Will my Metolius PAS fail?


Original Post
Claudiu Saftoiu · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Hi all. I'm relatively new to climbing, only been at it a few months. I've mostly done top-roping - I can do some 10-range climbs clean and am starting into the 11s at the gym.

I've done some outdoor climbing, and comfortably know how to set up my personal anchor (I use a Metolius PAS), set up a rappel, and abseil down. As you all know, at some point the PAS is the only thing holding my weight, and the rope isn't going through the anchor anymore. At this point I feel the beginnings of a potential terror starting. I'm able to simply not think about it and continue on, but my fear is that the PAS will break and I'll just fall down to my death.

I would feel a lot better if I could witness a stress test on a Metolius PAS that clearly demonstrated my weight has basically no chance in hell of breaking it. I know it's rated at many thousands of Newtons, but intellectually knowing the rating should mean it never breaks would be different than seeing a demo... does anyone have any advice of how to get over this or videos they could share?

Verg · · Fullerton, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 45

You are about to experience your first dyneema vs nylon argument. 

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,297
Verg wrote:

You are about to experience your first dyneema vs nylon argument. 

HAHA! seriously though... I don't have a video for you, but I will tell you- the faster you learn to trust your gear, the faster you'll be a better climber. 

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 643

A PAS is essentially a series of belay loops, which are incredibly stout. Get over it by doing it a bunch, correctly of course.

http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/qc-lab-strength-of-worn-belay-loops.html

tradvlad · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Claudiu, are you Romanian?

Nate Ball · · Portland, OR · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 8,041
Claudiu Saftoiu · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0
tradvlad wrote:

Claudiu, are you Romanian?

Yes indeed! Mi se pare ca dupa numele tau esti si tu roman? 

Benjamin Mitchell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

If you want to have more redundancy when you're rapping, extend your rappel device by clipping your ATC to the second or third loop of the PAS and then tie a prussik around both strands of the rope and clip it to your belay loop. A three-wrap prussik definitely has enough bite to catch you if the PAS were to somehow fail. If you want more redundancy at the anchor just extend an alpine draw and clip one biner to your belay loop and the other biner to whichever bolt you didn't clip your PAS to. Pick which PAS ring you clip so that this is roughly equalized. 

Honestly though you just need to accept that some components of the standard climbing system aren't redundant, like your belay loop, your rope, your belay device, the carabiner attached to your belay device, etc. They are designed to be extremely strong and reliable so that they are appropriate for such high-consequence usage. It might make you feel better if you look up the Black Diamond QC lab where they show that a severely damaged belay loop is still strong enough to keep you alive. 

Adam C Houghton · · Seattle · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0

Just don't shock-load it and you'll be fine. Make sure to clip two loops into the anchors. I've also found it helpful to use 2 lockers that are a different color than all my other biners so that I don't unclip them from the anchors by mistake when breaking down a top rope anchor for example.

tradvlad · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
Claudiu Saftoiu wrote:

Yes indeed! Mi se pare ca dupa numele tau esti si tu roman? 

Yes indeed!

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449
Adam C Houghton wrote:

I've also found it helpful to use 2 lockers that are a different color than all my other biners so that I don't unclip them from the anchors by mistake when breaking down a top rope anchor for example.

That's a great tip right there, I use two bright Orange carabiners for my PAS. And the BD labs belay loop test video has been posted upthread. That video should help your fears over all soft goods like slings and your PAS.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68

I don't want to make you paranoid about bolts, but there is a greater likelihood that the anchor bolts will fail than your PAS failing.  After all, you know the history of your PAS, you know the strength rating, and you should be inspecting it constantly.  You don't know the history of the bolts, you probably don't know their strength rating, if they were installed properly, how old they are... etc.  Before tethering yourself to the anchor and going off belay, you should focus your attention on the bolts.  Give them a pull test, make sure they are at least hand tight (not joking), the rock quality around the bolts... etc.  Don't worry about your PAS, worry about your rope threading routine, your tie in knot, and your belayer (if you are lowering).   

If you cant get over your fear of the PAS failing while you are cleaning the anchor, then switch to something else you find to be more trust worthy.  There are several companies that sell personal tethers made of climbing rope.

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0
Claudiu Saftoiu wrote:

I would feel a lot better if I could witness a stress test on a Metolius PAS that clearly demonstrated my weight has basically no chance in hell of breaking it. I know it's rated at many thousands of Newtons, but intellectually knowing the rating should mean it never breaks would be different than seeing a demo...

Do you have fat friends? Hang three of you off it.

At some point you'll come to realize those bolts you're clipping the thing to are the unreliable part - but that isn't a nerve calming detail :(

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
Claudiu Saftoiu wrote:

Hi all. I'm relatively new to climbing, only been at it a few months. I've mostly done top-roping - I can do some 10-range climbs clean and am starting into the 11s at the gym.

I've done some outdoor climbing, and comfortably know how to set up my personal anchor (I use a Metolius PAS), set up a rappel, and abseil down. As you all know, at some point the PAS is the only thing holding my weight, and the rope isn't going through the anchor anymore. At this point I feel the beginnings of a potential terror starting. I'm able to simply not think about it and continue on, but my fear is that the PAS will break and I'll just fall down to my death.

I would feel a lot better if I could witness a stress test on a Metolius PAS that clearly demonstrated my weight has basically no chance in hell of breaking it. I know it's rated at many thousands of Newtons, but intellectually knowing the rating should mean it never breaks would be different than seeing a demo... does anyone have any advice of how to get over this or videos they could share?

Your PAS isn't going to fail but if it really freaks you out learn to clove hitch in with the rope, too. 

Fritz N. · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 50

One day I was bored and decided to test the durability of a nylon runner. I severed it halfway so that half the width was cut, then girth hitched it to my tie-in points and aggressively bounce tested it at the top of a ninety-foot sport route (with a backup belay, of course). It held just fine, didn't even fray further. Whatever malingering trust issues I had in nylon were allayed at that point.

Also, it is incumbent upon me to point out to you that yes, Yer. Gunna. Die.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 30
cyclestupor wrote:

If you cant get over your fear of the PAS failing while you are cleaning the anchor, then switch to something else you find to be more trust worthy.  There are several companies that sell personal tethers made of climbing rope.

Agreed, and a lot of users are reporting back positive experiences with these. You can read the previous discussion here. I personally have the Connect Adjust and am happy with it. I might have tried the Kong Slyde if I had known about it before I bought my Connect Adjust.

This conveniently sidesteps the nylon vs. dyneema holy war, too. :)

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

climbing friend,

the PAS has been known to fail only when worn as the thong between your legs, also causing violent testicular mashing if caught on something during the falling.

Rearviewmirror · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 35

I always use a sling through by belay loop and a PAS through my tie in loops - both with locking biners and one through each of the anchor points. If some reason either side fails, I know I won't be toast. Then once I've rethreaded the rope, tied back in, I get the belayer to take in slack and bounce around on belay a bit just to make sure everything is kosher before going off the sling/PAS.

rain cloud · · the abyss (kansas) · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 160

Do you smoke pot during climbing? Sometimes I get paranoid about stupid stuff like that when Im real stoned. 

I know alot of stoners who boulder, just for that reason.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5
rain cloud wrote:

Do you smoke pot during climbing? Sometimes I get paranoid about stupid stuff like that when Im real stoned. 

I know alot of stoners who boulder, just for that reason.

lol...u sure its a "rain cloud"  ;)

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

I always use 2 different connections to the anchor. So like having 2 separate PASes hooked in or some other method for redundancies. Plenty of people use a single method but I like backups because I am scared of heights.

Metolius PAS is not rated for a factor 2 fall so just don't clip it out and climb above it and you will be fine. Sterling chain reactor are more bulky but are related to hold a full factor 2 fall.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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