WILD COUNTRY: 40 years FRIENDS - Up-Climbing


Developed by an intuition of the two climbers founders of WILD COUNTRY, FRIENDS celebrate 40 years of life and remain the most iconic product of the Derbyshire brand and best represents Pure Climbing philosophy.

Ray Jardine and Mark Vallance, two young Britons from Derbyshire County, have a common passion: climbing. They met in the wall in 1972, from that meeting they share the opening of new roads all over the country. Ray is a small businessman while Mark is an aerospace engineer, but when it comes to climbing, crawling, climbing styles, and rope strikes, the differences dwindle, leaving room for the growth of new ideas. In 1975 they founded WILD COUNTRY, launching two years after a tool unknown until now: the FRIENDS.

In the Cam’s Book, a book that tells the story of FRIENDS and WILD COUNTRY, Ray Jardine describes the process of creating these devices: “By looking for a tool that can be anchored alone in a slot and clinging forcefully to the growth of tear, I began my creative process in 1971. […] The mathematical principle of the constant spiral angle is everywhere in nature, for example in the form of shells, and is the expression of constant growth“.

Descartes described the model in mathematical terms already in 1638 calling it the equiangular spiral” – Ray continues – “but being able to configure a climbing tool with this principle required someone with engineering skills who had an open and curious mind, and above all Who lived climbing like a strong passion. Something difficult to combine for those times, so for months I worked, building prototype cams, testing them in the local crags and improving their design in the evening when I came home“.

The final idea to which Ray approached was that of two pairs of cams with independent pulling springs. The prototype was tested on Fantasy Street at Split Rocks, it was 1975. Presented to Mark Vallance was a flash of lightning, hence many attempts were made to scale them in the United States. Only in the end they decided to develop and produce them in Derbyshire, UK. So WILD COUNTRY was born, the company he invented FRIENDS.

FRIENDS is the iconic product of WILD COUNTRY and respects the philosophy of PURE CLIMBING: “climbing without leaving traces on the rock“. This philosophy has always influenced the development of the English company’s products, starting from the concrete observation of wall situations and inspired by the climber’s needs.

Taking the opportunity for forty years of business, WILD COUNTRY launches its new line of FRIENDS. So the company describes the new products:

The new FRIENDS, though made with a more modern construction process, have always remained the same in their essence. The distinctive feature is the cam angle of 13.75 degrees, although a new version is equipped with a double axis. Their 13.75-degree constant core provides the perfect triangle where the forces around which climbers rely on their safety are discharged. Robust and secure, these FRIENDS combine classic features with significant novelties, creating a unique mix between old and new. The eye of the enthusiast is attracted by a large number of significant details: the Cable Assemblies (Patent Pending) are more rigid but at the same time lighter; Larger and lighter cam lobes are even more adaptable and stable on rock, the new 12mm Dyneema tape is more practical and easy to extend, saving time and weight by having to use a referral. Basically, this is the best and most advanced design possible of the FRIENDS, which makes them the only on the market with double axle and single cable construction that combine the practicality of the ring structure (for a good handle) with speed and ease of use Of an extensible bandage. Faster, more intuitive and lighter; The clever combination of the key features of traditional FRIENDS WILD COUNTRY and innovative engineering make this new model the most complete in circulation.

You can view the Cam’s Book entirely on this site.

For more information about WILD COUNTRY.