Thursday, September 2, 2010


For those of you who don't know what a Quinceañera is, it means a 15th birthday party. No, it's not for me, I'm way, way, past 15. But if I were a 15-year-old Mexican girl celebrating my Quinceañera, it would look like this...

Pretty creepy, huh? I promise you will have nightmares about that photo.

Like I was saying, the party wasn't for me, it was for the climbing company that changed everything. September 1st, 2010 was the 15th anniversary of Cordless.

I was going to post this yesterday, but I figured that it could wait until today because:

A - We decided to go climbing instead of banging away at a computer.
B - There's only like 12 people who read this anyway
C - I haven't posted anything in eight and a half months, so what's one more day?

That's right. 15 years ago, I bought a used Husquavarna sewing machine, a few yards of Cordura and about 40 cubic feet of foam. The rest, as they say, is history.

For those of you who know anything about these machines, it's not a walking foot but it can take bonded nylon thread. This little bastard stitched up at least 100 Crash Pads before I stepped up to a true industrial machine.

So with an initial investment of about 300 or 400 bucks in machines, fabric and foam, we built a multi-million dollar, world-wide industry and changed the climbing scene forever. Not bad, huh?

And I've still got one of those Pads right here in the shop. Technically, this one is Cordless Pad #4, as I sold Pad #3 and the first two were so shitty-looking that I popped the stitches and re-used the foam.

Anyway, yesterday we decided to go out to Little Cottonwood and take part in my two favorite things: a little bouldering session and a half-case of beer.

About a half-dozen of the extended family came out...

... and a few of them thought that crimpy problems in 85 degree heat are fun...

... which is totally stupid. But a good time was had by all, regardless.

So this one's for all of you who have helped contribute to what we have collectively built together since '95: We've taken bouldering from an unrecognized, unappreciated part of the climbing world and turned it into the scene's most popular arena. I want to give all of you my deepest gratitude. What we have accomplished will be appreciated long after we're gone.

On the flip side, I want to give a hearty Fuck You to the companies and people who are diluting the climbing world with low quality knock-offs of Cordless gear and generally treating bouldering not as a genuine, valid and viable activity, but merely as a marketing and branding opportunity. And if you need me to spell it out more clearly: Black Diamond can eat a fat dick.

Instead of getting all weepy and long-winded about who we are, where we've come from and where we're going, the best way for me to sum up the last 15 years is to include the photo and intro speech from our latest catalog...

"Here’s a photo of a shoddy one-car garage at the end of a dirt alley in Bend, Oregon. Big deal, right? To us it is a big deal, because this is where it all started. This was the Cordless shop from 1995 to 1997. And what came out of that sorry-looking hovel built an entire industry.

We didn’t start making bouldering gear because there was a ton of money in it or because there was a huge, international market. Just the opposite was true; back then, bouldering was a raw, fanatic, underground movement and we were initially ridiculed for believing that it would become anything bigger or better than that.

We did it because we saw a much larger potential, something that would take years to develop. We didn’t view the bouldering scene for what it was at the time, but what it could be. Sometimes, you have to look beyond what currently exists and see the larger picture, the massive possibilities.

Fifteen years.

We’ve been making bouldering gear for a decade and a half, longer than anybody else in the game, with more highs and lows than we can remember. But even in the worst of times, one thing has stayed the same: our devotion. Never give up and never sell out.

We don’t want to bore you with one of those “back in the day” stories. We’re all about taking things forward. This year, we are consolidating two exceptional product lines under one roof. Revolution and Pusher are now part of The Cordless Group, a collective that is dedicated to designing and producing the highest quality climbing gear worldwide.

Along with our production in North America, we have developed our European branch, Revolution/Pusher EU, to hook up all you guys on the other side of the Atlantic. We’re franchising like McDonald’s, baby.

Although it’s all too common today, we refuse to dilute the climbing world with shitty knock-offs and mass-produced junk made in some third world sweatshop. All of our products are made locally, if not specifically in-house. Same goes for the Euro crew. Local manufacturing allows us to dramatically lower our carbon footprint, maintain exceptional quality control and quickly introduce new products.

In every little intro speech we’ve written since ‘95, we have finished it with two simple words. We put it down there because we want you to know that the only reason we are still around is because of you. And you are the only reason we got into this gig in the first place. We hope you’ll understand that we sincerely mean this:

Thank You"