Peter Metcalf: NOLS Impressions

Posted by: Casey Adams on 6/11/15 8:00 AM

Peter Metcalf, founder and president of Black Diamond Equipment and 1971 NOLS Alpine Guide course graduate, will speak at the NOLS 50th anniversary celebration. This is the final segment of a three-part profile about Metcalf. Find the second chapter, "Living Big," here.

Peter Metcalf founded Black Diamond to serve both a clientele and a community that needed an organization to champion the issues of great importance to it.

“It seemed like it was worth committing everything to, much like a big climb,” Metcalf says of his vision for the company:

“To be a manifestation and the personification of the personality, the ethos, the values of the sports … of climbing, alpinism, and off-peak skiing.”

Peter Metcalf climbs Rosey Clruxifiction Peter climbs Rosey Cruxifiction in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado, about 12 years ago. Photo courtesy of Peter Metcalf.

The success—the continued innovation on the part of the now omnipresent Black Diamond—since 1989 can be found in the culture and people he has fostered in the business, in the location, and the facility’s role in the community, each of which harkens back to a tale Metcalf lovingly shared from his course, be it managing team dynamics when mosquitoes have driven people to breaking down, learning to balance humility with ambition, or fostering a sense of place and community amongst outdoors enthusiasts, Metcalf can point to the impression of his NOLS course.

... an organization to champion the issues of great importance ...

Perhaps Metcalf will share a few of these tales at NOLS’ 50th anniversary celebration, which he will attend as the keynote speaker.

He might not have recognized it, but where Metcalf once consumed the adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Don Peterson and Paul Petzoldt, he has become the teller of profound and thrilling stories.

Peter Metcalf climbing the Dolomites Peter climbs in the Dolomites about five years ago. Photo courtesy of Peter Metcalf.

Want to know how Metcalf got to Black Diamond, learned to climb, and got his start in the outdoors? Read part one of his interview, "The Dawn," and part two, "Living Big."


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Casey worked as a writer and PR specialist for NOLS.