Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Master Class

Ask the Master: Personal Anchors

IFMGA guide Martin Volken talks personal anchors and when to use different types.

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and bundle up with Outside+

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

40% Off Holiday Sale, Ends Nov. 28
$4.99 $2.99 / month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

I hear a lot of back and forth on things like personal anchor systems (PAS). I currently use two of these as my personal anchors when cleaning, hanging out at an anchor, etc… I never climb above them, so I would never fall on them. I have friends who refuse to use them, and just use two slings instead. Which way is better/safer? Personal preference?

—PZNBERRY

Hi there,

I have used them all: PAS’s, daisy chains and standard slings.

I use slings when I am in the alpine environment, just because standard slings are obviously multi-functional and very light. I end up using a double length
runner and tie a couple of knots in them, so that it mimics different length options. Generally, I do not use sewn slings in a rock climbing setting.

I like the PAS’s in a rock climbing setting, because you obviously cannot clip in the wrong way.

[Check out the Metolius Alpine PAS]

and

[Check out the Metolius PAS 22 Personal Anchor System]

Daisy chains have the well known pit fall of being able to clip in the wrong way, but it is a lesser known fact that when used correctly the different length adjustments can act
like a shock absorber. This can be literally life saving if you have the potential to produce a factor-two fall. This would most likely occur while
being clipped into an anchor from above.

In my mind they all have their application, depending on the type of climbing.

—Martin Volken


Got a question about climbing? Submit your question to Gear Guy at rockandicegearguy@gmail.com


Also Read

Ask the Master: How To Escape Tricky Multi-pitch Situations

We have opted to use affiliate links in our articles. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our articles you’re helping support our magazine.