Who we are

Towards 200 years

In 1818 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! So the Grivel ice axe came into being surrounded by skepticism. The English engineer Oscar Eckenstein was received with similar skepticism when in 1909 he 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.

Today 196 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.

Grivel Mont-Blanc has achieved all possible certifications: from TUV GS (Sichereit Gepruft) for product quality to ISO 9001-Vision 2000 for our management system and even the ISO 14001 environmental Certification for Environmental Compatibility.

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.

The new location has allowed us to change to solar energy making our production cleaner and more eco-friendly. Since 2010 all the energy needs are produced by our photovoltaic panels.
Every year they save 1,173 barrels of oil!

Innovation timeline