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Who We Are: SMC is a mountaineering and technical rescue brand that produces elite equipment. SMC designs and manufactures sport and rescue hardware to aircraft industry standards while remaining true to a heritage of excellence and innovation. Seasoned climbers and rescue personnel depend on the reliable performance of SMC gear in the most critical situations and demanding conditions around the globe.
Founded in 1967 as Seattle Manufacturing Corporation, on the slopes and training grounds of the worlds best mountaineers, SMC gear is trustworthy in complicated rescues, record setting rapid ascents, and expeditions to the most remote summits in the world. Our first product was an oval carabiner designed and manufactured specifically for Mary Anderson of the original REI Co-op Store who was dissatisfied with the quality and turnaround time of overseas manufacturers. Our founder, Jim Clark, identified the critical design and tooling elements that REI required and brought his aircraft industry standards of excellence to the manufacture of mountaineering gear. Our products expanded into the rescue market as climbers of the 60’s and 70’s became the rescue experts of the 80’s. They required durable hardware that would reliably perform in the demanding rescue environment. This request for stronger, more sophisticated products launched SMC’s technical rescue division.
Thirty years after our first oval carabiner, SMC saw a change in leadership that would instigate even higher standards of quality for our products. In 1997 while volunteering for Alaska State Parks, avid outdoorswoman Kathy Hughes was approached with the challenge of her life – to become the next CEO of SMC. Kathy left Alaska to meet with Jim Clark and after considering the endless potential of commanding an industry icon, the decision was easy. Kathy became our CEO and moved SMC into a new era of customer service, information-driven communication, and ISO certification.
SMC is one of the few manufacturers of mountaineering and technical rescue hardware that is ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9001 is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and is a family of standards for managing quality control systems. This independent, third party certification process guarantees reliability and efficiency in manufacturing. We are proud that every piece of SMC gear meets these rigid controls; our products are simply the highest quality gear that you can buy; for your life – to last a lifetime.
Today, under the direction of Kathy Hughes and her highly skilled management team, SMC is proud to be a US manufacturer of functional, high-quality mountaineering and technical rescue gear that dreams, designs, and manufactures 100% of its equipment in the USA. We hold true to our heritage by continuously working to improve and develop our people, our processes and our procedures. Quality Gear for Life is more than a statement… for us, it is a way of life.