The History Behind Pigeon Mountain Industries

Pigeon Mountain Industries may seem like an unlikely name for a rope company—unless you have reason to know how much rope Pigeon Mountain has consumed in its time. PMI is named for what is perhaps the premier vertical caving area in the United States: Pigeon Mountain in Northwest Georgia. Pigeon Mountain takes its name from the passenger pigeon, which was native to the area before its extinction. Pigeon Mountain is in the heart of the renowned TAG caving area of the US. It is home to numerous caves, including two of the deepest natural pit caves in the USA. Our history began with braiding ropes for caving in Georgia, and has expanded to equipment and ropes for work at height, rescue and recreational industries internationally.

When PMI founder Steve Hudson first took up the sport of caving at the age of 18, he had three things on his mind: exploration, challenge, and having fun. He learned to use the same equipment that everyone else was using in those days, applying it on rope that was borrowed from other industries—sailing rope, commodity rope, etc. Life safety rope could then be defined as “any rope that saved your life”.

Steve soon found, along with other cavers of his genre, that there were some limitations to the ropes they were using for caving. The ropes were not as consistent as the cavers and climbers might have wished. They wore very quickly, and the quality was occasionally in question. Growing up with this problem put Steve in a perfect position to create an answer 9 years later.

By 1976 Steve had teamed up with three other caving families, bought a rope braider, incorporated PMI and began in earnest the application of his skills and knowledge to kernmantle rope making.

Life safety rope must be strong, consistent, high quality, long wearing, and easy to handle. Given the frugality of most cavers, it also must be inexpensive to buy. PMI has grown in the past 40 years to become a leading life safety rope manufacturer, supplying life safety rope to cavers, climbers, mountaineers, rescuers, rappellers, and military. PMI has a rich history in ropes—they are renowned across the globe and can be found in use on the summit of Mt. Everest, in the caves of China, through the dark reaches of Antarctica, inside Asian industrial plants, by municipal rescue squads, and in the European Alps.

PMI’s commitment to providing high quality rope at reasonable prices has remained steady. As a company of rope users—climbers, cavers, and rescuers—PMI has good reason to hold the people who use their rope in high esteem. We understand our users needs, which helps us define and drive the quality and production of life safety ropes.

Throughout our history, a major priority has always been participating in standards development. We assist in creating and implementing standards that maintain the integrity of life safety ropes and keep the user safe. PMI actively participates in the rope related standards efforts of the Cordage Institute as well as ANSI, ASTM, NFPA and UIAA. We are also engaged in safety programs with several trade organizations and industry peers.

PMI History, founder, Steve Hudson