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 innovation of the two front points, allowing climbers to stand face on whilst attacking the steep ice and snow gradients. In 1938 this innovation proved the key to the conquest of one the last great problems of the Alps: the North Face of the Eiger. About the same time, the introduction of a Chromolly alloy (Nickel-Chrome-Molybdenum) allowed the production of thinner and therefore lighter crampons. The resulting forged Grivel crampons weighing 360 grams a pair, the Super Leggero Grivel, were used to conquer the three highest peaks in the world, Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga.
In 1982 Grivel was taken over by new management but the ethos of innovation is very much to the fore with the likes of the revolutionary Machine ice axe in 1996 and anti-balling plates, introduced in 2003. Since 2010 all Grivel's energy needs have been produced by photovoltaic panels on their factory roofs allowing them to save 1,173 barrels of oil a year.