In 1818, 201 years ago, the Grivel family of blacksmiths started to transform their production of agricultural tools to satisfy the rather peculiar demands of a new breed of wealthy tourists who, for unfathomable reasons, wanted to climb the mountains!
In 1909 The English engineer Oscar Eckenstein asked Henry Grivel to manufacture the first modern Grivel crampons.
In 1929, Henry’s son Laurent made the brilliant invention of the two front points, allowing climbers to stand face on whilst attacking the steep ice and snow gradients. This innovation was the key to the conquest of the last unsolved route of the Alps: the North of the Eiger, 21-24th July, 1938.
In 1936, in collaboration for the first time with the Cogne steelworks, Amato Grivel, Laurent’s younger brother, using the Chromolly alloy (Nickel-Chrome-Molybdenum), created a really strong Grivel crampon, thinner and therefore lighter. They forged Grivel crampons weighing 360 grams a pair, up until then impossible. These Grivel crampons, the Super Leggero Grivel, have been used to conquer the 3 highest peaks in the world, the Everest, the K2, and the Kangchenjunga.
In 1982 new blood took over a rather sleepy, uncompetitive Grivel that had allowed itself to be overtaken by rival companies. New management led by Gioachino Gobbi was convinced that over a hundred years of tradition, the brand name and the company’s location were a recipe for future success.
1996 = The Machine: the Grivel ice axe that revolutionized the design of technical tools. From now on this was the shape that all manufacturers would use.
In 2003 Grivel crampons resolve the problem of snow build up under crampons with the first pro-active anti-balling plate.
In May 2009 the company opened a new production unit in a much bigger space where it is easier to manage the different lines of production. This will help our flexibility in the face of the new demands that come in daily from around the world. This new set up means that we can widen our range of products and maintain our avant-garde position in the marketplace.
In 2014 Grivel patented the first carabiner with two opposing opening doors for a total safety for the user even without any intervention on his part. The safest carabiner ever produced. The Twin Gate carabiner has been awarded the "Compasso d'Oro" the Oscar for design, the first time in the outdoor tools.
The 200th anniversary of the company was celebrated on 5 August 2018, with a big party that involved the entire community of Courmayeur, the historical site of the factory, and that saw the participation of collaborators, journalists, athletes and friends from all over the world. This celebration also marked the renewal of the historic factory in Courmayeur where the "Espace Grivel" is set up: an exhibition space that tells the evolution of mountaineering and the story of the company.
Today 201 years later, Grivel, still basically one large family, continues in its balancing act between tradition and progress, between forging and aerospace technology, between intuition and R&D.