Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Celebrate Grivel’s 200-Year Anniversary and You Could Win a Classic 200 Ice Axe and a 200 Rucksack!

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and more benefits with 40% off.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

40% Off Outside+.
$4.99/month $2.99/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.

  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

200 Years of Climbing Gear Evolution

(all materials copyright by Grivel)

200 ICE AXE (value of $299.99)
AND A 200 RUCKSACK (value $189.99)!

Founded in 1818, Grivel is a pioneering brand at the foot of Mont Blanc in Courmeyer, Italy, where after 200 years it continues to produce innovative rock, ice and alpine gear including the 200 Ice Axe and the 200 Rucksack. The 200 Ice Axe and Rucksack speak to Grivel’s long history, and embody the quality and craftsmanship of climbing’s original gear manufacturer—and both can be yours for participating in Grivel’s 200-Year Anniversary Photo Contest.


1. Post your photo(s) of Grivel equipment in use on a climb HERE. You may post as many photos as you wish. Include basic photo information such as the climb name, location and the climber’s name in the Woobox submission box. Watermarked photos will not be accepted. Be sure to include your email in the Woobox form so you may be contacted in the event you are a finalist or a winner.

All photos of Grivel gear in action on rock, ice or in the mountains are welcome.

2. Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. mountain standard time, November 15, 2018.

3. After the deadline, a Grivel representative will choose the best photo and award the Classic 200 Ice Axe and 200 Rucksack to the winner. Winner will be notified within 30 days of contest deadline.


In 1818 the Grivels, a blacksmithing family in Courmayeur, Italy, a small village perched on the southern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif, began adapting farm tools for use in the mountains. Crystal gatherers and chamois hunters were by then guiding tourists up the high peaks of the Alps, and found their traditional alpenstocks, wooden poles as long as eight feet with metal spikes on one end, inadequate. They needed better equipment for hard snow and glacier ice. Around that time some of the guides passed through Les Forges, the neighborhood of Courmayeur where the Grivels wielded their bellows and hammers, and together the guides and smiths modified pickaxe designs into ice axes, with an adze for chopping steps in hard ice. The golden age of alpinism was in full swing and the Grivel smiths and their successors would play starring roles in the development of the sport for the next two centuries, their tools and inventions being used on pioneering ascents in the world’s great mountain ranges.

In the early 20th century, the Grivel family fundamentally changed ice and alpine climbing by advancing crampon design. Since Whymper’s climb of the Matterhorn in 1865, many mountaineers had favored boots with cleats or nails driven into the soles over the ineffective crampons of the day, which were little more than iron spikes strapped to the insteps of boots. The “nailed” boots provided just enough traction to balance up and down steps hewn into the ice by their guides. Imagine trying to climb the frozen ice gullies of Mt. Washington or the iron-hard ice couloirs of the Sierra without crampons—the labor of chopping hundreds to thousands of steps would put most people off mountaineering forever.

British engineer and climber Oscar Eckenstein had a better idea. In 1909 he teamed up with Henry Grivel in Courmayeur to forge the first 10-point crampon. Armed with such a tool, “It is very rare that one encounters an ice passage where it is necessary for a good ice climber to cut even the barest number of steps,” Eckenstein wrote in an Austrian Alpine Club publication.

Yet the 10-point crampons weren’t quite enough of a technological leap to convince all climbers to abandon their hobnailed boots. It took another innovation 20 years later, when Laurent Grivel, Henry’s son and a Courmayeur guide, added two front points to the family crampons, before their advantages became crystal clear. In perhaps one of climbing’s most pivotal ascents, that of the first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger in 1938, two climbers armed with front-points, Anderl Heckmair and Ludvig Vörg, outpaced their ropemates Heinrich Harrer who struggled in hobnailed boots, and Fritz Kasparek, whose crampons lacked frontpoints. Such was the performance of Grivel’s frontpoints that when Harrer looked down at an endless ladder of steps he’d cut in to the ice and saw Heckmair and Vörg racing up in their frontpoints, he “saw the New Era coming at express speed.”

Ice climbing equipment continued to improve through the 1960s, though few climbers sought out steep ice for its own sake. That changed with the development of shorter axes and drooped and curved picks on ice tools. By the mid-1970s, long vertical ice climbs such as Bridal Veil Falls in Colorado and the Widow’s Tears in Yosemite Valley had opened climbers’ eyes to radical new possibilities—both for one-day climbs and for even steeper routes in the highest mountains. By the 1990s, even vertical ice wasn’t enough of a challenge for top climbers, and in Colorado, Canada, and Europe, climbers began dry-tooling up overhanging rock alongside the steepest ice pillars—modern mixed climbing had begun.

Many Grivel innovations helped speed the evolution of modern ice and mixed climbing: forged front points and monopoints on crampons, a radical bend in the shaft of ice tools, and a hand grip specifically designed for leashless climbing. And it’s not just the shape of the tools that changed—materials evolved as well, from the wooden ice axes of the early days to today’s ultralight carbon composite shafts, and from clumsy crampon straps to high-tech plastic bindings that fit boots of all types.

As Grivel enters its third century in business, top ice and alpine climbers including Steve House and Angelika Rainer (the first woman to dry-tool D15) continue to drop by the Courmayeur plant—now powered by solar energy—and share their ideas on climbing techniques and technology. Whatever comes next in the future of alpinism, Grivel innovations are sure to help lead the way.


1. Submitting a photo(s) constitutes entrant’s consent to give Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, nonexclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, create derivative works from, and display such Submissions in whole or in part, on a worldwide basis, in perpetuity, and to incorporate it into other works, in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, for any purpose whatsoever, including for promotional or marketing purposes. Contestant also agrees to to give Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice a license to use entrant’s name, image, and likeness as included in the Submission on the same foregoing terms.
3. By entering, each contestant warrants and represents the following with respect to contestant’s Submission: (a) entrant is the sole and exclusive owner of the Submission; (b) the Submission will not infringe on any rights of any third parties; and (c) any third parties appearing in the Submission have given entrant appropriate consent to be photographed and used a permitted herein. Sponsor reserves the right to request releases from any third parties appearing in any Submissions at any time. Failure to produce third-party releases upon Sponsor’s request may result in disqualification, as determined by Sponsor is its sole and absolute discretion.
4. Only United States residents may participate in the contest—the winner must have U.S. shipping address.
5. Any and all federal, state, and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the contest winner.
6. No purchase is necessary to participate in the contest.
7. Grivel s.r.l. and Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC will make every reasonable effort to provide the winner with the prizes, but if after 60 days is unable to fulfill the prize due to no fault of its own, Grivel s.r.l., and Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC may award the prizes to the second-place winner.
8. Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice many reject submissions that do not conform to contest rules.
9. Receipt of images will not be acknowledged.
10. Employees of Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice magazine are not eligible to participate.
11. Void outside the United States and where prohibited by law.
12. Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice may crop or otherwise alter images.
13. Digitally manipulated photos will not be accepted.
14. Conditions. BY PARTICIPATING, ENTRANTS AND WINNERS AGREE TO RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice, AFFILIATES, PARTNERS, REPRESENTATIVES, AGENTS, SUCCESSORS, ASSIGNS, EMPLOYEES, OFFICERS, AND DIRECTORS (COLLECTIVELY, “RELEASED ENTITIES”), FROM ANY AND ALL LIABILITY, FOR LOSS, HARM, DAMAGE, INJURY, COST, OR EXPENSE WHATSOEVER INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, PROPERTY DAMAGE, PERSONAL INJURY, AND/OR DEATH, WHICH MAY OCCUR IN CONNECTION WITH, PREPARATION FOR, TRAVEL TO, OR PARTICIPATION IN CONTEST, OR POSSESSION, ACCEPTANCE, AND/OR USE OR MISUSE OF PRIZE OR PARTICIPATION IN ANY CONTEST-RELATED ACTIVITY AND FOR ANY CLAIMS BASED ON PUBLICITY RIGHTS, DEFAMATION, INVASION OF PRIVACY, COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT, OR ANY OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY-RELATED CAUSE OF ACTION. Participation in Contest and acceptance of prize constitutes each winner’s permission for Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice to use his/her name, likeness, photograph, and/or any statements made by winner regarding the Contest or Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice for advertising and promotional purposes without notice or additional compensation, except where prohibited by law. Entrants who do not comply with these Official Rules, or attempt to interfere with this Contest in any way shall be disqualified.
15. Disputes, Governing Law. The parties waive all rights to trial in any action or proceeding instituted in connection with these Official Rules, including, without limitation, the Contest. Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to these Official Rules and/or the Contest shall be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association. Any such controversy or claim shall be arbitrated on an individual basis, and shall not be consolidated in any arbitration with any claim or controversy of any other party. The arbitration shall be conducted in the State of Colorado.

THESE OFFICIAL RULES AND THE INTERPRETATION OF ITS TERMS SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF COLORADO WITHOUT REGARD TO ITS CONFLICTS OF LAWS RULES. For any matters that are not subject to arbitration as set forth in these Official Rules and/or in connection with the entering of any judgment on an arbitration award in connection with these Official Rules and/or the Contest, the parties irrevocably submit and consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts located in the State of COLOLRADO. The parties agree not to raise the defense of forum non conveniens.
16. Use of Data. Grivel s.r.l., Liberty Mountain Sports, LLC and Rock and Ice will be collecting personal data about entrants online, in accordance with their privacy policies.