Grivel Turns 200 and Timeline of Innovative Gear

The Grivel name has had a strong connection to climbing for two centuries – both for the innate passion that has bound the Grivels to the mountains for generations and for the pioneering innovations of the equipment created by the skilled hands and ingenuity of the Grivels.

The skill and professionalism of the Grivel family are also evident in other activities that are now part of Courmayeur history, such as the historical sporting goods store called 4810 Sport, the new concept of ski rental/storage at Dolonne, the celebrated La Chaumière Restaurant directly on the slopes, cozy holiday rental apartments and the Val Ferret Fishing Club.

Over 200 years ago at the foot of Mont Blanc, in an area later called Les Forges, blacksmiths were busy making horseshoes, nails for boots and agricultural tools.

The water coming down from Europe’s highest mountains made the wheel of the first basic machinery turn.

In 1760, Horace Benedict de Saussure offered a money prize to the first to successfully climb to Mount Blanc’s summit.

On Aug. 8, 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel Gabriel Paccard, both locals, laid claim to the prize by reaching the top.

Early use of Grivel equipment

Their climb included a forced bivy on the glacier, which disproved local legend that such a feat was not possible.

The first ascent marked the start of modern mountaineering and soon the need for specialized tools.

A few years later, the first blacksmith for Grivel was busy making shovels and hoes for working in the fields, locks for doors, horseshoes and nails for boots.

One day, a hunter was hired by an English tourist to take him to the top of a mountain. The hunter asked the blacksmith to make a different pick, something lighter and longer than usual, with a flat part to cut the ice.

And the first ice axe was born. Often they were modified agricultural picks.

There is little documentation around the time of Grivel’s founding, except for a cornerstone of the architrave in the workshop where the Grivels worked, which says 1818.

In 1871, sir Leslie Stephen said, “The first British travellers came to the mountains in the first decades of the 19th century with the intention of using them as a playground for a new sport: alpinism.”

In the following year, the blacksmith made many of them and improved the model. More and more wanna-be climbers started visiting the blacksmith to purchase the newly-made tools.

In 1909, The English engineer Oskar Eckenstein asked Henry Grivel to manufacture the first modern crampons. They dramatically cut down the time required to cut steps.

Grivel Crampon 1909

Then in 1929, Henry’s son Laurent made the brilliant invention of the two front points, allowing climbers to stand face on while climbing steep ice.

In 1936, Amato Grivel, Laurent’s younger brother, using the Chromolly alloy (nickel-chrome-molybdenum), created a much stronger crampon, which were not as thick and only weighed 360 grams a pair. They were called the Super Leggero Grivel and were later used to climb three of the highest peaks in the world: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga.

Fast forward to 1993 when Grivel introduced the Rambo, a rigid crampon with a stable platform and no vibrations. Forged front points were added for the first time, a huge improvement.

Then in 1996, Grivel made the Machine ice tool. It revolutionized the design of technical tools. From then on, it was the shape that all manufacturers would use.

A few years later, Grivel made the Top Machine, the first tool without leashes. And they then came up with anti-ballers for crampons.

In 2010, Grivel installed a solar-panel roof and starting to produce its goods with solar energy.

In 2018, they’ll be hosting a 200-year anniversary party in Courmayeur and are releasing retro-gear. Thanks to Grivel for constantly pushing to improve how climbers move in the mountains.

Oliviero Gobbi with new retro packs and ice tool at Outdoor Retailer 2018

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Watch Hard Rock: a Tribute to Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

To celebrate the life of Ken Wilson (1941 – 2016), the British Mountaineering Council teamed up with Hot Aches Productions to release this tribute.

Featuring never-seen-before interview footage with Ken describing just why he was so passionate about British trad climbing, reconstructions of his early climbing adventures, plus Steve McClure, Calum Muskett and Michaela Tracey climbing three iconic routes, this film is a 20-minute trad treat.

Many books have been written about British climbing, but one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest: the iconic Hard Rock, compiled by Ken Wilson.

It might have first hit the shelves in 1974, but this feast of climbing literature has weathered the following years as easily as a granite crag.

Over 40 years on, the routes lovingly described by the bold first ascentionists are often still the highlights of any trad climber’s year: The Bat, Totalitarian, The Old Man of Hoy, A Dream of White Horses, Diagonal, Vector, Valkyrie, Sirplum to name but some.

These 61 routes share 173 gleaming stars and all perfectly capture that unique feeling of British climbing adventure.

Hard Rock has now outlived Ken. His death left a hole in the climbing community, but his legacy will continue to shape British climbing.

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Jesús Gálvez will talk about the history of La Pedriza in the cycle 'Meet the mountain'



Jesús Gálvez will be the protagonist of this Wednesday of the cycle Meet the mountain with a conference entitled "La Pedriza from its beginnings". In his fifth
edition, this set of conferences will be held from January to
June 2018, the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018 – Updated at 4:53 p.m.




                     Promotional poster of the cycle 'Meet the mountain' 2018

Promotional poster of the cycle 'Meet the mountain' 2018 (Cycle 'Meet the mountain')



One more year, "Know the mountain"
will occupy a prominent place in the afternoons of Madrid. In his fifth
edition, this set of conferences will be held from January to
of 2018, the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. He
will host the fifth edition of "Meet the Mountain", and
will do with the collaboration of RSEA Peñalara and
Madrilenian Mountaineering Federation
. The program is rededicated
both sports and cultural aspects of the mountain, the
expedition and mountaineering; some conferences that are not directed
only to mountaineers and mountaineers, but to lovers of
nature and adventure in general.

The protagonist of the next appointment will be Jesús Gálvez who will offer a projection-conference entitled "La Pedriza from its beginnings" that talks about an escalation
full of peculiarities and, above all, with a long history. As on other occasions, Jesus will pass
slides, tell anecdotes and expose his philosophy and his way of
understand the mountain.

The name of Gálvez, climber born in Zaragoza
but settled in Madrid since early adolescence, is known for
several generations of mountaineers, well associated with charismatic routes and
or to large scale and openings made in different
Latitudes From Ordesa or Terradets to Yosemite, from the mythical "Pilar del
Cantabrico "to Salto del Ángel, passing through the classic Galvez
Pedriceras, which will undoubtedly speak on this occasion.

Successive dates
Cecilia Buil, Javier Cacho and other guests will be brought to the center of Madrid,
intervention that closes the cycle: the projection on Felix
Pablos Ramón Portilla is preparing conscientiously, and that
it will take its final form and appearance on June 27.

The conferences will take place in the
7th floor of Plaza del Callao 2, starting at 7:00 p.m. and
previous registration for one, several or all of them. These
formalized via mail addressed to until the closing of the
respective gauging.

The list of dates, titles and
guests is the following:

Program (seconds and fourth Wednesdays
of each month, at 7:00 p.m.):


Day 14 / Cecilia Buil . HuEllas on ice


Day 11 / Javier Cacho . The last great
challenge: the career of the South Pole. How did Scott die?

Day 25 / Carlos Rubio . Spirit of


Day 9 / Cervino Productions . Die
for the top. TV version.

Day 23 / Antonio Riaño . Memories of
my knapsack.


Day 13 / Alberto Arias . From Capadocia
to Ararat. Turkey through its mountains.

Day 27 / Ramón Portilla . Felix de


Get ready for the mountain:


 Cover of the manual Training for the new mountaineering. By Steve House. "Src =" "style =" width: 150px; height: 212px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 5px; float: left;

Training for the new mountaineering

by Steve House

Almost 450 pages full of information about resistance and strength training methodology, planning and its application to nutrition, adaptation to altitude, without forgetting mental training or evaluation


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Indoor Weekly: Florent Balsez Readies for Nationals

Florent Balsez at Tour de Bloc on Fe.b 10 Photo Mike Penney

Florent Balsez is a Toronto-based climber who’s been competing for 19 years, 10 in France and nine in Canada.

He’s heading to the Canadian Open Boulering Nationals at Up the Bloc this weekend.

On Feb. 10 he climbed his way to second at a big Tour de Bloc comp at Up the Bloc. He finished ahead of Lucas Uchida and behind Zac Richardson. We touched base with him a few days before Nationals.

Where was your first competition? It was in Montpellier, France.

What’s your home gym now? Up The Bloc and now Joe Rockhead’s too, as they are now both owned by the same owners. [Read about the recent purchase of Joe Rockhead’s by Luigi Montilla and Jean-Marc de la Plante here]

Do you have a specific training plan or do you just climb a lot to train? I have been following the same training plan for about five years now: the core of it is a sequence of four macro-cycles going from volume/base endurance, strength/hypertrophy, then power/campusing and finally power-endurance specific to competitions.

I also go from general to specific as the season progresses: I do more conditioning in the summer (running, biking, weight training and yoga) and more climbing-specific drills in the winter.

I adjust the plan according to various factors: injuries, life outside of climbing, specific weaknesses, etc. On my rest days I try to practice yoga.

The Nationals are this weekend, have you been training specifically for it? Yes, I train all year specifically for this event, trying to “peak” for Nationals is my number-one goal.

Are you going for the podium this year? My goal is to make Finals but podium would be a bonus.

Who do you think has a chance of making top three? Besides Sean McColl, who is pretty much sure to be on it, I think a few people now have a chance to make podium.

The competitive landscape has changed a lot in the past three or four years and we have a lot more strong climbers throughout the country. So it is very hard to say who can make podium. Seb Lazure is my favourite climber and Lucas Uchida/Zach Richardson are the two raising stars.

What do you think the problems will be like? A lot of volumes, complex to read and demanding technically. I don’t expect too many crazy jumps and other circus like problems.

Do you like the current problem setting style with big jumps and parkour style moves? Not really. I do not mind smearing on big volumes and “balancy” moves as I think they mimic outdoor climbing pretty well.

However, I am really not a fan of run and jumps as this would never be a move outside.

What is one of your strengths? Definitely my flexibility and my crimp strength. I am an “old school climber” after all.

What are your 2018 plans? I want to do more routes this year, lead season and then outdoor at Lion’s Head.

It would also be nice to discover a new climbing destination in the fall, maybe Joe’s Valley, Red Rocks or Hueco.

Finally, I would love to take some time to climb in the South of France when I go visit my family and friends this summer. I really miss climbing there.

Any outdoor projects? Yes, the famous line Titan 5.14a at Lion’s Head and I have been working The Heat V12 at Niagara Glen for a while now. Hopefully it will go this spring!

Find out more about Nationals this weekend here.

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End of Alex Txikon's Everest-free winter attempt to Everest


After considering different possibilities and considering that the permit
 ends on the 28th, in addition to not seeing a good next window
until March 14, the Vizcaya mountaineer and his team take for
concluded its attempt, and will descend tomorrow from the base camp (5,350m) where
have passed these last two months.


Communication team Alex Txikon
– Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – Updated at 5:44 p.m.




                     Alex Txikon in the winter Everest. Feb2018

Álex Txikon on the winter Everest.



The days do not pass in vain in the base camp of Alex Txikon, on the slopes of the Himalayas at the foot of the roof of the world. The winter came wanting to provide an opportunity to tread the 8,848 meters in the coldest time of the year, and as never before had seen, without the use of artificial oxygen. But, the weather has not played in favor of Alex Txikon and his team.

After doing a good job of acclimatization making the second winter of the history of the Pumori (7100 m), and equip up to 7,850 meters near of field 4 of Everest, February lurked with infarct temperatures and exciting windows of good weather that appeared from February 14 but never came. Finally, on February 21, in principle perfect day to launch the attack to the summit and progressively ascend towards the goal, it became a bad dream capable of breaking all statistics with winds exceeding 100-130 km / h at the top that endangered the life of the entire team. It was a great blow after the work of two long months opening the way and equipping the whole mountain.

"The truth is that these are not easy moments, my greatest hope was to go from that Field 4 to the top, but the mountain is the one that decides, and it was impossible to advance with those conditions. After all, the most important thing is for the entire team to come back safe and sound in order to continue dreaming and enjoying the mountain, "says Alex Txikon.

of expedition ends on February 28 and, taking into account the extra expense that would involve renewing it, and that the next possible window of good weather predicted by meteorologists would not arrive until mid-March – almost end of winter- the team of Alex Txikon ends the winter Everest expedition without artificial oxygen of 2018. Given the circumstances, and after considering all possible options to persevere along the way to achieve his dream, a tough decision has been made but necessary.

To conclude, highlight the good atmosphere and coordination of a team that has been understood to perfection, and whose good atmosphere has been perceived in social networks, where more than 73,000 p People have followed their adventures every day.

Communication Team Alex Txikon


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Canadian Noah Beek Wins Gold at European Ice Cup

Canadian Noah Beek has won gold and defeated some of the best ice climbing competitors at the European Ice Cup held in Oulu, Finland.

Beek, who is based in B.C.’s Cranbrook, said after the Feb. 24/25 comp, “What a weekend! Super stoked to have placed first at the last Euro cup in Finland. Thanks everyone for all the support.

“And thank you to all the volunteers who braved the -25°C. So excited to see so much stoke for this sport here.”

David Bouffard finished 16th as the only other Canadian to compete at the event. Full results here.

Overall in the world standings after this year’s UIAA Ice World Cup Canadians finished: Beek in 13th, Nathan Kutcher in 25th, Gord McArthur in 30th, Bouffard in 32nd, Ineke Rhebergen in 15th and Rebecca Lewis in 31st.

Oulu Finals Results Male/Female
1. Noah Beek (CAN) / Mira Alhonsuo (FIN)
2. Artem Bazegskiy (RUS) / Ange Rainer (ITA)
3. Georgy Duplinskiy (RUS) / Enni Bertling (FIN)

“Through my involvement in competitive ice climbing, I have met people from many different countries and made some truly amazing friendships,” Beek said in a 2017 interview.

“It did not take long to feel welcomed into this family of people who have a common love for this sport. Even though we are competing, we are all encouraging and supportive of each other. We only want to see our fellow competitor do their best.”

Beek continued “The success of an event cannot be based solely on the competition itself but also on the cultural experience it offers.”

Watch the video below to learn some of the ice/mixed jargon used by winter climbers.

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Ali Sadpara abandons, Álex Txikon maintains hope



The Pakistani is already in Kathmandu, together
with Temba Bhote. The Biscayan mountaineer and five sherpas await the arrival of
a good weather window towards mid-March.

– Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – Updated at 2:30 pm




                     Winter Everest Base Camp (February 2018)

Base camp of winter Everest (Photo: Álex Txikon)



The winter expedition to Everest without oxygen by Alex Txikon
It is not over
. A message on the social networks of the Vizcaya mountaineer had
Sowed the doubt about if it ended the efforts and returned
for home, after the unsuccessful attempt
which took them up to a few meters above C3 (7,100 m) last week.

That message yesterday from Alex Txikon said: "Today 2 years ago
that we got the first winter of the Nanga Parbat. Destiny has wanted
Today Ali Sadpara and I are together. This time, winter has not given us
the opportunity, but surely an exciting future brings us back together in a
new adventure

Next, it was learned that Ali Sadpara was already in
Kathmandu and everything hinted that Alex Txikon remained in the base camp
to dismantle it. However, today Txikon himself has clarified the situation
with a new message for his followers:

We continue in base field ,
but the weather does not work in our favor. Temba Bhote and Ali Sadpara have
returned to Kathmandu because they were unable to continue
. The rest
We are very strong, and from here, I would like to assess the great
work of Chhepal Sherpa, Nuri Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Halung Dorje
Sherpa and Gyalje Sherpa
throughout the expedition, incredible. Everything indicates that
the weather forecast will not be favorable until mid-March . We're
shuffling the different possibilities. I'm going
counting A huge hug!

Unstable weather

The weather forecasts are,
indeed, very unstable for the next few days. According to the provided parties
by, is not glimpsed in the horizon of a week
no chance to launch an attempt to summit Everest
. Although
the jet stream (hurricane and persistent winds at high altitudes) seems that
it's history at this point of the season, no day meets the
desired conditions of weak wind and clear skies. If there is no wind forecast
snowfall is expected or abundant cloudiness and possible mists. Of course, the
temperature is never favorable, without rising from -30ºC at the top.

Alex Txikon has the hopes
put in what happens from Tuesday or Wednesday of next week
If a wide window of good weather were opened then the equipment could
Consider a new attempt in mid-March.


Winter Ochomilism


The voice of the ice

The eight thousand in winter: my dream almost impossible

by Simone Moro

The voice of the ice is a great story of motivation and passion for exploration and, in particular, for winter eighties.


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Indoor Weekly: Learn How to Dyno in the Gym

To dyno from one hold to the next is an important skill for bouldering and can help with your route climbing.

Basically, a dyno is when you push off with your legs and one or two hands and catch yourself on another hold. There’s often a big swing and you need power and coordination.

Some climbs are impossible for climbers without a little jump, depending on their height and the space between holds on a route or boulder.

There are a number of dynamic moves, from short lunges to a slap to a small jump with one hand, but the ultimate goal here is a full-on all-points-off dyno.

The most important part of any dyno is making sure it’s safe to attempt. You don’t want to land awkwardly or land on anything.

It’s difficult to spot a climber if they miss a dyno. Everyone needs to use their judgement because every dyno is different.

To fully understand a dyno, you need to understand trajectory, which is the path taken by the centre of gravity. You start by moving quickly and then slow at the next hold.

You really want to use your legs, as they are the most powerful muscles in your body. Think of your arms as a pivot and your legs as a spring.

There are three phases to a dyno: setup, launch and latch.

Watch Ayo Sopeju talk about the basics to take your dynoing to the next level below.

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First national meeting of all mountain rescue groups



The objective of
meeting is to know what accidents occur in each community
autonomous, who is in charge of the rescues and try to unify the
data obtained to build the foundations of a future Observatory of
Mountain Security The meeting will be on March 7 in Madrid.


Alberto Ayora / DESNIVEL
– Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – Updated at 11:39 p.m.




                     Poster of the first national meeting of all mountain rescue groups. 2018

Poster of the first national meeting of all mountain rescue groups. 2018



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Daniel Woods Sends His First 5.15b

Daniel Woods has climbed La Capella 5.15b in Siurana, Spain, after less than a week of trying.

The hard test-piece was first climbed by Adam Ondra in 2011 and repeated this year by Stefano Ghisolfi.

Woods wrote on Facebook, “A savage boulder style route established by Ondra and recently repeated by Ghisolfi.

“The climb is broken into three boulder problems with no rest. An intro five-move 8A+ (V12), straight to a seven move 8A+/B (V12/13), straight to a five-move 7c (V9).

“After this you get a victory 7b (5.12b) to the anchor. All natural and amazing movement with some of the coolest grips I’ve grabbed onto.”

Woods recently posted about how 2017 was a bad year after a divorce and DUI. “I grew further from my true identity and let the film of black cover my eyes,” said Woods.

” I did not feel love anymore, just resentment and hate. Confused with how to get out of this state of mind I began to worry if this feeling was forever. It wasn’t though, I just had to start with feeling love from within again.”

Woods said he has over two months left in Spain to climb more hard routes.

He is one of America’s most accomplished rock climbers with three first ascents of V16 boulders, he’s wont the USA National Championships nine time and won first place at the Vail World Cup in 2010.

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