Danny Giovale founded Kahtoola® after surviving a life-changing experience in the Dolomites of Italy during the 1990s. He and his brother climbed Campanile Basso and during their descent in the dark, Danny slid down an icy gully, headfirst. Fortunately, his helmet and day pack saved him from injury, but the incident alerted him that a better traction system was needed for traveling on winter terrain. What would emerge is today's Kahtoola Traction System (KTS).
Inspired by the pioneering spirit of his grandparents Bill and Vieve Gore (co-founders of W.L. Gore & Associates), Danny recognized an untapped need in the marketplace for lightweight, flexible crampons. After finishing his B.S. in Physics at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, he explored design concepts in a makeshift garage workshop. By summer 1998, he returned to his hometown, Flagstaff, Arizona, and began focusing more on product development. Eventually, after dozens of design iterations and a few patentable inventions, Danny founded Kahtoola and launched the KTS aluminum at the January 2001 Outdoor Retailer Winter Show.