Original Vintage Leeper Friend of a Friend
The first cam units that were available to the public had solid stems and were either Lowe cams or Friends which were made by Ray Jardine patented by Wild Country in England. Sometimes the cams when placed will turn or walk further into the crack where it becomes harder to get a persons fingers on the trigger bar to retrieve the cam from the crack. Ed Leeper came up with a great cam removal tool named Friend of a Friend. This removal tool can be used with many different cam devices. The Friend of a Friend was created in 1981 showing up in the Leeper 1982 catalog.
Ed Leeper moved to Colorado and began to create climbing gear in 1962. In the few catalogs that I got from Ed it is mentioned that at some time he was a rocket scientist. He also mentions that he was a writer, writing plays and novels - none yet published, (mentioned 1982). Ed was a compulsive perfectionist.
- Ed Leeper passed away March 16, 2020.
Jamie Logan on Mountainproject.com wrote this:
I worked for Ed for a few years in the early 1970's making pitons at his tiny shop in the mountains above Boulder. Every day he would make us exactly the same lunch. A hamburger patty with no bun, cottage cheese, and a simple salad. All the machinery for making the pitons was foot operated and it was a long day stomping down on the lever to punch, shear and bend the metal. A physicist, Ed had come to Boulder from I think Berkeley to work for the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics. After years of working on research projects that failed to yield information, he quit physics and bought an old back hoe excavator and went into the digging business. He liked it that when you dug a hole, put a pipe in it and covered it up, something tangible had been accomplish. Although Ed hadn't climbed since the early 1960's, he was interested in the transition from pitons to clean climbing. When I took a leader fall in Eldo as an aid hook rotated off an edge, I used the shop to make the first wide based hooks for my own use. He liked the idea and put them into production in two sizes. The narrow was for using in 1/4" bolt holes when bolts pulled out, as some of the 1/2" long ones, especially those placed by Royal, occasionally did. The wide ones were for for edges. Later he made some of the first nut tools. He would make samples and I would use them and after a few rounds they would go into production. At one point he brought me some wide hooks he called cam hooks and asked me to try them out. I had moved from aid to free climbing then, but went out and tried them and Ed started making them. Together we made thousands of bolt hangers that later would often crack. On a new big wall aid route one would need to carry as many as 50 hangers and weight was a consideration. This was long before the idea of sport climbing had become acceptable. He and his girl friend Nancy later did a lot of research into the health effects of electric power lines. He was a very smart, private, and humble man. He was always excited by thinking up better equipment for rock climbing.