Leaving the small village of Courmayeur in the Italian Alps and rounding the first bend, it suddenly opens up: the view of the snow-capped summit of Mont Blanc. Simply breathtaking. “This is the first place you can see it. That’s why Grivel’s company building was built precisely here 200 years ago,” says Gioachino Gobbi. He’s the owner of the company that is world-renowned for its products such as ice axes, helmets, carabiner hooks, expedition backpacks, and crampons. The founders of the company were blacksmiths. Over open fires, they forged tools such as hooks made of iron, which the first mountaineers commissioned at the end of the 19th century. After all, it is here, in this tranquil little village, that alpine tourism has its origins. “Everything started here. And we were here from the very beginning,” says Gobbi in his softly Italian-inflected English. Today, more than two centuries later, Grivel exports 90 percent of its products to more than 35 countries around the world, including even the U.S. and China.