A Personal Anchor System is exactly what it sounds like! It is a way to attach yourself to the anchor on the wall to free your hands and put your weight onto your harness. Generally, when you are at the top of a climb you may need your hands free to set up a top rope, prepare to belay your second climber up, or even take a selfie for all of your followers to see the sick views from up top of the cliff. Depending on what you are doing at the anchors you will need to pick a PAS that best suits your needs. In this blog, we will break down the usability, features and costs of popular personal anchor systems available in the market.
There are a variety of different types of personal anchor systems,some more adjustable than others. All PAS are to be used with a locking carabiner (preferably with a narrow profile so it fits through the hanger or chain on sport anchors).
Users girth hitch a sling to their harness and the other end has a locking carabiner. The sling is ideally at arms length so when you have clipped into your anchor you’re a comfortable working length from this point. We suggest an 80cm sling for this purpose. You could use a shorter or longer sling however you are sometimes too close with a shorter sling or having to shorten a long sling as you’re too far away.
-Economical. Sewn slings prices start at $16.95
-Lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio making it a very easy addition as a secondary/backup anchor system.
-Multipurpose. A sewn sling an be used for other anchor set ups if not in use as your PAS.
-The fixed length makes adjusting the sling more fiddly if for example, you don’t have great feet at the height of the sling
-Slings are not designed to take dynamic loads, therefore in a situation of a sudden slip/fall, the user would feel a shock added to their system.
-Longer slings may have to be chained so they don’t create a trip hazard
Typically 6mm cord is used to create a Purcell Prussik. A good length (untied) is 3.5m unless you are really tall or really short.
-Inexpensive, 6mm cord is approximately $1.95 per metre (you do the math!).
-Lower strength rating than other PAS options
-Requires the skills and knowledge to assemble safely yourself
Adjustable anchors are available in a single or a double (dual) loop. The single-loop lanyard works well as an adjustable lanyard from one point while the double-loop lanyard gives the user the added advantage of using the second loop as an additional point of attachment to the wall. The double loop is handy to make your anchor system redundant by giving the user two points of contact on the wall. It can also be used as an extended rappel system with tubular belay devices. Examples of some of these devices include: CAMP Swing (length 20cm-100cm) Petzl Connect Adjust (length 15cm-95cm) Edelrid Switch Adjust (length 15cm-120cm).
-Superior adjustability (most adjustable anchors range from 15 to 120cm in length).
-The lanyards use a dynamic rope which comes in handy when catching falls on a hanging belay in the case of a sudden slip/fall from the climber.
-Due to its adjustability, the lanyards are very easy to shorten and stow away when not in use on one of your gear loops.
-Costs can range anywhere between $100 - $150 making it an expensive investment.
-Bulky size takes up a lot of space on your belay loop and harness making “fast-light” adventures a bit of a challenge
An adjustable lanyard that utilizes 9mm rope. This differs from the rope anchors above as the attachment method for the Slyde is to tie the safety into the harness. We recommend dynamic rope over static rope. Whilst Kong’s Slyde manual says the device will take up to 10mm we have found that this doesn’t fit very well if at all!
-If dynamic rope is used, there is some give if you were to take a larger fall.
-More easily adjustable than a sling
-Low pricepoint compared to other adjustable safeties
-Have to know some knots (not a bad thing!)
-When the rope gets older or if it’s super humid the Slyde doesn’t glide very easily.
-Bulky attachment method to the harness
Not to be confused with a daisy chain which is an aid ladder. Each link on a chain anchor is individually rated, unlike a daisy chain. Given their price point and versatility, it makes them a very easy go-to option for a personal safety system. Most brands supply the Dyneema-based link system while some also offer a dynamic link system.
-Relatively cheap for their wide range of functionality.
-Each link is rated as much as a sling and therefore can be used to create a redundant anchor system.
-The design of the PAS allows for multiple separated anchor points which can be particularly handy in complex scenarios such as a multipitching
-The adjustability is not as smooth compared to other safety option
-Bulkier than other safety options
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