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Master Class

Ask the Master: Personal Anchors

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

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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?


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]


[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

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