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Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

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Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby TimB » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:57 pm

Howdy,
I have been using a Metolius PAS for securing myself at belay/rap anchors but I have read some disturbing things about fall-forces when using same-sounds as if you can take a fall serious enough(even of a couple of feet!) to possibly pull the anchor or suffer other physical injury?

I try to make sure that I completely load the PAS to eliminate any slack, but I am wondering if there is a better way to tie in to anchors?

Comments appreciated.
Last edited by TimB on Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby mattyj » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:54 pm

Anything made out of nylon rather than spectra/dyneema will go a long ways towards solving the fall force issue. As long as you don't let slack build up in your tie-in it's not an issue. Do you use spectra as a cordalette material? If so the risk from the PAS is really no different than the risk from your cordallette - avoiding static falls is critical with both.

A purcell prusik is a nice alternative for a length-adjustable tie in. It's nylon, and the prusik slips at <10kn, limiting your fall force. You can't clip it to both bolts like you can with a PAS, though. For belay stations, I just clove hitch my rope to the powerpoint - simple and saves you from carrying extra crap. For rap stations, I just make sure not to climb above the anchors.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby TimB » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:33 pm

mattyj,
The PAS(a Metolius) is a combination of nylon and dyneema, I think?(it could be just dyneema).
I hadn't thought about the prusik, but that sounds interesting.
As far as having less to carry, I agree-the PAS is a bit of a pain in the ass to 'fold up' short enough to put on a gear loop without it hanging down too much.
Not a big deal but a bit of a nuisance at times.

I appreciate the info.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby mattyj » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:48 pm

The PAS's I've seen have all been dyneema. All dyneema slings on the market have some amount of nylon woven in, although the amount can vary dramatically (e.g. Mammut 8mm slings have almost none). This affects the handling and durability but doesn't change the static fall risk. Although they may technically be dyneema/nylon hybrids, in common usage, they're all just called "dyneema" (or spectra) slings, as opposed to 100% nylon.

Not sure what you've read, but here's one of the original sources: http://dmmclimbing.com/knowledge/how-to-break-nylon-dyneema-slings/
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby Ulu » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:57 pm

I like my PAS, but I'm gonna switch to the Sterling Chain Reactor based on the fact that it is nylon.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby TimB » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:56 pm

Ulu wrote:I like my PAS, but I'm gonna switch to the Sterling Chain Reactor based on the fact that it is nylon.


I find myself being tempted by the Chain Reactor also, and for the same reason.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:38 am

TimB wrote:but I am wondering if there is a better way to tie in to anchors?


Si.... use the rope (can't believe I'm the first one posting this)
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby Kahuna » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:55 am

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Exactly!

I always use my end girth hitched to the PP as my Primary tie in. Always (except when Aid Soloing as doing so inhibits efficiency of the operation). It is simple, adjustable and fail proof.

What ever one decides to use as a back up/Secondary really doesn't matter as it static and not dynamic load bearing.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby mattyj » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:38 am

Ben B. wrote:Si.... use the rope (can't believe I'm the first one posting this)


I mentioned that in my first post. As an attachment to the belay, it's great. But it doesn't really solve the guy's question when setting up for a rappel, when you're no longer tied into the rope.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby Wastral » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:44 am

mattyj wrote:
Ben B. wrote:Si.... use the rope (can't believe I'm the first one posting this)


I mentioned that in my first post. As an attachment to the belay, it's great. But it doesn't really solve the guy's question when setting up for a rappel, when you're no longer tied into the rope.


If you are repelling you have a good dozen slings to tie in with... :shock: Or many folks have cordelletes on them as well.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby TimB » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:05 pm

Ben B. wrote:
TimB wrote:but I am wondering if there is a better way to tie in to anchors?


Si.... use the rope (can't believe I'm the first one posting this)


Ben, I was assuming the use of the climbing rope as a primary, the PAS as a backup. I should have stated so in my post. I wasn't very clear about that.

Thank you for the correction.
Last edited by TimB on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby Kahuna » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:42 pm

mattyj wrote: But it doesn't really solve the guy's question when setting up for a rappel, when you're no longer tied into the rope.


A standard 24-36" runner that is already on ones rack, of any type, girth hitched to your belay loop for the entire multi-pitch rap evolution, will do. This is a static and not a dynamic situ. Thus the dyneema vs. nylon issue is a moot one.

No need to have to carry more shet on your rack to make things more complicated. This is one of the major issues I see occurring these days. The proliferation of excess shet on ones rack.

KISS!
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby TimB » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:54 pm

A5RP wrote:
mattyj wrote: But it doesn't really solve the guy's question when setting up for a rappel, when you're no longer tied into the rope.


This is a static and not a dynamic situ.




Rick, what got me thinking about this subject was an short article in a magazine about the 'hazards' of using the PAS as an anchor. It mentioned something about a climber in France that had some slack in his PAS, took a(short!) fall, pulled his anchor, and was killed. Edit: the author seemed to be implying that because the PAS is made of static material, that is was not suitable for use as a security device.

I am assuming(the climber in France) wasn't tied into the climbing rope, but the article didn't say.

I could be making a mountain out of a molehill here, but I was curious.

Appreciate your input, as always.
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:55 pm

I haven't been using a PAS of any kind, recently (sling is good enough for me, for rapping).. but my next PAS, I think, will be made from this: http://www.bluewaterropes.com/home/prod ... rodKey=185
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Re: Pros/cons of PAS for use at belay/rap stations?

Postby mattyj » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:22 pm

A5RP wrote:A standard 24-36" runner that is already on ones rack, of any type, girth hitched to your belay loop for the entire multi-pitch rap evolution, will do. This is a static and not a dynamic situ. Thus the dyneema vs. nylon issue is a moot one.


This is what I do too, but I think you and Wastral are missing the point. There are two separate issues: convenience and safety. I don't find a PAS convenient enough to justify the weight/bulk, so I don't own one. For someone that does lots of climbing on single-pitch bolted routes, I understand how it could be convenient, especially if you're frequently untying to clean a TR and thread the rope for rappel. You wouldn't bring ascenders on a free climb for self rescue and you wouldn't jug el cap on prusiks - different styles of climbing call for different tradeoffs w/ respect to gear.

From a safety perspective it's irrelevant whether you tie in with a PAS or a dyneema sling; the issue is how dyneema handles accidental shock loading relative to nylon. So-called "static" situations are exactly where the risk is highest - eventually you'll do something that turns it into a dynamic one, like the incident TimB references. You notice a knot in the end of the rope and scramble to grab it before your partner pulls it out of reach, or more commonly, how many people sit on the edge of a cliff and clip a bolt at their feet when setting TRs? People who are new to climbing look at that and go "it's a short fall, it's safe" rather than "that's a factor 1 onto static gear".

Drop tests show that this can be a serious issue. Yet so far, it's not a major cause of accidents. Maybe the drop tests are unrealistically harsh, maybe climbers just don't tend to fall on their static tie-ins. I see nothing wrong with clipping in using dyneema - sling or PAS - so long as you're mindful of the slack, and I do it myself. But telling someone to use a dyneema runner instead of a PAS does nothing to address the original safety question.

Tim, if I build a trad anchor and clove myself in with the rope, I generally don't bother with a backup tie-in method. If I do want one, I go just downstream of my clove, tie and overhand on a bight, and clip that to my anchor somewhere. I don't personally feel the need to back my rope up.
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