Grivel Lab articles

Stories from the Grivel world

the beginning

201 years ago

From the Courmayeur smith the Grivel factory begun, at the foot of Mont Blanc where "alpinism" was born. It was 1818 when the first alpine daring bought the first sticks with the metal tip and the nails to be fixed to the soles of the shoes not to slip and not to consume them on the rocks. The smith’s name was Cassiano Grivel and his son Dominique start to forge the first ice axes, a mix of the mountain stick and the little axe used to cut the steps in the ice.


the first real modern crampon in the history of mountaineering

In the year 1909 an engineer of the English railways, Oskar Eckenstein, arrived and with the help of the unconvinced Henri Grivel realized the first real modern crampons in the history of mountaineering: the Eckenstein-Grivel's 10 points crampons.



No better than a public demonstration to publicize the new idea. So in 1912 was organized on the Glacier of the Brenva a "Councors de Cramponneurs" between the guides of the Valley, realizing the first race in the world and in the history of climbing


THE FIRST 12 points crampon in history

Laurent, Henri's eldest son, in 1929 had the idea of ​​adding two front points to the crampons, thus allowing him to tackle the steepest slopes directly, without zigzagging, making everything easier and faster. The 12 points crampon! 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.


The super leggero conquers the 3 highest peaks in the world

In collaboration 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.


The GOBBI family takes over Grivel company

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.


The Machine revolutionizes the ice axes design

The ice axe “The Machine” established the new geometry for technical tools. From now on this was the shape that all manufacturers would use.


Grivel Pro-Active Antibott

In 2003 Grivel crampons resolve the problem of snow build up under crampons with the first pro-active anti-balling plate.


The new Grivel factory

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 helps our flexibility in the face of the new demands that come in daily from around the world. On the roof of the building there are 7000 square meters of solar panels for 516 kilowatts of power that save 83,000 liters (1,173 barrels) of oil every year and save 806 kilos of CO2 per day to the earth.


The Twin Gate renews the locking system of carabiners

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.


200 years

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.


The present

Today200 years later, Grivel continues in its balancing act between tradition and progress, between forging and aerospace technology, between intuition and R&D. 

Grivel sells more than 90% of its production in more than 50 countries in the world, wherever people looking the mountains see more than a bunch of stones and ice, because the sun always sets later at the top of the mountain and always rises before.