1979 Friends Brochure

The First Operation Manual


Ray Jardine

1979 Friends Brochure

Historical notes: 1978 I started selling Friends out of my van in Yosemite Valley. The next year I opened the sales to the climbing stores, and supplied them with this brochure (written by me). This was the first operation manual, subsequently read by climbers in the US.

Since their introduction in 1978, Friends have found their place on the rack of nearly every major technical undertaking - from Yosemite to the Patagonias, to the Himalaya. Friends have pervaded the climbing scene... why? Because they work! A new dimension of personal ability is opened to the climber experienced in their use. This brochure discusses the nature, applications and limitations oi this revolutionary camming device for a safer more meaningful climbing experience.

The present day Friend is the result of six years of design, prototyping and testing. It is made of the finest aerospace alloys economically available: alloys light in weight yet exceptionally high in strength and durability. Each individual component and the final units have been fully tested to insure maximum performance.

The Friend should be used with one inch tubular webbing tied through the larger hole at the end of the stem. We recommend a short loop made with 24 inches of web tied with a ring bend.

Support the stem with the thumb and draw the trigger bar with the index and second fingers. [see photo]. This syringe-like action closes the cams for a quick one-handed placement and removal.

In a crack the cams attempt to expand when the Friend is pulled on. The harder the pull, the harder they lock into place.

All four cams operate independently. This allows the Friend to accommodate internal surface irregularities while maintaining stability.

If the crack expands a bit, the Friend will expand right along with it, - with no loss of holding power. In a reasonably smooth-walled crack the Friend will automatically swivel towards the direction of pull. This aligns the cams for maximum strength and stability and helps to insure the piece will maintain its holding power -even in radical changes in the direction of pull.

A crack with severe internal restrictions however may limit the natural swiveling action. In this case the Friend is inserted and aligned towards the direction of the anticipated load. Avoid placements that would tend to bend the stem in the event of a hard fall.

Friends will hold very well in moderately flared cracks. The exact amount of fare capability depends on the type of rock. Take some time to experiment at ground level. Become familiar with what works and what doesn't. Watch the cams... if they open a bit when weight is applied, the crack is expanding or is near the critical flare angle. The Friend doesn't jam into place after the application of body weight. Even after a hard fall the Friend will be triggered easily.

A loose object inside the crack will be pinned tightly against the wall when the cams bear against it. Contrary to what one might expect, there is no loss of holding power. Demonstrate the principle by placing a book or some stacking object into the crack. Insert the Friend with it ...now try to pull the Friend out! This concept is important when dealing with loose or crumbly rock. The grit or flakes are pressed tightly into place, in effect creating a more solid crack. Water in the crack doesn't appreciably affect the holding power!!

If the crack is full of dirt or ice, a small pocket may be scooped out and the Friend plugged in. This is a great technique on a new route and saves a lot of time scrounging out the entire crack in search of a nut placement; and it's less harmful to the rock than placing a piton.


Scroll Pin-Stops
Axle Shaft
Trigger Bar
Attachment Hole

Friends open up a large variety of heretofore difficult placement possibilities. They function nearly everywhere a nut will, and a lot of places where a not won't. For example: parallel cracks, downward and outward flares, smooth horizontal and undercling cracks, expanding fakes and a variety of odds and ends such as holes and solution pockets, etc.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of Friends over traditional hardware is their speed of placement and removal. This means a dramatic reduction in the time and effort required to do the route. On a technically difficult climb, or on one threatened by bad weather or other objective danger, Friends could be the vital ingredient.

Because each piece has a broader range of expansion, the chance of obtaining a good placement the first attempt are greatly increased. This is an important advantage on an extremely difficult pitch where the time spent handling the gear must be kept to a minimum.

Less equipment is required when carrying Friends because each piece is more versatile. It requires only four different sizes to cover the crack range from 3/4 to 4 inches.

A few hints on placements:

There may be a natural tendency to place Friends deep inside the crack for that extra bit of security. This is rarely necessary and can make the trigger bar difficult to reach.

If the stem is swiveled excessively within an irregular crack, the cams could become radically offset. [see figure]. The trigger assembly has been carefully designed to minimize this, but should it occur, squeeze the trigger and realign the cams. An offset camming situation could eventually lead to an inversion [see figure] in which the placement looses its holding power.

Avoid wide open placements where the crack is nearly too wide and the cams are making contact near their tips. In this situation there is little possibility for further expansion and stability is at the minimum. Even if the "tipped-out" placement holds, a shifting motion could lead to an inversion.

At the other extreme, a tipped-in placement occurs when the Friend is shoved into a very tight crack, or into a tighter section. [see figure] In this situation the cams are already at their smallest position and cannot be triggered any smaller for removal. If the Friend should get stuck, a loop passed over the trigger on both sides of the stem will usually do the trick. Determine which cam is tipped-in and work that into a wider section.

Caring for your Friends
Spray the moving parts every few months with a penetrating lubricant such as WD-40...don't use oil. Spray more frequently if climbing in close proximity to the ocean. Try not to throw your Friends in the dirt. Store in a dry place.

For the records:
Size Expansion [in] Weight [oz]
1 .75 to 1.2, 3.0
2 1.1 to 1.75, 3.5
3 1.6 to 2.6, 4.6
4 2.4 to 4.0, 6.2

Copyright 1979 Wild Country / Jardine Enterprises
Friends are patent pending
Photos by Bill Wood of Aerial Perspectives


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