The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Grivel 10-Point Crampon

1908

Grivel G12 crampons

Grivel G12 crampons     Photo: simonov/Flickr

Hunters and soldiers have used rudimentary crampons since the Roman Empire. But it was English engineer and mountaineer Oscar Eckenstein that made them what they are today. Starting in 1908 Eckstein published articles in Ostereich Alpenzeitung—the Austrian Alpine Journal—detailing the results of his research on the manufacture of crampons, their systematic use, and the incredible feats they could perform. He brought his plans for the first 10-point crampons to Henry Grivel, a blacksmith whose family had been producing equipment for alpinists since 1818. They gained a huge following. By June 1912 a competition for “cramponneurs” was organized on the Brenva glacier with Eckenstein judging. Grivel couldn’t patent the new designs because mice had eaten the original drawings, but the family company, Grivel, continued to improve upon the design. In 1932 Henry’s son, Laurent, added dual front points to the crampon, which has become standard for vertical ice climbing as well as mountaineering.

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