Last updated
IndustrySport and Recreation
Founded1975;48 years ago (1975)
FounderFernand Petzl
Headquarters Crolles, France
Key people
Paul Petzl (President)
Number of employees
700 (2016)
Headlamp Tikka XP made by Petzl Petzl tikka xp.jpg
Headlamp Tikka XP made by Petzl
Headlamp Petzl e+Lite Head Lamp Petzl e+Lite with case.jpg
Headlamp Petzl e+Lite

Petzl is a French manufacturer of climbing gear, caving gear, work-at-height equipment, and headlamps based in Crolles (near Grenoble), France. [1] The company was created by the cave explorer Fernand Petzl in the mid-1970s. Their three specialties are:



Fernand Petzl, born in 1912, began his caving career in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In 1936, Petzl was introduced to, then small-time caver, Pierre Chevalier. The two began work on improving the technology behind their sport.

In 1943, Chevalier designed and tested the first nylon rope to replace caving ladders. This technology provided the foundation for nearly all vertical safety methods to come. Chevalier's innovation led to the first 1,000 meter cave descent when Petzl explored the Gouffre Berger in France in 1950. [2]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Petzl began experimenting further with vertical safety technology, and in 1968 he produced his first rope ascenders, then marketed as “Produits Fernand Petzl (Fernand Petzl Products)”. [2] Five years later, in 1973, Petzl developed his first mountaineering headlamp.

In 1975, the Petzl corporation was born as Fernand Petzl established the first company headquarters in Crolles, France. “This was the beginning of Petzl manufacturing.”. [2] The initial workshop was approximately 7,200 square feet (670 m2), and located at the base of Dent de Crolles “Tooth of Crolles” close to Grenoble.

Two years after establishing a base, Petzl produced its first vertical safety harness in 1977. In the early 1980s the company began expanding its products from caving to vertical sports such as rock climbing and mountaineering, as well as to rescue. The company's first brand name head lamp, the ZOOM, was produced in 1981. [2] Later, in 1986, Petzl developed its first R&D department and testing tower.

In 1990, Petzl's first products for work at height were produced, and the Petzl Securité department was developed. Petzl's first self braking device, the Grigri, was produced a year later in the United States. The Grigri is still produced and sold today . Also developed in the 1990s was a modification of Fernand Petzl's initial rope ascender design. The TIBLOC, which is still sold today, was developed in 1998. In 1998, Petzl moved its North American distribution center from La Fayette, Georgia, United States, to Clearfield, Utah, United States. [3] The Clearfield center became the first corporate owned distribution center outside of its own country (France). At the time Petzl depended upon 28 private firms for distribution outside of North America. Pigeon Mountain Industries was the former distributor of Petzl products in North America before the development of the Clearfield location. [3]

Petzl acquired the ice axe and crampon developer Charlet Moser in 2000, thereby expanding its production to include ice climbing technology. The first LED headlamps were produced in 2000 under the brand name TIKKA.

As of 2001, Petzl had approximately 600 products. [4] Later in 2002, the QUARK ERGO was developed and designed to be the first leashless, angled ice axe. [2] In 2004, Petzl's first fall arrest device for work at height was developed. In 2006, the Petzl corporation introduced new general director Pascal Bonino, and the Petzl Foundation was also developed.

The aim of the foundation is to promote low-impact outdoor activity as well as raise social and environmental awareness for outdoor sports such as mountaineering. [5] This is accomplished through the Petzl Foundation's endorsement of ecological preservation projects, research in risk prevention, and general education in work at height and recreational activities at height. [5]

In 2006, Petzl America commissioned the recall of approximately 8,000 Carabiners due to the models’ susceptibility to failure. [6] In January 2007, Petzl participated in safety and rescue demonstrations in Dubai at the world's largest security and safety fair [7]

Fernand Petzl died in 2003. His son, Paul, is the president and founder of the Petzl corporation.

The Petzl Team

The Petzl Team is a group of climbers and innovators who assist the company to develop and test its products. The team consists of the following:

Several members of the team are professional climbers. Some such as Chris Sharma have climbed some of the world's hardest routes. Such routes by Sharma include Jumbo Love (5.15ab) in 2008, La Rambla , Es Pontàs and Realization (considered to be first 5.15 class route) in 2001.

Lynn Hill, another Petzl team member, was the first woman to set and ascend a route graded at 5.12+ or 5.13. In 1990, Hill was the winner of the IFSC Climbing World Cup. Hill also became the first person to free climb The Nose at Yosemite's El Capitan in under 24 hours.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caving</span> Recreational pastime of exploring cave systems

Caving – also known as spelunking in the United States and Canada and potholing in the United Kingdom and Ireland – is the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems. In contrast, speleology is the scientific study of caves and the cave environment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climbing</span> Activity to ascend a steep object

Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or other parts of the body to ascend a steep topographical object that can range from the world's tallest mountains to small boulders. Climbing is done for locomotion, for sporting recreation, for competition, and is also done in trades that rely on ascension; such as rescue and military operations. Climbing is done indoors and outdoors, on natural surfaces, and on artificial surfaces.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mountaineering</span> Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, mountain climbing, or alpinism, is a set of outdoor activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing, and traversing via ferratas that have become sports in their own right. Indoor climbing, sport climbing, and bouldering are also considered variants of mountaineering by some, but are part of a wide group of mountain sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation</span> International sport governing body

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, commonly known by its French name Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme, was founded in August 1932 in Chamonix, France when 20 mountaineering associations met for an alpine congress. Count Charles Egmond d’Arcis, from Switzerland, was chosen as the first president and it was decided by the founding members that the UIAA would be an international federation which would be in charge of the "study and solution of all problems regarding mountaineering". The UIAA Safety Label was created in 1960 and was internationally approved in 1965 and currently (2015) has a global presence on five continents with 86 member associations in 62 countries representing over 3 million people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glossary of climbing terms</span> List of definitions of terms and concepts related to rock climbing and mountaineering

This glossary of climbing terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon related to rock climbing and mountaineering. The specific terms used can vary considerably between different English-speaking countries; many of the phrases described here are particular to the United States and the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rock-climbing equipment</span> List of manmade gear

Rock-climbing equipment requires a range of specialized sports equipment, for training, for aid climbing, and for free climbing. Developments in rock-climbing equipment played an important role in the history of rock climbing, enabling climbers to ascend more difficult climbing routes safely, and materially improving the strength, conditioning, and ability of climbers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pitch (ascent/descent)</span> Steep section of a climbing route requiring a rope

In rock climbing and ice climbing, a pitch is a steep section of a route that requires a rope between two belays, as part of a climbing system. Standard climbing ropes are between 50 and 80 metres long, so a pitch is always shorter, between two convenient ledges if possible; longer routes are multi-pitch, requiring the re-use of the rope each time. In free climbing, pitch refers to classification by climbers of the difficulty of ascent on certain climbing routes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rock climbing</span> Sport in which participants climb natural rock formations

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, across, or down natural rock formations. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and the use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ascender (climbing)</span> Devices used for ascending, braking, or protection in climbing

An ascender is a device used for directly ascending a rope, or for facilitating protection with a fixed rope when climbing on very steep mountain terrain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Single-rope technique</span>

Single-rope technique (SRT) is a set of methods used to descend and ascend on the same single rope. Single-rope technique is used in caving, potholing, rock climbing, canyoning, roped access for building maintenance and by arborists for tree climbing, although to avoid confusion in the tree climbing community, many have taken to calling it "stationary" rope technique.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fernand Petzl</span> World-renowned caver and manufacturer of outdoor equipment under the brand name Petzl

Fernand Petzl was a caver and manufacturer of outdoor equipment under the brand name Petzl.

Pierre Chevalier was a well-known caver and mountaineer from France, with many alpine ascents and cave explorations to his credit. Chevalier is principally known for the exploration of the Dent de Crolles cave system over a twelve-year period, which became the deepest cave in the world. Chevalier recorded this exploration in his book Escalades souterraines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dynamic rope</span> Rope designed to stretch under load

A dynamic rope is a specially constructed, somewhat elastic rope used primarily in rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. This elasticity, or stretch, is the property that makes the rope dynamic—in contrast to a static rope that has only slight elongation under load. Greater elasticity allows a dynamic rope to more slowly absorb the energy of a sudden load, such from arresting a climber's fall, by reducing the peak force on the rope and thus the probability of the rope's catastrophic failure. A kernmantle rope is the most common type of dynamic rope now used. Since 1945, nylon has, because of its superior durability and strength, replaced all natural materials in climbing rope.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pit cave</span> Cave with significant vertical passages

A pit cave, shaft cave or vertical cave—or often simply called a pit and pothole or pot ; jama in South Slavic languages scientific and colloquial vocabulary —is a type of cave which contains one or more significant vertical shafts rather than being predominantly a conventional horizontal cave passage. Pit caves typically form in limestone as a result of long-term erosion by water. They can be open to the surface or found deep within horizontal caves. Among cavers, a pit is a vertical drop of any depth that cannot be negotiated safely without the use of ropes or ladders.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grigri (climbing)</span> Assisted braking belay device

A Grigri is an assisted braking belay device manufactured by Petzl designed to help secure rock-climbing, rappelling, and rope-acrobatic activities. Its main characteristic is a clutch that assists in braking under a shock load. The success of this device has led to grigri becoming a common name for devices of this type. In 2011 a new version, the Grigri 2, was released to replace the original 1991 model. Petzl released the Grigri+ in 2017, adding safety features to the original design, and 2019 saw the release of an updated version of the device, simply called the Grigri. It is named for the African amulet gris-gris, believed to protect the wearer from evil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Belay device</span> Mechanical piece of climbing equipment

A belay device is a mechanical piece of climbing equipment used to control a rope during belaying. It is designed to improve belay safety for the climber by allowing the belayer to manage their duties with minimal physical effort. With the right belay device, a small, weak climber can easily arrest the fall of a much heavier partner. Belay devices act as a friction brake, so that when a climber falls with any slack in the rope, the fall is brought to a stop.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crolles</span> Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Crolles is a commune in the Isère department in southeastern France. It is located in the Isère valley, 20 km northeast of Grenoble, upstream on the river Isère. It has given its name to the Dent de Crolles mountain, which stands just above the city.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Petzl Croll</span>

A Petzl Croll is an ascending device used in caving and industrial rope access made by the French company Petzl. Its name comes from the town Crolles where Petzl's company headquarters are located but might also be a reference to the nearby cave system of the Dent de Crolles, the exploration of which triggered a lot of technical effort leading to innovation in caving equipment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dent de Crolles</span>

The Dent de Crolles is a karstic mountain of the Chartreuse Mountains range, 17 kilometres north east of Grenoble, Isère, France. It has a characteristic "tooth-like" profile and is easily recognizable in the Isère Valley (Grésivaudan) in the Grenoble area. The French word "dent" means tooth and "de Crolles" is derived from the town of Crolles, located next to the mountain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caving equipment</span>

Caving equipment is equipment used by cavers and speleologists to aid and protect them while exploring caves. The term may also be used to refer to equipment used to document caves, such as photographic and surveying equipment. Originally, cave diving equipment was quite limited, but the increasing popularity of caving during the 20th century led to the creation of specialist caving equipment and companies.


  1. Hermann Simon mentioned this company in his correspondent Book as an example of a "Hidden Champion" (Simon, Hermann: Hidden Champions of the 21st Century : Success Strategies of unknown World Market Leaders. London: Springer, 2009.- ISBN   978-0-387-98147-5.)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-16. Retrieved 2009-02-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. 1 2 ‘’Jones’’
  4. ‘’Wharton’’
  5. 1 2 Petzl Foundation Endorses ROCTRIP
  6. ‘’M2PressWire’’
  7. ‘’Arabia2000’’

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