photos and video by Jon Griffith.
Location: A full moon illuminates the massive, snow-covered Mont Blanc massif and a lifetime of routes and summits above Chamonix

Where it all began: the European Alps. More than 500 years ago, technical climbing was born amongst the peaks, glaciers, cliffs and couloirs of the European Alps, hence the name “alpinism.” And no town has embodied the craft of alpinism more than Chamonix, France. It's a stunning arena: countless aiguilles, walls, summits and climbs, towering far above town, serving as a proving ground for generations upon generations of alpinists. And, in that same vein, few companies have embodied the craft of alpinism like Black Diamond Equipment. What 50 years ago was our small assortment of hand-forged carabiners, wood-shafted piolets and 12-point crampons, has developed into a complete collection of award-winning, state-of-the-art tools essential to modern alpinism.

With that in mind, we chose Chamonix alpinism as the theme for this, our first digital catalog. We recruited ace climbing photographer Jon Griffith to document a handful of our alpine athletes tackling the Chamonix classics and testpieces. What follows in this digital catalog is an inspirational assortment of imagery, videos, stories and products that showcase but a small slice of all that the Chamonix alpine experience has to offer. Enjoy.

— Black Diamond Equipment

Watch a video about what makes Chamonix so special to alpinism.
Climber: Andy Houseman
Location: Summit ridge of Grandes Jorasses
Ice Tools
Climber: Max Turgeon
Route: M6 Solar, Pointe Lachenal
Ice Tools


The ultimate carbon fiber tool for leashless mixed, ice and alpine climbing, the Cobra provides unparalleled performance from the crags to the Karakoram.
588 g (1 lb 5 oz), Hammer


Our premier mixed climbing tool, the Fusion is lightweight, stiff and versatile thanks to its single-piece, hydroformed shaft that extends all the way through the grip.
672 g (1 lb 6 oz)


A technical, all-terrain tool, the Viper is built with a hydroformed shaft to increase stiffness and reduce weight, while maintaining exceptional clearance and balance.
625 g (1 lb 6 oz), Hammer


The ultimate hybrid axe for technical couloirs and rugged alpine terrain, the curve-shafted Venom bridges the gap between classic piolet and technical ice tool.
(50 cm model) 528 g (1 lb 3 oz), Hammer
Shroud Video

A never-ending couloir of calf-burning neve, bits of mixed action, a dropped ice tool, and a summit bivy—Black Diamond athletes Andy Houseman and Alex Chabot's ascent of The Shroud on the iconic north face of the Grandes Jorasses had a little slice of everything that makes alpine climbing sweet.

Location: North face of Grandes Jorasses
Watch a video of Alex and Andy's ascent of The Shroud.
Climber: Ben Briggs
Route: Kuffner Route, Mont Maudit
Climber: Andy Houseman
Route: The Shroud, Grandes Jorasses


Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the asymmetrical Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. ABS included.
per pair: 960 g (2 lb 1 oz)


Run as dual points or converted to monos, either way the lightweight, stainless steel Cyborg is a high-end ice and mixed climbing crampon. Available as Pro or Clip models.
1.11 kg (2 lb 8 oz)


Built for moderate technical alpine terrain, the versatile, stainless steel, 12-point Serac has strong frontpoints that climb steep snow efficiently and penetrate ice with ease. ABS included. Available as Pro, Clip or Strap models.
890 g (2 lb)


A lightweight 10-point aluminum crampon for snow climbing, long glacier approaches, and ski mountaineering, the Neve pushes the envelope in fast-paced performance and minimal weight. Available as Pro or Strap models.
per pair: 576 g (1 lb 4 oz)
Climber: Ally Swinton
Route: Cretier Route, Mont Maudit
Alpine Packs
Climbers: Andy Houseman and Alex Chabot
Route: The Shroud, Grandes Jorasses
Alpine Packs

Speed 30

A strippable alpine pack for lightweight mountain missions, the Speed 30 is built with our patent-pending reACTIV™ suspension. The pack's padded hipbelt, 4 mm aluminum frame, framesheet and top lid are all removable, converting the Speed 30 into an ultralight roll-top-closure summit pack.
30 L (1,830 cu in)
1,260 g (2 lb 12 oz)

Epic 45

A streamlined, guide-style pack built for the demands of classic alpine climbing, the Epic 45 has a fixed top lid and utilizes our patent-pending ergoACTIV™ suspension system.
45 L (2,746 cu in)
1.69 kg (3 lb 11 oz)

Mission 50

Durable, spacious and optimized for ice cragging, the Mission 50 features our patent-pending reACTIV XP™ suspension system for unmatched support and stability when toting the full climbing kit.
50 L (3,050 cu in)
1.72 kg (3 lb 12 oz)


A versatile top-loading pack that excels in the mountains, the Burn features our patent-pending reACTIV™ suspension system. A front bungee cord, hipbelt stash pockets and side stretch pockets help keep all your essentials organized. Also available as women's Blast.
26 L (1,587 cu in)
1 kg (2 lb 3 oz)
Solar Video

Access is everything in Chamonix. Nowhere else can you go from town to alpine climb and back again quite as dramatically as Cham. Finish your café, jump on the téléphérique, cross the glacier, climb the route, ski back into town, grab a beer—it's dash-and-grab alpinism at its most civilized. It's just that sort of quick-hit adventure that Zoe Hart and Maxime Turgeon sought out when they zipped over to climb M6 Solar, a mix climb on Pointe Lachenal above the Glacier du Géant.

Climbers: Zoe Hart and Maxime Turgeon
Route: M6 Solar, Pointe Lachenal
Watch a video of Zoe and Max’s day out climbing M6 Solar.
Climber: Zoe Hart
Route: M6 Solar, Pointe Lachenal


Designed for those tweener temperature days and when sensitivity and dexterity are at a premium, the Punisher is our classic do-it-all ice climbing glove.
M: 178 g (6.3 oz)
-9/4 °C (15/40 °F)


A just-warm-enough ultralight glove, the Arc's 100% waterproof BDry insert is complemented by a snug fit and Pittards Oil Tac leather palm and capped fingers for increased climbing dexterity.
M: 130 g (4.6 oz)
-9/4 °C (15/40 °F)


With an Ascension grip palm, 4-way stretch softshell fabric and thermoformed knuckle protection, the Torque is optimized for high-end mixed climbing and drytooling.
M: 96 g (3.4 oz)
-4/7 °C (25/45 °F)

Mercury Mitt

Ideal for everything from summer mountaineering to deep-winter belaying, the Mercury Mitt has a removable trigger-finger liner that enhances dexterity for working with ropes or gripping your piolet, while the 100% waterproof BDry insert keeps your digits dry.
M: 324 g, 11.4 oz
-29/-12 °C (-20/10 °F)


Our best-selling fleece liner glove, the MidWeight layers well for cold conditions and has a full goat-leather palm for a sure grip with your tools or approach poles.
M: 45 g (1.6 oz)
-2/7 °C (35/45 °F)
Location: Mont Blanc (4808 m), the highest summit in Europe
Climber: Andy Houseman
Route: The Shroud, Grandes Jorasses


Now featuring more power than ever, the 90-lumen Spot features multiple modes and settings that are customizable to any lighting situation, from pre-dawn starts to rappelling through the night.
90 g (3.2 oz) with batteries

Express Ice Screw

The easiest and fastest placing ice screws on the planet, Express Ice Screws feature a tapered tube where the teeth cut a hole just larger than the tube itself, for less friction during placements. A large, color-coded crank knob makes for easy size identification and uninterrupted 360-degree motion.
10 cm-22 cm


Our most versatile belay/rappel device, the ATC-Guide has multiple friction modes that provide the optimal amount of stopping power when lowering or rappelling. The device's "guide mode" also lets you belay one or two seconding climbers off an anchor.
88 g (3.1 oz)

Half Dome

The redesigned Half Dome is the evolution of our most popular climbing helmet design. With an improved fit and weight savings of more than 40 grams over the original, the Half Dome is a durable, all-purpose workhorse.
(size S/M) 290 g (10 oz)


The gold standard for camming units, Camalots combine what no other cam does: double-axle design, light weight, a cable loop and trigger that are easy to grab, and our patented slings are large enough to manipulate with gloves. Accept no substitutes.
No Siesta 1

Considered one of the most full-on alpine routes in the Alps, No Siesta on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses is a beast: 1,100 meters long and stacked with M8 mixed terrain, funky aid climbing, ephemeral WI 5 smears and miserable bivy ledges. To Will Sim and Jon Griffith, however, full-on was what they were after. Here is their story.

This autumn, myself and Will Sim headed off for a route on the Grandes Jorasses North Face, which has gotta be the ultimate tick for any visit to the Chamonix Valley. Our intended route was called No Siesta. We'd actually gone up last year to give it a go, but the route was in horrible condition, so as soon as it got colder this year we got psyched and headed in.
Watch a slideshow of the No Siesta climb, narrated by photographer Jon Griffith.
No Siesta 2
I guess our main interest was that we've done some 40-odd alpine routes out here together. But they've all been single day routes, done with a small rack. No Siesta is a bit more of a challenge as it's a 3-day route with sections of aid and obviously going to include some pretty uncomfortable bivying, as the name suggests.
No Siesta 3
We had woken up at 3 and we were ready to set off about 4, we were pretty excited to get going. We'd opted on a variation at the start to avoid the slabs that we'd gotten shut down on last year. But it involved doing a pretty roundabout climbing path and lots of traversing on nasty black ice, which is kind of a pain in itself really, but…a real nightmare with a heavy second's pack on.
No Siesta 4
This is a shot of Will getting sunk on the first aid pitch. No Siesta was going to be a bit of an eye-opener for us. We'd never really done any proper aiding before apart from the old alpine French freeing, which basically entails putting in a bit of gear and pulling on it. So jumaring and using etriers is all a bit of a new thing for us, but we figure you gotta learn somewhere.
No Siesta 5
In the same vein as aiding, we haven't really done any bivying on faces before either. With a name like No Siesta, we knew we weren't going to be expecting 5-star bivy spots, and after a while of hacking and stamping, we managed to get a good ledge for us to sit on.
No Siesta 6
So the second day on the wall brings you right into and out of the heart of the route. The breakfast pitch went to Will and while it looked like a nice angled, fun, easy ice pitch, it turned out to be a bit of a monster 60-meter one with some steep ice bulges. That's kind of one of the great things about this route—the pitches are really long, so 70-meter ropes are a real must. The second pitch after this takes you right into the headwall itself, and this is a shot with some thin ice leading into it with Will taking the lead.
No Siesta 7
The first headwall pitch took me ages to figure out. It was loose, and within the first few minutes I found myself hanging from my arms as a block ripped out under my feet. Some 10 meters of loose but steep rock gets you properly established in the headwall of No Siesta, and the route starts to make itself clear above you. You get a really awesome feeling of being in the thick of it up here, which is great. Every day we'd see teams ascend the Colton-MacIntyre and watch as they rapidly made progress up that route, meanwhile we slowly crawled up, pitch by pitch.
No Siesta 8
This is a shot of Will seconding the third headwall pitch. A series of loose but perfectly positioned ramps take you up an upward traverse across the headwall—all the meanwhile a huge granite roof is capping the way above you and a massive drop-off between your feet to the ice fields of Colton-MacIntyre far below.
No Siesta 9
At one point I found myself on an aid move with one etrier tied off on my ice axe and the other on a 000 C3 with only 2 lobes in an overhead rotten crack. This is a shot of Will hauling hard with a big pack on up this last pitch with the dropping exposure below.
No Siesta 10
This is the view from our second bivy spot the next morning—it was actually worse than the first one, which I would have found hard to believe if you'd told me the night before. It was basically a sloping boulder with a huge drop-off on all sides. You'll notice the brown zone on his bivy bag, which I guess what you call collateral damage from when you eat, sleep and shit all in the same tiny space.
No Siesta 11
The final day is characterized by these interminably long ice pitches. By now you're kind of feeling a desperate urge to get the hell off the mountain and feel the sun for the first time in 3 days. I guess it was just that there are barely any places on this route where you can actually stand, so you feel like you calves are gonna explode after a couple of days.
No Siesta 12
The walk from the summit of the Jorasses to the Boccalatte Bivouac Hut on the Italian side is one that we've done many times, and never seems to get any easier. This time was especially horrible, as the glacier was totally dry, leaving plenty of steep, glacial ice to downclimb and traverse. By the time we got to the hut our ankles were absolutely killing us. In any case, we finally got there late at night, and we're pretty excited with the idea of getting some water down us and having our last meal that we carried with us. This shot is the following morning, feeling a little jaded outside the hut and trying to dry some of our gear before the walk back down to Italy, where well-deserved pizza and beers awaited us.
Climbers: Unknown
Route: Grand Pilier d'Angle, Mont Blanc


The Xenos harness's Speed Adjust buckles, multiple Ice Clipper slots, and top-of-the-line Kinetic Core Construction™ give you prime winter functionality for all your ice and mixed climbing pursuits.
460 g (1 lb 2 oz)


A four-season harness designed for those who climb it all, all year, the Aspect features Speed Adjust buckles, four gear loops, a haul loop and four Ice Clipper slots.
Size M: 420 g (14 oz)


A four-season harness designed specifically for ladies who climb it all, all year, the Lotus features four gear loops, a haul loop, four Ice Clipper slots and a women's specific bullhorn shaped waistbelt and leg loops with Speed Adjust buckles.
Size M: 420 g (14 oz)


Packable to the size of a soup can that easily stows away in a jacket pocket, the superlight but fully featured Couloir harness is designed to be the essential skiing and mountaineering harness.
230 g (8 oz)
Climber: Matt Perrier
Route: Rocheford Arete, between Col du Géant and the Col des Grandes Jorasses
Climber: Zoe Hart
Route: M6 Solar, Pointe Lachenal

HoodWire Quickdraw

Our most versatile wiregate draw, the HoodWire Quickdraw (now with top and bottom HoodWires) has an optimized nose angle and a wide, rope-bearing basket, plus a stainless steel wire hood for keylock functionality. Also available as a single carabiner.
82 g (2.9 oz)


Our lightest wiregate carabiner, the 28-gram, hot-forged Oz is now built with our innovative stainless steel hoody, which provides keylock functionality. Also available in a quickdraw and color-coded rack pack. Available May 2012.
28 g (1 oz)


The lightest, pear-shaped locking carabiner on the planet, the 52-gram VaporLock provides a smooth increase in friction and has a keylock nose for snag-free clipping.
52 g (1.8 oz)


Our lightest locking carabiner, the Nitron tips the scales at 50 grams and is built with a keylock nose that won't snag on anchors or slings. Also available as non-locking straight and bentgate models.
50 g (1.8 oz)
Climbers: Andy Houseman and Alex Chabot
Location: Bivy below summit of Grandes Jorasses
Walk The Talk

We take a large amount of pride in our efforts to support conservation, education and recreation groups that are on the frontlines of protecting and preserving the wild lands we love and depend on. In addition, we continue to support our alpine climbing roots as founding members of two significant climbing grants: the Mugs Stump Award and the Copp-Dash Inspire Award. These two annual awards go toward funding light-and-fast alpine expeditions, as well as serve as ongoing tributes to our friends Mugs Stump, Jonny Copp, and Micah Dash—all Black Diamond athletes who have died in the mountains.

Copp-Dash Inspire Award Mugs Stump Award

Climber: Will Sim
Route: Late To Say I'm Sorry, Aiguille Verte
Location: Winter sunrise floods the Aiguille du Midi col. Two alpinists on the right-hand side start the approach into their winter line for the day. In the background, the Helbronner lift runs from the Aiguille du Midi toward Italy with the Dent du Géant in the center and the Grandes Jorasses lying menacing and cold on the left.
Check out

The Alpinism 2012 digital catalog highlights a small sampling of the gear we make. To see all the gear, watch how-to videos, learn more about our technologies and read athlete trip reports, visit

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All photographs by Jon Griffith
Ice Tools
Shroud Video
Ascent Packs
Solar Video
Summit Panorama
Ice Tools
Shroud Video
Kuffner Route
Cretier Route
Alpine Packs
M6 Solar Video
Mont Blanc Massif
No Siesta Slideshow
Rocheford Arete
Bivy Panorama
Giving Back
Aiguille du Midi Panorama