ONE STORY, MANY CHALLENGES THE STORY BEHIND SIMOND IS CLOSELY TIED TO THE HISTORY OF MOUNTAINEERING.
In the early 1820s, in Chamonix, the Simond family had many brothers, all blacksmiths and glass-cutters. They were skilled in working with iron and wood, had a forge on the banks of the River Arve, and produced farming tools, bells and tools for their glass-cutting trade. It was to the Simond brothers that the first explorers turned, asking them to make the tools they needed to explore Mont Blanc.
In 1860, the valley's popularity grew and the brothers split up the work at the forge, and it was François Simond who began to dedicate his work to designing and producing mountaineering equipment: Ice picks, crampons, sleds, skis... François established a small production site at the base of the Bossons glacier, powered by an electric generator. Even at the time, he had the recipe for success: Expertise (iron & wood), technology (the forge & electricity) and customers (explorers); All in Chamonix, which was soon becoming the world capital of mountaineering…
His son Claudius worked there with him from 1925, adding even more to this already successful formula: Simond became a global name in the world of high-altitude mountaineering equipment, accompanying climbers as they took on the first high peaks discovered in the world, and as they discovered the first Alpine peaks. By bringing together the best of technology with climbers' requirements, Simond was able to adapt to emerging needs: Having the best kit possible to take on the most difficult trails.In 1948, Claudius released the very first lightweight carabiner, which would give climbers countless new possibilities…
In 1960, his grandson Ludger led this winning formula to new heights, at a time when mountaineering and climbing were positively booming: Climber mentalities were evolving with the emergence of new technologies and, once again, Simond showed that it could adapt. It was the era of toe spikes, free climbing and an ever-lighter style for ascensions. Ludger was able to meet climbers' needs and expectations by giving them the appropriate kit and was able to securely establish Simond in its position as global leader, particularly in terms of innovation: First ergonomic carabiner (the Cliff), first curved pick (Chacal), first rigid crampons (Makalu), first axe with movable shaft (Scud)... In 1988, Ludger built more spacious and modern headquarters, right at the foot of Mont Blanc, in order to scale the company to align with the brand's ever-growing success. Leading climbers were working with Simond and played their part in contributing to the adventure started by François Simond in 1860.
In 2004, Ludger Simond sold his company to Wichard, a French forge claiming the title of world leader in steel hardware. Since 2004, Ludger Simond has been enjoying a happy and active retirement in Houches. He's still in touch with the Simond teams on a regular basis and remains the company's No. 1 (and somewhat demanding) fan.
After 4 years of collaboration, Wichard wanted to focus on steel hardware. In 2008, Decathlon became the sole shareholder of Etablissements Simond, welcoming the Simond brand to the family. This union enabled Decathlon to enhance its offering with ice axes, crampons, extremely technical and high-quality carabiners. For Simond, its close and privileged relations with the companies in the Decathlon family have enabled it to develop into other product categories: Ropes, harnesses, boots, clothing, etc., to the delight of countless climbers around the world.