Without the desert, one would not think to build pyramids. Without the ocean, one would not build ships to cross them. Without the mountains, one would not build the tools needed to climb them; as much to see the view from the top as to explore within ourselves. Great ideas do not simply appear. They are forged, hammered and shaped like finely crafted metal by the hands of experience, inspiration and ingenuity.
So it is with CAMP (Concezione Articoli Montagna Premana), situated in the small mountain village of Premana, Italy. This is a place where history, experience, imagination, and verticality have coalesced into a veritable crucible of mountain culture and technical innovation.
Running a global business out of a small village in an uncompromising cirque in the Alps takes real dedication, but these circumstances are the very factors that have led CAMP’s century-plus pursuit of greatness. There is a road into Premana, but no road out. Monte Legnone (2,610 meters) dominates the sky to the north and Pizzo Tre Signori (2,554 meters) to the east. On a clear day, Mont Blanc (the birthplace of mountaineering) can be seen to the west. Internet came to Premana in 2005, cell phone service the following year. Yet, in 2003, CAMP made its single largest investment in company history by building a new R&D facility literally on top of the historic manufacturing facility in Premana. There was simply no new ground to break on the steep hillsides that form the village.
The cobbled streets of Premana are polished from centuries of foot travel, but automobiles will not fit through the narrow corridors. The Premanese are a hearty people with rituals, traditions, even a language of their own. Outsiders are welcomed but are greeted with skepticism until they are invited to become part of the family. This is a right of passage reserved only for those who demonstrate respect for the culture and the mountainous terrain they call home.
The people of Premana have a heritage in manufacturing and are renown for being masters of metallurgy in technical industries like high-end forging and cutlery. In 1889, Nicola Codega established his reputation with a unique industriousness in wrought iron products like cutting implements and bells. In 1920, the military again called upon the services of Nicola’s son, Antonio, to produce high-end piolets for the Italian Army Alpine Troops. From these humble origins, and through the experience of craftsmanship passed on from generation to generation, CAMP has grown to become a state of the art company that attracts top engineers, thinkers and core climbers who are committed to producing the world’s most innovative climbing gear.
The company is run today by six brothers and cousins descended from their great grandfather, Nicola. CAMP is a 120-year-old, family-owned company. These are two things other gear companies cannot say.
In 2014, the company will celebrate a benchmark 125 years, a century and a quarter of innovation that begins with the origins of modern mountaineering and ends with CAMP’s global reputation for producing the lightest piece of gear in nearly every category. And though CAMP remains rooted in the place in which it was conceived, it is a company where forward-thinking commands the utmost respect. So it is with each passing of the torch from generation to generation; a ritual that creates a sense of loyalty, dedication and commitment that harkens back to a simpler time when integrity and vision were held in greater esteem than fashion and hype.
This is the story of CAMP. We are an authentic mountain brand that manufactures authentic mountain products and we thought you’d like to know more about who we are.