Gear Review: Wild Country Helium Friend Cams

There is nothing sweeter than picking up a new piece of pro and adding it to your rack. Visions of perfect gear placement and route sendage dance in your head as you watch it gleam next to the rest of your filthy much loved cams. So amazing in its beauty, you don’t know whether to hang it up in a frame or throw some dirt on it.

Based on their single axel design, Wild Country has reincarnated the original Friends into a hot forged camming godess, making it much lighter than the rest of its competitors. On long approaches, weight can add up and there is no doubt that a rack of these guys is going to ease up some of that back pain. I am fresh off a climbing rodeo from Devil’s Tower to The Needles to Estes Park and then back home to Mt. Katahdin. All areas featured moderate to very long approaches and cracks from fingers to full body off-widths. The new Helium Friends were brought to hell and back and with their light weight body, the trip was heavenly.

The feel and camming is smooth and the updated stem now comes with a much welcomed thumb loop. In addition to the updated stem, the camming lobes have been hot forged making them much lighter. The new design sheds a bunch of weight making these pieces ideal for alpine/adventure climbing where long approaches are necessary. The stem is much longer than any cams we’ve tested, plugging them into deep constrictions was nice as the trigger doesn’t get buried when placed right. Though, like the original Friend, the Helium version still walked on me, so I recommend slinging them or extending them when you can. The cam head is a bit wider than other cams I’ve used but there were very few spots where it was an issue.

Bottom line:

Wild Country did a nice revamp of their Friends and aside from being a little pricer, they are lightweight, cam smoothly and I’ll be bringing them along on all my trips from Cannon to Katahdin.

Where to find them:

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