When you think of the mountain sports outfitter Petzl, you think of high walls, overhanging bouldering blocks and spectacular mountaineering tours. But the story of Petzl began underground - in caveology. What makes Petzl what it is today?

For a few days now, the phrase “We are Petzl” in combination with the hashtag #WeArePetzl has been omnipresent on social media. The ambassadors of the mountain sports equipment supplier Petzl acknowledge their sponsor in their Instagram and Facebook profiles. There is, for example Alexander Megos.who published the following lines:

"Not so long ago I was given a warm welcome by the Petzl family and I am proud to be part of the team."

Alexander Megos.

It sounds similar with the Swiss athlete Nina Caprezwho has been on the Petzl athlete team for countless years. To a large extent, thanks to Petzl and the creative and crazy people at the mountain sports equipment supplier, she developed as a climber.

Is it all mere lip service or is there more to it?

From speleology specialist to international mountaineering equipment supplier

In order to get to the bottom of the question of whether it is a matter of convinced affiliation, we turned to various Petzl athletes who are friends of us. It quickly became clear: Petzl is truly a special company that, despite its current size, has not lost sight of its family background.

The Petzl story began over 50 years ago. The founder Fernand Petzl, a passionate speleologist and inventive craftsman, developed tools for discovering caves in his workshop. In 1968 he sold his first products and founded the Petzl company in 1970.

Fernand Petzl in his workshop.
Fernand Petzl in his workshop.

Petzl achieved its first revolution in 1973 with the launch of its first Headlamp. Another milestone that still shapes climbing today was the launch of the belay device with locking support grigri, in 1991.

The latest model of the Grigri

In the past few decades, Petzl has developed from a family business with a focus on caving products to an international mountain sports supplier and manufacturer of safety equipment. Despite this success, Petzl has remained true to its roots. This is more important to the son of the founder and today's president than a flourishing stock market price.

“Our family company is not listed on the stock exchange. Selling it is absolutely unthinkable for me. That would be a betrayal of all the people who work for us and give everything every day.

Paul Petzl

Film about the history of Petzl

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, Petzl released the following film a few days ago, which tells the story of the company and shows which values ​​Petzl represents. Paul Petzl sums up a central element that can be seen in the video in a quote: "Everything we do must offer added value, must serve a purpose."

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Credits: Cover picture Petzl