It all began in the 1930s when a mechanic and caving enthusiast named Fernand Petzl wanted to continue his deeper exploration of previously inaccessible French caves. Petzl and his friends were pushing the limits. They needed new, more advanced tools for the dangerous descents and climbs back to the surface they were facing, so he decided to build a business to meet those needs.
Fast-forward almost 90 years and Petzl gear is up there with the highest-calibre climbing equipment in the world. The brand’s ropes, harnesses and clamps are trusted by professional climbers and firemen, used in sky scraper maintenance and wind turbine repair. Pretty much anywhere you see someone climbing or hanging off something something, chances are there’s a Petzl product in there somewhere.
A history of Inventions and Innovations
Back when it all began, Petzl and his friends were becoming famous for their cave explorations. He was part of a group that initially explored the first 600m of what at the time was thought to be the deepest cave in Europe. As the expeditions continued, the need for innovative equipment increased.
In the 1950s Petzl invented equipment like the Ascender and Descender rope clamps, which he needed after he stopped using fixed ladders and began to use Nylon twine to descend deep caves with steep faces. He also pioneered the first ever climbing pole. As the founder’s explorations continued, so did demand for the equipment that he and his friends were producing under the name Fernand Petzl Products.
By the 1970s, Petzl brought his two sons into the fold and set up in a new factory in Crolles, France. Streamlining the brand name to simply ‘Petzl’, he began to expand the company’s manufacturing expertise into the mountaineering and climbing markets – creating the the brand’s first headlamps and harnesses.
Supporting the world’s elite
As the 90s rolled around the company started ‘Team Petzl’ – an assortment of the climbing and mountaineering world’s elite athletes. Along with a brand new R&D department, their athletes began testing the company’s newest equipment out amongst the elements, putting it through a rigorous programme of climbing tests they formulated to make sure their products we of the highest quality. One of the biggest products to emerge from this high-pressure environment was the world’s first ever self-braking belay device – the Grigi – that made climbing safer and more accessible for the masses.
Petzl at Freeze
Petzl has always designed equipment to meet the demanding needs of their own climbing ambitions. Here at Freeze, we’re stoked to offer a range of Petzl’s gear aimed at ice climbing and mountaineering. We stock an extensive range of headlamps, ice axes, harnesses, pulleys and gear packs like the crevasse rescue kit.
Whatever Petzl product you’re in the market for, you can rest easy knowing it’s been tried and tested in the most extreme conditions, by the best climbers in the world.
Need some help to choose?
If you're looking to buy some new mountain safety equipment but you're not sure what to choose, check out our Avalanche Safety Gear Guide. You'll find it along with lots of other useful information on our Gear Guides page.
Rather speak to a real human being? That's cool too. Just get in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team, and we'll be happy to help you.