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Metolius Personal Anchor System Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Anchor Chains

  • Currently 3.3/5
Overall avg rating 3.3 of 5 based on 20 reviews. Most recent review: April 18, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $29 - $33 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros:  Stong, convenient, can increase safety.
Cons:  Requires extra anchor vigilence, expensive.
Best Uses:  Traditional climbing on multi pitch routes.
User Rating:     
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 (2.7 of 5) based on 19 reviews
Recommendations:  43% of reviewers (6/14) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Metolius
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 22, 2013  
Overview
The Metolius Personal Anchor System (PAS) is the winner of our Editors' Choice award for anchor chains. We liked its overall bomber feeling and ease of use. It seems to combine the best of both worlds: nylon to offer some fall absorption and Dyneema to give it a thinner profile and durability. If we were obsessed on weight for alpine climbing or sport climbing we would go with the BlueWater Titan Loop. Or if we wanted the most fall absorption, we would go with the Sterling Chain Reactor. But for most applications, this is our favorite anchor chain.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Personal Anchor System feels bomber. It is not too wide but has a thick and burly feel. The Blue Water Titan Loop is technically stronger but this just feels more substantial, which is nice if it is your only connection to the anchor. At the same time it is relatively narrow, which makes it feel not too bulky. The fact it is 73 percent nylon gives it great fall absorption qualities. Not quite as good as the Sterling Chain Reactor, but still good. The webbing is has a white pattern that makes it stand out from your harness. The last loop has a different color that makes it easy to find. We expect this to be one of the most durable anchor chains out there.

We think this was the first anchor chain, or it was at least the first one to gain popularity and launch the whole category. So Metolius gets innovation respect for that.

Dislikes
We only have minor dislikes. The stitching which makes it feel so burly, it also very stiff. It can feel a little awkward to handle at times. The fact it is not 100 percent nylon means it is a little less ideal to fall on. That said, you don't want to fall on a nylon sling either. These are not intended to fall on. Please read our anchor chain buying advice article to see when these are not appropriate to use.

Value
This is the most expensive anchor chain, but not by much.

Keep in mind when price shopping that sometimes this is sold with a Metolius Element locking carabiner and sometimes it is not. We like the Element biner, but it was not one of the top scoring in our locking carabiner review (it does not have our favorite screw gate).

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 18, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 4
  • 5
 (2.7)

43% of 14 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
12 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (4)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 17%  (2)
2 star: 25%  (3)
1 star: 25%  (3)
Sort 19 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 30, 2010 - 05:25pm
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
Here's an addendum to my previous post about the poor performance of the PAS under big falls. The results are from

Daisy chains and Other Lanyards
Mike Gibbs
Rigging for Rescue
Ouray, CO

in a paper presented to the
International Technical Rescue Symposium
Ft. Collins, CO (2005)

Test weight: 100 kg (about 220 lbs---note that UIAA standard for an individual climber is 80 kg, about 176 lbs. Gibbs was interested in rescue loads).

Metolius PAS

Factor 1 fall: caught with peak load of 19.2 kN
Factor 1.25 fall: broke

By comparison, a Purcell prussik tied with 7mm nylon cord held a factor 2 fall with a peak load 12.9 kN (note how much lower than the peak load for the PAS in a factor 1 fall).

The fact that this information (and there is more) has been around for five years and Metolius, who make such a fuss about safety in their "safe-tech" construction and "rangefinder" cam markings, have still not changed over to nylon is astonishing to me.

Buy the Sterling Chain Reactor. It's the same thing made of nylon and it costs less to boot. There is simply no good reason to buy a more expensive product that breaks more easily, even if you find yourself incapable of imagining situations in which the difference might matter to you.

[P.S. For some reason, the site software will not allow me to use the "Not Rated" option for this post when I gave a rating previously. If it counts my rating twice (I haven't checked this), then the stats will be off.]

[P.P.S. The fact that my original alert about the drawbacks of the PAS is at the absolute bottom of the list in terms of "helpfulness" rankings provides an interesting insight into what readers consider to be important.]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 11, 2010 - 09:56pm
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
The PAS has broken in a single factor-2 fall test, as have other high-strength low-stretch slings. Sterling rope makes essentially the same thing out of nylon, called the Chain Reactor, and it holds three factor-2 falls. If you like this style of daisy, there is absolutely no reason not to use the Sterling version rather than the Metolius one.

The low rating and negative bottom line reflect the fact that there is a better version of the same thing available.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 15, 2010 - 02:05pm
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
Mark Hudon: How would you generate a factor 2 fall on it?

Be clipped into the anchor, climb up and then fall? I can see that but I can see being dumber than a rock also.

Simply falling off a ledge with it clipped into the anchor wouldn't do it, would it?

Mark, My main point is, whether or not a factor-two fall is likely or possible (they are certainly possible), given two more or less identical items, why would anyone who knows about the alternatives and who isn't already dumber than a rock buy the weaker one, especially when it costs $5 more than the better version?

As for factor-two falls, I at least, being a charter member of the dumber-than-a-rock club, have been in situations where they would be possible.

In one such situation, it was necessary to clip an anchor at foot level and climb down to it. In a second situation, it was necessary to climb above the anchor to remove a backup piece before rappelling. Maybe not common scenarios, but I don't think they are exceptionally unusual either.

Another fact to remember about factor-two falls on a daisy is that they don't have to be long to be factor-2. Clip in short, move up half a foot for some reason, and you could have a one-foot factor-two.

Someone is going to say, correctly, that a factor-two fall, even on a nylon tether, is going to cause serious injury. Probably so; I think you can expect impacts nearly double the UIAA limit of 12 kN. On the other hand, the injuries you might expect once your tether has broken seem to me to be, on average, somewhat more severe.

Finally, the factor-two fall tests did not go on, lowering the fall factor, to try to find a "threshold" at which the PAS broke. The canyoneering folks, who use tethers all the time because they are usually not roped up, have tested high-strength low-stretch slings and found, if I remember correctly, that at least some broke at fall factors quite a bit closer to 1, the fall factor for falling off the ledge with your waist at the same level as the anchor and some slack in the tether.

As for just using a clove hitch, I agree in general, but there are still a number of uses for tethers---I won't start down the list. In all such applications, one could of course substitute slings carried by the climber anyway, and this is, perhaps, what most people do. Tethers make the process quicker and more efficient, supply a level of adjustability that can't be obtained from slings, and are always available, as slings sometimes are not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 1, 2011 - 12:39pm
Josh Nash · Climber · riverbank ca
I bought this product, like most, thinking how useful it would be. What I have found out is it's only useful for a handful of situations. The best use for me is using it for single pitch bolted routes with hanging belays. It's nice reaching the anchor and clipping straight in leaving the rope free.

The draw backs I have found are mostly clutter. This thing takes up a lot of room on the belay loop. It also takes up a lot of room on your gear loop as well. it just seems to always be in the way when you are racking or pulling gear from the loop you have it on.

If you are a sport climber then this can be an indispensable addition. Anything else it's a waste of money. I wasted money. I should really have got it at REI so I could return it. Stupid sales elsewhere…..

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 30, 2010 - 11:39am
ncrockclimber · Climber · The Desert Oven
Like a few others have mentioned, the concept behind the device is great. However, I prefer the Chain Reactor by Sterling due to it ability to take a factor 2 fall. I use it all the time for clipping into the anchor during mutil-pitch raps.

The one question I have is how this device is meant to be connected to the harness. The directions that came with my PAS said to connect directly to the harness using the tie-in points. However, every pic on the Metolius web site and on the packaging shows the device girth hitched directly to the belay loop. I would really like to get some clarification from either Sterling or Metolius on how this device is intended to be used.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 15, 2010 - 01:31pm
JLockard · Climber · Ann Arbor, MI
It's okay, but it's something you "have to deal with". I think it's much easier and less hassle to just use a clove-hitch on the rope attached to my harness. It's always there, doesn't take up more space on my tie-in point and doesn't offer the opportunity to tangle in with my other gear.

If you really feel you need something then I would recommend the PAS over a daisy-chain, but I really think you should get use to using a clove-hitch.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 18, 2014 - 11:17am
WML · Climber · Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Seems to be the golden standard these days instead of using a daisy. I like it because it makes for a quick clip in at the anchor while climbing but more importantly while rappelling. Less fussing with tying a knot in a girth hitched sling or anything like that to be able to clip in adjustably, and the durability is good on these. Bonus is you can use your old ones as haul bag tethers…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Sep 1, 2011 - 10:46am
 
donini · Climber · Ouray, Colorado
Any personal anchoring system is completely redundant. Hello…anchor with the gear you have.
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Sep 1, 2011 - 05:01am
 
Stefan Jacobsen · Climber · Danmark
Now we are getting closer to reality:

1) Even the body of a climber is not made of steel…
In the event of a fall we absorb much of the energy in a gradual manner. Initially the energy is transferred to the harness semi statically. Then the harness deforms the climbers waist and thighs while absorbing energy. The waist and thighs will take the initial yank, while the energy is dissipated to the rest of the body by flinging the chest, head, arms and legs in all directions. Just try taking a series of controlled falls. You will notice that you six pack will begin to burn as it will be working hard absorbing fall energy.

2) The friction between the climber and the rock/ice will absorb some of the fall energy depending of the steepness of the climb.

But of course it's convenient to use the rope for clipping the belay - it's always at hand and the clove hitch is nicely adjustable.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 5, 2011 - 12:17am
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
Tom Jones wrote, Perhaps things are different in other areas, but here in Zion we discourage people from climbing with 100kg of steel weights attached to their harness. This test has almost zero relevance to what happens in the real world - please do not advance this pseudo-science as relevant.

No 100 kg weights? You guys are pretty wimpy out there in Utah. But here's a consolation, you only have to put 20 kg of steel weights on your svelte 80 kg body to get up to the 100 kg test load used by the Mike Gibbs in the gathering of pseudoscientists at the International Technical Rescue Symposium.

Name-calling notwithstanding, there's nothing pseudoscientific about the tests themeselves, the PAS broke. Analogous tests by Sterling on the Chain Reactor show it doesn't break. Those are facts.

As to relevance, you have a real point. Although there are certainly climbers that weigh 220 lbs with gear, there are plenty who weigh a lot less. Moreover, steel does not behave the same way as the human body, so there is a chance the PAS wouldn't break in a similar test if the faller was human. Folks who test climbing gear are starting to get their hands on more realistic test dummies, so perhaps we will have better answers in the future.

Meanwhile, you have two objects that are pretty much identical in form. One of them is far stronger than the other in tests that may very well turn out to be more severe than one can expect in the field. The far stronger object also costs less. So why exactly would you choose the weaker more expensive one?

As far as this pseudoscientist can tell, the answer seems to be that--- based on the assumption that the strength difference is undetectable in the field---we should spend more money.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Dec 2, 2010 - 08:44pm
 
Ratagonia · Climber · Mt Carmel, Utah
rgold said: "Here's an addendum to my previous post about the poor performance of the PAS under big falls. The results are from

Daisy chains and Other Lanyards
Mike Gibbs
Rigging for Rescue
Ouray, CO

in a paper presented to the
International Technical Rescue Symposium
Ft. Collins, CO (2005)

Test weight: 100 kg (about 220 lbs---note that UIAA standard for an individual climber is 80 kg, about 176 lbs. Gibbs was interested in rescue loads).

Metolius PAS
Factor 1 fall: caught with peak load of 19.2 kN
Factor 1.25 fall: broke"

Perhaps things are different in other areas, but here in Zion we discourage people from climbing with 100kg of steel weights attached to their harness. This test has almost zero relevance to what happens in the real world - please do not advance this pseudo-science as relevant.

Tom "Jrat" Jones

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 2, 2010 - 04:44pm
bmacd · Climber · 100% Canadian
Purcell prusik instruction video. Far more advantages to having a Purcell Prusik handy than a dedicated PAS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vng4NVYhL90

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 2, 2010 - 04:24pm
WBraun · Climber
This thing looks totally stupid, but hey get what you want.

A Purcell Prusik System is so far superior, (what I use), and costs almost nothing.

If one doesn't listen to guys like rgold you're in trouble ……

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 2, 2010 - 04:13pm
bearbreeder · Climber
as stated the PAS
  • will not take a factor 2 static fall
  • cost 2-3 times as much as a nylon sling/daisy
  • is not dynamic unlike a rope

for multi just use the rope … for single pitch or rapping just use a nylon daisy and make sure you clip one loop at a time

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 30, 2010 - 01:28pm
MN_SlowTrad · Climber · MN
Man I like this thing. I usually just use the rope to attach myself to the anchor, but this thing is sweet! Using the rope always leaves me a little short, or a little long, depending on how much stretch I get on the rope. And it is a pain if I am leading all the pitches, as the rope has to be re-flaked etc.

I used this for the first time in the Black Hills (SD) and found I could clip one loop to one bolt, and use a draw to clip the other bolt and a loop to get the length just right. Or if I had to build an anchor, I clipped whichever loop was most comfortable.

The comfort factor was the biggest selling point, without any loss in security.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 19, 2010 - 09:48pm
squishy · Climber
Isn't this a must have item now for multi-pitch? This is on the short list, shoes, harness, helmet, PAS!!…just doing my part for the economy…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 15, 2010 - 07:28pm
 
Mark Hudon · Climber · Hood River, OR
Good points, Rich, thanks.
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Jan 14, 2010 - 11:07am
 
Mark Hudon · Climber · Hood River, OR
How would you generate a factor 2 fall on it?

Be clipped into the anchor, climb up and then fall? I can see that but I can see being dumber than a rock also.

Simply falling off a ledge with it clipped into the anchor wouldn't do it, would it?
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   Jan 11, 2010 - 10:22pm
crossman04 · Climber · Ventura, CA
I've been using this PAS since I started climbing and it is fantastic for what it was designed for. I think for big wall (aid) stuff or even multi-pitch you may not need something like this since you can just use your climbing rope with a clove hitc. But for single pitch stuff or even longer things that are well bolted, this is a great tool and highly recommended.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Metolius PAS with Element Belay Carabiner ($36 total).
Credit: Metoliusclimbing.com
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