Latest News

30th Sep 2011 Wild Country and UKC Friends Competitions Winners! £1000 worth of prizes!!

And here they are!! The twenty lucky winners in our giant Helium Friends competition - with over £1000 worth of prizes - that's just run on UkClimbing!

All you had to do was to answer a simple question, which route does Pete Whittaker take a big fall from in our new Helium video.....and the answer was the super famous Jonny Dawes classic, Offspring E5 6b at Burbage South in the Peak District, UK

Some fabulous Helium Friends just like those our lucky winners will receive...


And for the competition there were three different prize categories...and twenty lucky winners...

1st Prizes - Three first prizes of a set of three Helium Friends: Dan Lane, Lucy Blake, Caroline Craig.

2nd Prizes - Seven second prizes of a single Helium Friend: Chris Smith, Wendy Molynuex, Simon Pelly, Ulrik Hasemann, Loris Doyle, Laurence King, C G Russell.

3rd Prizes - Ten third prizes of a chalkbag and a 350 gm bag of Wild Country Pure Chalk: Howie Shribman, Ross Davison, Alex Auty, Chris Smith, Matt Murpy, Ian Webb, Jo Wheatley, Greame Hammond, Steve Burns, Andy Benson


Read more about Helium Friends here...


Watch our Helium Friend video here...


Download our catalogue here...


28th Sep 2011 Red Chili Corona Rock Shoe Review by


Por Esteban Diez Fernández e Ignacio Sandoval Burón

Los gatos han sido usado sobre todo en escuelas como Rodellar, Vadiello, San Martín de Val de Onsera, Valdegobía, y Bielsa, es decir, escuelas en las que el requerimiento a los pies de gatos es menor. Algo menos en otras zonas más verticales como Valdehuesa, Pedrosa, etc., que son aquellas en las que creemos que este modelo va mejor-. Nuestras conclusiones del modelo Corona VCR de Red Chili son:

  • Tienen un muy buen acabado, tanto por dentro como por fuera. Llevan un ligero forro interior, lo que los hace muy cómodos y fáciles de calzar. Hace suponer que aceptará varios recauchutados de manera aceptable.
  • Ese forro hace que casi no se den de sí, por lo que habrá que tener mucho cuidado a la hora de elegir la talla. Recomendamos media talla más que para los ‘Matador de velcro’ si no te gusta sufrir en exceso y/o si tus pies son tirando a anchos.
  • Esta diferencia entre los dos modelos viene motivada por un perfil menor en el hueco destinado a albergar los dedos de los pies que sin duda facilitará el canteo sobre mini presas y la acción de meterlos en agujeros pequeños. En conjunto, se trata de una buena horma en la que el pie cubre todos los espacios y en la que el talón queda bien cubierto.
  • Dos tiradores facilitan la maniobra de calzárselos.
  • Tiene un añadido de goma sobre el empeine y el dedo gordo del que sobe todo los bloqueros harán uso a la hora de evitar puertas.
  • La goma es la denominada Super Sticky 4.5mm RX2 que ofrece una buena sensibilidad junto con una duración prolongada.
  • Quizás su punto más débil sean las presas romas o lavadas mientras que destaca en el canteo frontal sobre presa pequeña gracias a su agresiva puntera.
  • Buenos velcros si atendemos a criterios de tamaño y durabilidad puesto que alcanzan cuando el pie es ancho y porque no han perdido nada de agarre después de 2 meses de uso muy intensivo.

Como resumen podemos decir que se trata de un gato apto para niveles medio y alto, cómodo y eficaz, al que puedes llegar a tardar cierto tiempo en adaptarte si, como nosotros, nunca te habías calzado ningún modelo con un perfil frontal tan bajo… Sin embargo, un buen compañero de viaje para cualquier aventura vertical. 

Para saber más, visitad la web del distribuidor en España.

14th Sep 2011 Wide Boys hit America....

Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, Wild Country's sponsored heroes with a penchant for the wide weird and wonderful have hit the USA and have their sights set on a host of the maddest and baddest cracks.

Fully armed with Wild Country's big Friends as well as a training regime to make the Pope blush they have three months to make and break the grade stateside...

Tom Randall fully rigged with 10 size 5's and 6 size 6 friends for his epic adventures...

Tom takes up the story:

"On Sept 13th (unlucky for some) me and Pete are headed off to America to complete our wide crack odyssey. We’ve pretty much climbed all the hardest stuff we can lay our chicken wings on in the UK and Europe and I suppose it’s time that we finally get down with the big boys in the USA! This trip for us is a culmination of all our experiences and it’ll probably be a bit of a make or break scenario when it comes to a certain offwidth perversion…


We’re splitting the 2 month trip into 3 sections, to take advantage of conditions and projecting time. The first part of the journey will be a harsh start as it’s straight off to Vedauwoo in Wyoming for us. From reputation, it seems to the ultimate sandbag destination in the US and to make things worse it’s at 8000ft! Classics such as Lucille (America’s first 5.13 offwidth?), Spatial Relations (5.13a invert roof crack), Eight Ounces to Freedom (5.13 offwidth corner) are on the agenda. After that we’re heading down to Zion for a week to try and repeat Gabriel, which is reputed to be the world’s hardest chimney – somewhere around the range of 5.13, put up by the awesome Pamela Pack, who won the Golden Piton award for this upside down adventure.


Once we’ve lost a wheelbarrow full of skin, we’re planning to head back to the crack Mecca of Indian Creek to repeat a load of classics and get stuck in to some first ascent projects. Stuff that’s on our radar are things like Belly Full of Bad Berries 5.13, Price of Evil 5.13- and Army of Darkness 5.13d and some other gnarly looking routes. Basically, there’s not a single day without some form of hideous pain!


The top it all off, we’re going to capture all our misery on film with Paul Diffley from Hotaches and Chris Alstrin, from Alstrin Films. Alex Ekins will also be travelling around with us taking some weird, wide and wonderful pics. I know I’ve fully trained up my worst gurns over the last 2 years, but Pete…. well, he’s got some more to go I reckon!

Some links of routes we’re going to do: Lucille


Belly Full of Bad Berries

Price of Evil

Army of Darkness


13th Sep 2011 Helium Friends Review from the USA

Here's a new Helium Friend review from the USA - thanks to the guys at


See more about Helium Friends here

See our new Helium Friend video here...


Wild Country Helium Friends

Rating product rating
Contact: Wild Country
Helium Friends
Last 5 Reviews
Wild Country Helium Friends
Tucks Climbing/Pocket Knife
Forever On The Mountain
Cobra ice axe
Into The Unknown: The Remarkable Life Of Hans Kraus

Helium Friends
Wild Country
$65-$75 size dependent

In Spring of 2011 Wild Country introduced the 3rd generation of their innovative Friend camming device - named the Helium Friend. Wild Country is marketing these units as lighter, with a greater expansion, and easier to use than the 2nd generation Technical Friends. The following photo shows  the three generations of the  #1.5 Friend. 

3 generations of Friends

Since I began climbing over 25 years ago, I’ve only racked up with Wild Country Friends as I always find myself most comfortable with these tried and true units. I have picked up a few Helium Friend pieces since they became available in the US in the early part of the Summer and have had several days on the crags testing them out. Here are my observations thus far this season:

Look & Feel - Although they still have a single axle as well as 13.75º camming angle, these are not the same Friends your mother and father used back in the 80’s.  At first glance, the thumb loop is the most visible addition, and the light-weight, hot-forged aluminum almost makes you think they look like a toy climbing device, somewhat like those plastic carabiners we put our keys on. Almost everything is new - the colors, the plastic which encases the single axle stainless wire,  and 12 mm Dyneema webbing.

Lighter- In my hands they feel lighter than my Technical Friends, but the gram savings is most apparent when compared to dual-axle camming units, especially in the larger sizes. 

Range - The increased expansion is noticeable in practice. The table below compares the ranges (in mm) from the #0 to the #4 (roughly .5” to 4”) between Technical Friends and the new Helium Friends. (Notice Helium Friends no longer have the #1.25 and #1.75 sizes.)

Comparison table

Overlap - The expansion of each unit as well as overlapping sizes means that each piece now fits more placements. For example, you just placed your only #2 Friend, but 15’ higher you realize you need another #2. The overlap between pieces means that either a #1.5 or #2.5 will also probably fit as well. The increased range as well as overlap also means a full set (which racks from .5” to 4”) has been scaled down from 12 to 9 pieces. The chart below illustrates the range as well as overlap between pieces for both Helium and Technical Friends: 

Overlap chart

Ease of Use - I’ve always felt comfortable placing Friends, going back to the original rigid stems as well as the second generation Technical Friends where you had to balance your thumb at the end of the axle. Fortunately Helium Friends have adopted the thumb loop that is common to most other camming devices and not a moment too soon. The thumb loop makes the device feel more stable in your hand while placing it, and it also allows you to clip the piece short by clipping the thumb loop instead of the sling. The camming action is quite smooth as well. In addition, the new Helium Friends are longer, making them easier to place in deeper cracks and reducing the need to extend the sling. I’ve read where others have commented the longer length has resulted in the unit walking less, but admittedly I’ve had little issue with Friends walking on me. 

Conclusion:  Wild Country reminds me a lot of Apple Computer in the 1990’s. They introduced a revolutionary climbing product and dominated the market for many years, but they seemingly failed to recognize changes in climbing technology and instead relied on existing designs while most climbers began adopting alternative models. But the new Helium Friends have taken the strength of the existing design - quite simply they have the longest field record of any cams on the market and we trust them - and have improved it by decreasing the weight, increasing the range and overlap, and adding features such as the thumb loop. Plus, despite a weak US dollar, the price point is competitive with other cams on the market.

Although the new Helium Friends aren’t going to do for Wild Country what the iPod did for Apple, Wild Country has clearly improved the design of this classic camming device and it warrants serious consideration for your rack. 

The full range

Details: 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.


13th Sep 2011 New Helium Friends Video and Competition

Helium friends are proving a bit hit across the globe and so we've produced this new video to show you a bit more about them, how we made them and how they are fully athlete tested before they hit the stores.


At the same time to celebrate their success and the fact they're now in stores in every country we have a new competition where you can win part of £1,000 worth of Helium we've partnered up with UKClimbing and you just need to visit their website and watch our video to enter...


And so here's where you can enter and win new Helium Friends