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Our history

It all began in the 1930s with one man: artisan and caver Fernand Petzl. Discover the key moments in the company's evolution.


Fernand Petzl, a pioneer

"My father was an artisan and a speleologist explorer. From early childhood on, I was immersed in the thrill of discovery. The pleasure of designing and then perfecting objects drove my father, Fernand Petzl. The company revolutionized activities connected with lighting and verticality." Paul Petzl


The Petzl adventure began with Fernand Petzl's passion for caving, a passion to which he dedicated his talents as a craftsman. Petzl expertise began to grow with the design and crafting of solutions for ascending, descending, belaying and moving about in the dark. In 1970, the first "Fernand Petzl" brand products were produced in a workshop in Saint-Nazaire-Les-Eymes, Isère, France. Since then, the Petzl company, established in 1975, has grown into an international enterprise, all the while preserving its personal feel and the passion that drove Fernand Petzl.


1936: Fernand Petzl starts exploring the Dent de Crolles in France

1950: Fernand Petzl and others explore the Gouffre Berger in France, the first 1000-meter cave descent

1968: Our first rope ascenders and descenders (BASIC, SIMPLE) are brought to market under the name Fernand Petzl

1973: The first Petzl mountaineering headlamp is invented

1975: Founding of the Petzl company in Crolles, France

1977: The first Petzl harnesses are produced

1990: The first products are designed specifically for the professional market

1991: The GRIGRI, the first self-braking belay device, is invented

1998: The TIBLOC, an ultra-compact rope ascender, is introduced

1999: Our US subsidiary is founded in Salt Lake City

2000: The first Petzl LED headlamp, the TIKKA, is introduced. Acquisition of ice axe and crampon manufacturer Charlet Moser

2004: ASAP mobile fall arrester 

2006: The Petzl Foundation is created. Introduction of the EXO personal escape system for New York City firefighters

2008: Creation of Petzl Solutions for training and experimentation

2010: Opening of Petzl Manufacturing in Malaysia

2012: The NAO headlamp with REACTIVE LIGHTING technology

2013: ZIGZAG mechanical Prusik for tree care

2014: Petzl's subsidiaries in Spain and Germany are founded

2016: New GRIGRI + belay device


Want to know more?


Download the From the Deep: the Petzl Adventure book by Sophie Cuenot and Hervé Bodeau
Digital format (PDF) 59 Mo - French and English versions