Ask the Master: Personal Anchors
IFMGA guide Martin Volken talks personal anchors and when to use different types.
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?
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.
Daisy chains have the well known pit fall of being able to clip in the wrong way [read Climb Safe: Daisy Chain Dangers], 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.
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