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Engineering Jobs In the Climbing Industry

Original Post
Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35

Any advice or tips on finding and landing an engineering job (specifically mechanical engineering) in the climbing and/or outdoor industry?

I've surfed the usual sites of LinkedIn and with no luck, and very few climbing gear manufactures even have a section on there website for job openings much less a posting for engineering work.

I am an experienced engineer with a PE License but not really thrilled with staying in my industry for the next 20+ years of my career. My experience is not specifically in product design or manufacturing but I have worked with that segment. I worked with CAD/CAM/FEA software in college but pretty much haven't touched it since then.

Is 10+ years CAD and/or FEA, or manufacturing/testing experience a must have?
Where do you look for job openings?
Any body looking for the most highly motivated and willing to learn engineer, that also climbs, that you have ever met?

cjohns716 · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

I've also been browsing outdoor gear career pages and vaguely remember seeing some engineer positions for Black Diamond, if you're near or willing to move to SLC. Other than that, or have good job boards.

J Bird · · southwest,colorado · Joined May 2013 · Points: 525

There is room in the industry for more companies.

Charlie S · · Ogden, UT · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 1,601

13 years CAD (10 of it 3D) and 6 years FEM and aerospace experience here. For that kind of work, it tends to be few and far between, though they occasionally pop up. Your best bet is likely Black Diamond when there's an opening. You can contact Rock Exotica directly and they may interview you.

Petzl does all their engineering in France.

I had an interview with a company which for the sake of this discussion will remain unnamed. A lot of their validation is done via test. I would say they're after a designer who can analyze as opposed to an analyst who can design. I'm the latter and it in the end, it didn't work out at this point in the game. So I'd say apply anyway and see what happens.

It's likely that a lot of products are validated via test rather than analysis.

There are a lot of options in the textiles department. For us solid mechanics types, that's kind of voodoo.

NorCalNomad · · San Francisco · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105
J Bird wrote:There is room in the industry for more companies.
Hahaha oh that's good. Please show your references for that hypothesis.
Bill M · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 321

Seriously, climbing and outdoor gear seems pretty simple .... compared to say aerospace, semiconductors, etc. Just move to the front range and find an engineering job in your field like the rest of us.

J Bird · · southwest,colorado · Joined May 2013 · Points: 525
NorCalNomad wrote: Hahaha oh that's good. Please show your references for that hypothesis.
There are innovative ideas always occurring in the climbing industry. Abalakov wasn't even an engineer and invented probably the most important tool for climbing ever. In more recent times the introduction of the Wave Bolt has come into the scene and the design is simple and costs minimal. Something like that could be manufactured for next to nothing, there are just bends and a very small groove weld on 1/4" 316L round stock. You got to have some ingenuity my friend, not be so doubtful and negative.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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