The original Personal Anchor System goes dynamic for added safety
Metolius introduced the original Personal Anchor System (PAS) in 2001-2002, bringing a new, convenient, and quick option for tethering to anchors. This PAS, which is still available in two versions, is constructed of webbing sewn into individual loops interconnected like a chain; each loop carries a rating of 14kN or 22kN. This arrangement of individual loops prevents “pocket failure” that is inherent in daisy chains and makes the PAS quicker to deploy than some other methods of tethering to anchors using slings or cords. The PAS system also makes for a convenient, adjustable, and full-strength extension for rappelling or equalizing anchors.
Although the PAS is quick, safe, and convenient, the webbing is static. Multi-pitch climbing, alpine climbing, and guiding can present situations where a dynamic tether can prevent a high factor fall. There are other dynamic personal anchoring products available but the ones I have used much bulkier and more complicated than the static Metolius PAS.
The Metolius Dynamic PAS employs the same simple to use chain construction as the original PAS, but the individual loops are a special rope, loosely based on a 10mm dynamic line, delivering an energy-absorbing version that still possesses inherent simplicity and relatively low bulk. It will be available in July.
The Metolius Dynamic PAS is 38 inches long and rated at 15kN as a whole. The production versions will have a claimed weight of 4.2 ounces, come in two color combinations, and will retail for $40.
The Dynamic PAS meets the UIAA 109 Dynamic Lanyard standard. This standard specifies a long list of requirements, including a static load rating of at least 15kN and the ability to absorb the energy of a factor 2 fall. Testing for this factor 2 fall is carried out under very specific conditions, and the lanyard must withstand three consecutive falls with a peak load of less than 10kN on the first fall. More information on the UIAA 109 Dynamic Lanyard standard can be found here: https://www.theuiaa.org/documents/safety-standards/109_UIAA_Belay_Lanyard_2018.pdf
The Metolius Dynamic PAS in use
The special dynamic rope Metolius uses in the Dynamic PAS feels like a climbing rope with much of the core missing. The elasticity is obvious when handling the individual loops sewn with seven bar tacks each.
The Dynamic PAS is bulkier than the static versions, but on the harness, the difference felt minor. Metolius PAS use involves hitching a longer terminal loop to the harness tie-in points, anchoring the opposing terminal loop to one anchor, then choosing an appropriate loop to clip into the remaining anchor point. Unlike the standard PAS, the stretch is easily felt in the Dynamic PAS when loading the harness after clipping into the two anchor points.
The Metolius PAS system doesn’t equalize the load between the two anchoring points; it essentially provides one loaded anchor point and one backup point.
The Metolius Dynamic PAS, like its static counterpart, provided a quick and easy way to tether to anchors and it delivers the added safety margin in situations when a high factor fall is a possibility, potentially reducing the risk of injury or anchor failure. It also simpler in design and less bulky than other dynamic anchoring systems I have tested to date.