The origins ofDavid Waggoner,visionary and pioneer.
Waggoner was born on 20 December 1955 in Fort Collins (Colorado, United States), where he lived for the first part of his life. He later moved to Four Corners, where he worked until he invented the Alien in 1986 and founded his own brand and company: Colorado Custom Hardware (CCH).
Waggoner developed his invention in a Durango garage and was probably not fully aware at the time that he was about to change the history of climbing. The word ‘pioneer’ was not enough to explain what he had just created.
The first years
The first Alien patent was filed in 1987 and a second was filed one year later, in 1988, when Waggoner improved the performance and technical features of the microcam.
In 1991, he moved his residence and productive activity to Laramie, from where CCH began to work internationally.
Aliens had become an indispensable part of the equipment of any climber or mountaineer. None could do without them when attacking a wall, a traditional climbing route, an alpine ascent, etc.
Fixe Climbingbuys CCH
David Waggoner died in October 2009. Shortly thereafter, CCH announced that it was cutting back on production and putting the company up for sale. Faced with this news, fear grew among climbers around the world. The blue, green and yellow set or the so-called ‘traffic light’ (red, yellow and green) set was the basis for building a set of friends in any harness and it was getting harder to find it on the market.
After a period of uncertainty in which Waggoner’s widow, Nadia Waggoner, had maintained the CCH business with few resources, Fixe Climbing decided to buy the company. The agreement was finalised in 2011. Fixe Climbing moved the production of the Aliens to Sant Quirze de Besora (Barcelona), the base of the Catalan company.
Nadia Waggoner spent two months in the Fixe Climbing factory to pass on all the knowledge about the Aliens to the new production team, thereby fulfilling one of her husband’s last wishes. “David wanted to leave CCH in the hands of a climber or a company that was committed to manufacturing the Aliens exactly as he had designed them, a company with a firm commitment to upholding the founding values of the brand, one that would not stop manufacturing Aliens to impose their own friend”, Nadia Wagoner said at the time.
The evolutionof Aliens
The first Alien (1986)
The first Alien model was marketed in 1986. It was a product that was going to change the rules of the climbing game.
It was manufactured in Durango (Colorado, United States).
Alien evolves in 1988
With geometry and components already very similar to those of later models, the second Alien patent was registered in 1988.
The head have four cams and their needles were mixed, with steel cable and wire.
The total length of the model was 200 mm and it had an 83-gram weight in the red piece. The rivets were made of copper and were manufactured between 1988 and 1991 in Durango (Colorado, United States).
The cam needles were made entirely of wire. The rivets continued to be made of copper.
Alien Regular was manufactured between 1991 and 2011 in Laramie (Wyoming, United States) and later between 2011 and 2022 in Sant Quirze de Besora (Barcelona).
Alien Evo was the shortest model in history at 185 mm. It was also the lightest, at 61 g.
The cam pullers were entirely made of steel cable, with a plastic puller and aluminium rivets. The entire production was carried out in Sant Quirze de Besora.
Alien Evo was manufactured between 2015 and 2017 in Sant Quirze de Besora (Barcelona).
This was the first model with repairable cam needles. Made entirely of bar steel, users could repair it by purchasing spare parts separately. The aluminium riveting was maintained and the handle was also built in aluminium for the first time, making it more robust than previous models. The Alien Revo was also longer, measuring 200 mm long and weighing 83 g. However, the distance between the puller and the cam was reduced.
The entire production process was carried out between 2017 and 2023 in Sant Quirze de Besora (Barcelona).
Alien X begins a new generation in the family dynasty. It retains the essence of the original model and brings great improvements in design and construction.
This microcam is in line with its predecessors’ size, as it measures a total of 200 mm long and weighs 70 grams.
It has up to six finishing and design improvements, as well as interesting technical innovations such as the passive anchoring function for large pieces and X-grip texture on the cams of all the pieces.
The riveting and handles are also made of aluminium. Both pieces are manufactured in Sant Quirze de Besora (Barcelona).
Alien X has been manufactured since 2023 in Sant Quirze de Besora (Barcelona).