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Le sommet de la salle est le point de jonction de deux grosses galeries. Sa section est rectangulaire et ses dimensions sont de 1,5 m tant en largeur qu'en hauteur. Le lac dans lequel on atteint la surface affecte la forme d'un T : c'est le lac T.

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Dans cette zone, la galerie remonte vers l'aval. Existe-t-il un prolongement possible de la grotte? Brasey et al, Stalactite 12 , En , les plongeurs du G. Photographie Reinhard Kopka. Photographie Markus Schafheutle. Sur les parois de ce vide de grandes dimensions, on peutobserver des formes de lapiaz. Le sol du reste de la galerie est couvert de nombreux blocs. Dans la partie couverte de blocs rocheux, la galerie est assez basse. Even though the company has competitors — and especially TSA for what regards belts or bags — tools for rope ascent are their own references. This moving is imperative because the Petzl family now has seven employees and their turnover has gone up to , French Francs.

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But this location is not simply connected to practical reasons: the site is symbolic because it is at the foot of the Dent de Crolles where all the speleological adventure began, and quite close to the Berger abyss which symbolizes great depths. Nevertheless the link with the speleology world is no longer exclusive; the company opens up to new activities offering excellent perspectives for development.

Fernand Petzl had chosen to work alone, mainly to preserve his independence. Paul, his younger son, is very much involved into the development choices of the activity and his excellent eye for opportunities embarks the company into a sustainable growth, especially thanks to a diversification policy, a widening of the mountain activities spectrum. He is totally part of the craftsman model, this exemplary entrepreneur defined by F. Figure 1. Evolution of French winter sports equipment production in thousands of French Francs.

With this market, as opposed to speleology, Petzl can rely neither on the reputation attached to its name nor on a large network in ski circles. Hence the conquest of the market is only possible through classical ways in industrial competition. These strategies can be summarized into three scenarios: innovate to offer a better product; reduce production costs to propose a cheaper product; or look for an intermediate position aiming at obtaining the best possible value for money.


The newly-developed binding is a great innovation because it makes it possible to glide down on the skis in a slightly more forward position with the same comfort as with an Alpine skiing abutment. As for competitors, even though they also use arguments focused on technical aspects, they remain more general and do not stress the safety aspects.

The versatility of mountain equipments offers many opportunities. As speleologists are condemned to permanent darkness, lighting is of the utmost importance as to lesser extent climbers who often start before daybreak. The specifications are quite similar: quality of lighting, autonomy and reliability in a cold and wet environment and if the French Federation of Speleology counts less than 6, followers in , together the French Alpine Club and the French Federation of Mountain gather almost ten times more.

As the distribution network is the same, selling to them does not require any more investment. As its competitors on the French market 9 are not especially strong on this type of products, Petzl obtains a long-lasting success with the various users. With the development of electro-luminescent diodes LED in , lamps become simple, practical, light, economical and even attractive. Soon speleologists and climbers are successively joined by 5. Non-sports usages also develop like for campers, but also for everyday life situations which require the use of a flashlight, so that the headband lamp market represents the largest part of the company receipts.

The technology transfer attracts many more users. The innovation is all the more important as it is the fruit of a technical evolution and at the same time an extension of the uses of existing equipment Hillairet, Richard, Bouchet, However, it is necessary to underline that the success of the lamp with its initial target public soon made it possible to produce large series at very competitive prices. The relatively attractive price makes this technology more accessible and favours its distribution with even more customers Hillairet, Since then, faced with a henceforth considerable market, Petzl has been threatened by many competitors Black Diamond, Princeton, Frendo, Silva, etc.

Today, Le Vieux Campeur holds 41 references for headband lamps produced by six different manufacturers. Without lingering over all the activities Petzl covers, it is important for us to go back over a decisive stage in the s when the climbing market enjoys an accelerated growth Aubel, Americans appear like pioneers in this activity and manufacturers naturally follow this development.

Troll is the harness specialist. The design of that harness had not significantly evolved during the past decades. The climbing market keeps growing with the development of artificial structures 11 which attract city people to this activity originally born in the mountain Raspaud, To meet the many requests and guarantee the quality of equipments subjected to intense stress, Petzl invests in automatic machines to mechanize harness assembly. This step is also important in the structuring of the company as it turns its craftsman activity into a partly industrialized one.

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  6. Then betting on the growing use of polystyrene froths, Petzl Ltd campaigns for helmet wearing. When karabiners and various other accessories are made available by Petzl, climbers can be fully equipped with the brand products. First, this diversification 12 is due to the limited character of the speleology market and to the opportunities which the increasingly emerging activities represent. This dynamics is made possible by the versatility of certain equipments like the headband lamps which allow the company to rely on its own skills.

    But commercial success is also connected to the harmony between the company values and the evolutions of the market: the search for quality and safety which has always led Petzl to designing new products meets with a public who tries to reduce risk-taking to its minimum. Finally, efforts in innovation enable Petzl to position itself quickly with new products which sometimes manage to get ahead of its competitors. However the company sustainability is also closely related to its choices in strategy and management.

    After slowing down its growth in the middle of s, skiing is now clearly declining figure 1.

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    So, considering the continuing enthusiasm for climbing, Paul Petzl decides to give up the production of ski touring bindings. Other management choices linked to the inside organization of the company have ensured the prosperity of the activity. The partly industrialized production and the development of automated assembly lines make it possible to meet much larger demands. Indeed, this period corresponds to an unprecedented democratization movement in sports practices, including winter sports, thus entailing an increasing need for specific equipment.

    But beyond the narrow link binding manufacturers to consumers, the industrial production mode is part of a wider economic logic which specialists in sporting goods cannot escape. This is the reason why, even though Petzl Ltd has enjoyed a relatively regular and continuous growth since its creation, it is important to analyze the strategies implemented to face the transformations affecting industry and more specifically in the field of sporting goods: mergers and acquisitions, relocation of production sites and race for innovation Bouchet, Hillairet, This agitated history depicts the economic context, but it is widely different from the way Petzl developed.

    Indeed to this day the company remains the exclusive property of the family members and Paul Petzl intends to maintain this position. He declared he had declined every bid that had been made to him. In this way, he can keep the control of his company where he continues to cultivate certain values. On the other hand, the company engaged in two acquisitions which allowed it to strengthen its position on the. In both cases, the acquired companies had been put on sale by their respective owners within the framework of a transfer of activity for one, and a refocusing of the activity for the other.


    Nevertheless Petzl was strengthened by these acquisitions having thus enriched its product range and gained new market shares. Marbach is sold to Petzl. After the acquisition, Petzl maintains the TSA products in speleology and canyoning, but immediately eliminates every competitive climbing product. This way of conducting things will be repeated in a similar way during the second operation.

    In it is bought back by Leborgne, a company which revitalizes its activity by proposing ice axes with a bent handle adapted to a practice which is becoming more and more popular: ice climbing.

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    In , Leborgne wishes to part from it in order to refocus its activity on its main business line: garden equipment Petzl is perfectly indicated to make this deal. With its turnover of