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Wild Country

Wild Country Helium Friends

In short

Thirty three years in the making and the distillation all Wild Country's knowledge the new Helium Friends are the strongest and lightest Friends ever and build on the unique heritage of the most inspired, innovative and copied product in climbing. From the company that made the first ever camming device, Helium Friends are stylish, dynamic and ergonomic. The Helium Friend is designed to be the ultimate Friend and has been superbly re-engineered to achieve this aim with a unique mix of classic and new features. It’s the Friend that completes the sharpest, lightest racks, the Friend for the hardest sends and the most insane cracks; the Friend to lead the next generation
Brand: Wild Country
Activities:
Type Of Gear:
www: Wildcountry Helium Friends
Variations: By size
Warranty:

Technical specifications

Weight: 87g / 91g / 95g / 104g / 109g / 117g / 145g / 171g / 208g
Sling Strength:
Sling Material:
Sling Length:
Sling Width:
Breaking strength:
Camming Angle:
Certifications:
Head Material:
Number of Axles: 1
Number of Lobes: 4
Range: 14-22.54 / 16.56-26.66 / 19.71-31.73 / 23.59-37.98 / 28.41-45.73 / 34.4-55.39 / 41.9-67.47 / 51.34-82.65 / 63.25-101.83 mm

Features

Extensible Sling: No
Thumb Loop: Yes

Look and feel

Colors:

Production

Start & End of availability:
Made in:

Product Identification

Manufacturer Product ID:
UPC / EAN:

Other Product Specifications

Sizes: 0.0 / 0.5 / 1.0 / 1.5 / 2.0 / 2.5 / 3.0 / 3.5 / 4.0
Color: Blue / Red / Gold / Silver / Red / Gold / Purple / Blue / Silver
Instructions: Wildcountry Helium Friends Instructions
Size: Whole Sizes|Half Sizes
Strength: 12 kN

Detailed description

For only the third time in 33 years Friends have truly changed. The new Helium Friend is lighter and more solid than ever, building on the unique heritage of the most inspired, innovative and copied product in climbing. Stylish, dynamic and ergonomic; the Helium Friend is designed to be the ultimate Friend and has been superbly re-engineered to achieve this aim.

At the head, radically revised new hot forged cam lobes shed weight without loss of strength, create more range per unit and optimize the overlaps between sizes. At the base, a new thumb loop, trigger and sling combine to give a smoother action with more reach and extra clipping points. The Helium Friend redefines ease of use. As testament to the first Friends, the Helium stays true to the original, key, immutable concepts, those features Friends did first and best, that have been proved time and again since day one.

So the Helium keeps a slick single stem and predictable single axle, a ‘floating’ trigger design and the awesome holding power of our 13.75 degree cam angle. It is this mix of old and new, classic and radical, of experience and proven design that makes the Helium Friend the most complete cam there is. This is the Friend that completes the sharpest lightest racks, the Friend for the hardest sends and the most insane cracks; the Friend to lead the next generation.

Technology, Features and Specifications

Designing the Helium Friends from scratch has made some essential differences to it’s features, form and function. Significantly, Helium Friends have got a more concise and ordered range - trimming the number of units to nine - while at the same time each Friend’s individual range has increased and importantly so has the overlap between units, both adjacent and alternate.

Simply put, this means there’s a better chance the unit either side of the one you need but don’t have will fit the placement you need it to - more placements with less units! The slick external overhaul also brings big benefits with a new stem/thumb loop making smoother triggering and giving a longer reach per unit, meaning deep placements are easier to place and remove and the new sling should mean less need to extend.

However, not scrapping all that went before has also left lots of well tested features, instilling this new unit with an instant confidence and familiarity in the hand and creating a unit with an unrivalled combination of utility, durability and ergonomics.

New Features:


Hot forged cams, New trigger, New Thumb loop, New 12mm Dyn sling. Trigger stop, Nine Sizes. New springs, New stainless axle, All units 12kN, New stem cover. More reach, Up to 6% lighter per unit, Up to 20% more range per unit, Bigger overlaps.

Classic Features:


13.75 cam angle, Single axle, Single stem, Scaled head width, Full floating trigger with independent cam triggering, Full strength cam stops , Colour coded.

Pros and cons

  • Excellent build quality (1 vote)
  • Excellent ergonomics (1 vote)
  • Good value (1 vote)
  • Handle well with gloves (1 vote)
  • Long stem (1 vote)
  • Really long stem for deep placements (1 vote)
  • Extendable slings would be nice but maybe they're DMM-patented! (1 vote)
  • More evolution than revolution (1 vote)
  • Seem less solid than other units (1 vote)
  • Seriously expensive for a single-axle cam! (1 vote)

Awards

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Traction
2.2
Overall rating:

(3 votes) 4.0
Your rating:
 
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Owned by

jadias jadias
Score: 25015
Level: 4
James Slater James Slater
Score: 5507
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Albert Leichtfried Albert Leichtfried
Score: 990
Level: 1
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Sandy Sneddon Sandy Sneddon
Score: 15499
Level: 3
Sam Feuerborn Sam Feuerborn
Score: 12120
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My opinion

 
Product quality:
12345
4.8 (3 votes)
 
Product value:
12345
3.2 (3 votes)
 
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Reviews (Top 3 rated)

 
User Image

Rigid Friends were the first cams available - Ray Jardine's own design. They were revolutionized when flexible stem came along, opening up much greater flexibility in cam postitioning, especially in horizontal placements. Wild Country seem to be promoting the new Helium Friends as the next big revolution. Are they really as big a leap as flexible stems or dual axles?

Well, honestly, they're not revolutionary at all. They are, however, bloody great cams and anyone looking to fill out their rack should definitely take a look.

My rack consists of DMM Dragons (honestly I think these are nigh-on perfect), a single WC Tech Friend and from this summer a single WC Helium Friend, bought mostly on impulse just to see what they were like. I've used BD Camalot C4s and DMM 4CUs before, so I have a reasonable base to judge these against (and on a variety of rock).

Turning the Heliums over in your hand, you're struck by how bombproof they feel. They're really, really solid. And pretty darn beautiful to boot - all rounded edges, perfect casting and not even any mold lines on the plastic parts. Phenominal. I know it's something of a moot point to obsess over the appearance of something that's going to get stuffed into cracks and dragged up chimneys, but they're tiny works of art. It's all rather confidence inspiring.

Design-wise WC seem to have borrowed the best bits from various other cams. The thumb-loop is clearly borrowed from BD's Camalot C4 design and is honestly a pretty huge improvement over the old Tech Friends. Very easy to use even with gloves and allows the sling to pivot nicely. The sling itself is a really beefy job and is just about the right length (although I do prefer DMM's extendible slings). The stem is really long - much longer than the Tech Friends or Dragons. I don't have a Camalot C4 or a 4CU to compare it to but I'm confident it's longer than them too. The stem is somewhat flexible, similar to the Dragons, although not to the extend of the Metolius Mastercams. The trigger bar is nice and wide and again handles well with gloves on.

The business end is really solid. Big burly lobes which are nicely cast to reduce weight. A big fat axle that inspires confidence. Quality wire. The lobes are anodized in a logical sizing scheme. All very good.

In use they are fantastic. I've not taken a fall onto one yet, but they place really solidly and make you want to push yourself above them. The spring are really strong and they really don't seem to walk much - the freely-moving sling helps as well, I think, even if you don't extend them quite enough. Additionally they're not too heavy (much lighter than the Tech Friends) and they rack nicely, so they're not a burden to climb with.

Overall I would highly recommend them. They're lovely to place thanks to their strong springs, good ergonomics and long stem. They are however bloody expensive! Are they worth more than a DMM Dragon? Perhaps not. If you can get a deal, though, definitely consider them.

  • Very solid feel
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Really long stem for deep placements
  • Strong springs mean less walking
  • Handle well with gloves
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Extendable slings would be nice but maybe they're DMM-patented!
  • Seriously expensive for a single-axle cam!
  • More evolution than revolution
User Image

These new cams from WC supercede the tech friend, and they really are better. They do nothing unique here, but these cams are definitely a benchmark in single stem camming devices.
Over the older tech friends, they have a wider camming range, giving better placements in a variety of situations. They are very lightweight, the unit head especially feels lighter than the stem! They also have a longer stem, allowing you to place them with more control in deep cracks, or awkward far away placements.

In comparison to other brands, they really hold their own, and are good value for money. I would definitely reccomend these, good quality at an affordable price.

  • Good value
  • Excellent build quality
  • Long stem
  • Smooth action
  • Very lightweight
  • Seem less solid than other units
 
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