In rock climbing terminology
are a form of protection
which are wedged into a crevice
in the rock
face. The climber
is passed through an attached carabiner
, thereby affording a protective anchor
case of a fall
Friends were developed by adventurer Ray Jardine, who began
development work in the 1970's. They became commercially available when Wild
Country, the climbing equipment manufacturer, started selling them in 1978. They revolutionized climbing.
The great thing about Friends is their unique design. They are a
camming device, with two pairs of opposing, spring-loaded cams. Prior to
placement, the cams are retracted by the climber. The device can then be
inserted into the rock face and the cams released. The cams allow Friends to
wedge themselves firmly into even parallel cracks, where conventional
wedges will not work. This made previously-unprotectable routes possible for
those climbers with a sense of mortality.
One thing that the unwary climber should know: Friends have the habit of
'walking' themselves deeper into cracks if the attempt to remove them is
botched. This can get quite expensive.