Whipping on Some Good Ol' WC First Generation Rigid Stem FRIENDS


Original Post
David Fogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,200

I have some old WC rigid friends. Just need to re-sling them. The lobes retract great, triggers are nice, smooth actions, They don't look they were used much climbing over the years. The teeth on the lobes look really good, not chewed up at all.

Out of curiosity, for those who that have first hand real experience with 1st gen WC rigid friends, what are your thoughts on using them, I would like to re-sling and test them out. With a good care these puppies can last! Any cool stories would be sweet to hear about as well, but what are your preferences when re-slinging a 1st gen friend? (I am rather assuming this is first gen friends).

The outside of the stem has about a 3/8" INSIDE diameter. the second hole is the second farthest from the head of the cam lobes is 3/6" INSIDE diameter. Tips? Advice? Stories? I would love to hear! Thanks - David

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

Not 1st generation more like 4th from the mid 80s. Get some perlon tie a loop using a double fishermans knot and go use them.

slc.underscore.dan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

I saw some using them a lot while building TR anchors in J Tree.  They bounced.

Tony Kuropatwa · · Pa · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0
  • Still have 14 of them in use. I resling ever year with 5.5 titan  dyneema unless a serious fall is taken then I immediately resling it. Also check the cables make sure no broken strands or knicks if so replace them. Inspect for damage to the stems. If you have any question or doubt about its integrity........retire it   They are a litte heavy for today's equipment but as an old school climber they are bomber cams and wouldn't trade for anything 

PS if you do not want them i would be willing to buy them from you 

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

I'm sure they work just fine.  Don't forget about the issue with the rigid stems in horizontals and use a gunks tieoff and you should be fine.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 160

I clipped a perma-WC friend today on West Lark at Tahquitz.  That thing was so sunk in there the stem wouldn't even move. I did wonder how old the cord was tho.  

David Fogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,200

Awesome! Thanks for all the responses everyone, I'm looking forward to re-slinging them properly and testing them out. Your input is very helpful and I appreciate it big time!

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,755

No need to test them; they work.  If your "test" shows otherwise, I'm going to suggest it's a sign you need to practice with them.

DanielJames · · Custer, SD · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 95

I have thoroughly whipped on one of my rigid stems down at the Red River Gorge, I give it a whole-hearted seal of approval.  Also for what it's worth I think they might be marginally lighter than C4s since they have no steel cable.  

wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 472
David Fogel wrote:

Awesome! Thanks for all the responses everyone, I'm looking forward to re-slinging them properly and testing them out. Your input is very helpful and I appreciate it big time!

I have #1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 3.5 rigid stem Friends slung with 5.5mm tech cord as Gunk's Tie Offs. I stll use them as a second set with my C4s. They are about the same weight or lighter than the C4s and I think the RSFs are the most robust cams ever made. I no longer use the #1 because cam width relative to stem width is not very good.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 285

Rigid stem friends, hexs, tricams - all super solid. Haven't racked any of it for thirty years, but sure.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

You are a little late but when I first started climbing 10+ years ago the Gendarme was selling rigid friends (new - they were still producing them) for $25 each.  That was when camalots were going for like $50+ apiece.  Always thought about getting a set (for aid climbing or as doubles or more for Indian Creek).  Never did.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
DanielJames wrote: Also for what it's worth I think they might be marginally lighter than C4s since they have no steel cable.  

I had heard that as well.  Downside is nowhere near as much range so to cover the same sizes you would have to carry more of the rigid friends.

Tom Nyce · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 45
Stagg54 Taggart wrote:

I had heard that as well.  Downside is nowhere near as much range so to cover the same sizes you would have to carry more of the rigid friends.

The number of cams used on a pitch is far more dependent on the length of the pitch than it is on the brand/style of the cam you happen to be using.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
Tom Nyce wrote:

The number of cams used on a pitch is far more dependent on the length of the pitch than it is on the brand/style of the cam you happen to be using.

that assumes that you know ahead of time what size you need... If you don't then you king of have to bring a little bit of everything.

Charles Vernon · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 2,581

Six years ago I was unemployed, so I sold my double set of BDs for cash, leaving me with my starter rack from the 90s--a used set of rigid friends that are now probably over 30 years old. (I did keep a set and a half of tcus).

Much to my surprise, I found that my ability to lead on gear not only didn't drop off, but actually increased. I think it was because knowing that the friends were more awkward to place forced me to think more carefully about where I would stop and place gear: at good stances, rather than my usual pattern of desperately trying to jam something in in the middle of a crux. Maybe it naturally lowered my expectations as well, which helped mentally. I did some of my best leads ever on that rack of friends, during that time. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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