Introducing the Wild Country New Friends

Wild Country New Friend #1

Iconic Uk climbing brand Wild Country have recently updated their most famous invention and the Wild Country new double axle Friends have landed at Bogong. They are a fantastic piece of kit. This year marks a departure from Wild Country's more traditional approach to cams with the introduction of their next generation of friends, christened the 'New Friends'. Despite the prosaic name, this revamp positions the New Friends as a front runner in this highly contested market. And with the inclusion of some subtle new features, they are likely to stay there for the forseeable future. But that is not to say that they haven't stayed true to their core identity. Wild Country have not tampered with the tried and true camming angle of 13.75°, which they have used on their Friends since their inception in 1977.

The most notable change that the historic company have made this year is parting ways with their single axle design. They have chosen to incorporate twin axles into this new generation, which provides each unit with more range. While falling in line behind other leading brands may seem like a capitulation, Wild Country have ventured their own unique tweak to the axles. They have patented a Hollow Axle design which is said to make the axles stiffer, while also reducing their overall weight.

Another focus this year has been to update the hot forged lobes. Each lobe has had the anodising skimmed off the contract surfaces to increase the grip from the first day of use. They have also widened each lobe as to increase the effective area. DMM has also happened upon these innovations and are also releasing their 2016 Dragons with widened skimmed lobes, but the rumours have it that it was Wild Country which was the trend setter.

The skimmed contact surfaces on a New Friend

Wild Country are now also including a 12mm extendible dyneema sling with the New Friends, which has a 10kN rating when extended and a 12kN rating when doubled. The triggers are shorter than the Helium Friends, as well as having hard stops on the stem. They also sport an injection moulded thumb rest and encased steel swage thumb loop. This, now, engenders a subtle point of difference: they are the only twin axle cam that combines a thumb loop with an extendable sling. So if you're fond of this pairing of features (if you are an aid climber, say) then these are the cams for you.

The final change for this year is to bring the colours of each size into alignment with others on the market, namely the Black Diamond Camalots. So now when you're close to pumping out and you spy a perfect placement for your old red BD C4, you can confidently reach for your #1 New Friend instead.

The New Friends are available in sizes 0.5 – 4, with the older Tech Friends still available in sizes 5 and 6.

Click here to check out the New Friends!

Wild Country New Friends Technical Specifications

Size

Colour

Weight (g)

Range (mm)

0.5 Purple 98 20.6 - 34.5
0.75 Green 115 25.8 - 43
1 Red 134 31.7 - 53.6
2 Yellow 159 41.5 - 69.3
3 Blue 202 52.7 - 88
4 Grey 283 66.8 - 112.1

See our exclusive interview with the designer of Wild Country New Friends here.

See the full range of Wild Country climbing equipment here.