Metolius PAS 22

Rating

★★★★ (4 out of 5)

Ask any climber their preferred gear to use as a tether and you will likely get a variety of answers based on scenario, cost, simplicity, or weight.

A tether is a nice piece of gear to have when going in direct to anchors. You’ll also hear them called “lanyards”, “personal anchor system” or simply “PAS”. The most common scenarios for using a tether are cleaning anchors and multi-pitch climbing. While there are a variety of ways this can be done, personal anchor systems (PAS) have become popular over the years due to their simplicity, adjustability, and multi-purpose use. As such, many new climbers learn to use a PAS these days. You often hear climbers refer to them using the phonetic pronunciation of the acronym (“pass”), a name that Metolius branded. Black Diamond and other brands make a similar product under a slightly different name. Even with many crags sporting mussy hooks or fixed carabiners, it’s prudent to become well versed in cleaning routes.

Some climbers scoff at the idea of purchasing a specialized piece of gear where there are a variety of cheaper and more readily available options that suffice. All things considered, it’s never a bad idea to keep a Metolius PAS handy when cragging.


Price

$65 | Where to Buy

Review

The Metolius PAS 22 is a chain link system of sewn Dyneema®. It benefits from being intuitive to use and good for beginners to become accustomed to before improvising with other gear in different scenarios. While it’s more expensive than using a simple sling or quickdraw, it is also more versatile and will almost certainly get a good amount of use before needing to retire. If you are learning to climb outside, it’s a good bet you’ll want to use a PAS when learning to clean to anchors and tether yourself directly to anchors independently of the rope.

The Good

Strength

One of the first questions from newer climbers is how safe a piece of gear is. The Metolius PAS 22 gives you the answer in the name of the product. It’s rated to hold up to 22kN (roughly 5,000 lbs) of static weight. The key part of that phrase is static. The Metolius PAS 22 is made from lightweight double-wrapped 11mm nylon/Dyneema® loops that is very good at holding static weight. You should never fall on or dynamically load the PAS (or any other nylon/Dyneema® material). If you are worried about shock loading the PAS, Metolius offers a similar product using loops capable of holding a dynamic load.

Adjustability

One of the advantages of using a PAS over a sling or even a quickdraw you might already have on your harness is that it offers a larger range of lengths to tether into an anchor. Choose any of the loops within the PAS to your preferred distance from the anchor. Each individual loop measures roughly 5 inches. Before girth-hitching to your harness tie in points, the full PAS measures roughly 36 inches. You’ll lose a few inches after attaching to your harness but be left with plenty of length for most common tethering scenarios.

Versatility

While the main application of the PAS is to tether a climber directly to an anchor or bolt independently of the rope, it can also be used in other ways. The most common secondary application is extending a rappel. The PAS allows a climber to setup their rappel device on one of the PAS loops, extended away from their harness belay loop. Extending a rappel offers a variety of advantages, mainly the ability to setup a backup that won’t fail if you were to let go of the rope on rappel.

The PAS can also be used to setup an equalized top-rope anchor, something I have never actually witnessed in person but makes logical sense given the structure of the tether.

Lastly, the PAS requires a climber to use a (locking) carabiner to attach the PAS to an anchor or bolt. Having an extra carabiner on your harness is never a bad idea in case you need to bail or run out of quickdraws.

Simplicity

Other tethers on the market work just as well and can provide benefits that the Metolius PAS 22 does not, but at the end of the day it’s a very simple piece of gear that is approachable to beginners. Simply girth hitch the tie in points of your harness, clip the loops to your harness, and then clip into the anchor when needed. The Petzl Connect is a great piece of gear as well but has a bit more of a learning curve and isn’t quite as versatile.

In general, we like using a tether because it provides a visual difference in the system you are cleaning when there is already quickdraws or slings being used at the anchor. Again, this is all personal preference but the PAS is simple concept for beginners to latch onto.



The Not So Good

Bulk on Harness

While the general weight of the PAS isn’t a concern, the bulk it can add to a harness can be. Once I put on a PAS, I typically leave it on for the day even if I don’t need to use it. It can add some bulk to your harness if you bunch it up and clip to your side. Others like to run the loops between their legs and clip to the back of their harness to avoid bulk. I’d rather not have webbing running between my legs, but again it’s all about personal preference.

Doesn’t Allow for Dynamic Loads

Like all nylon/Dyneema® webbing, the Metolius PAS can fail under dynamic loads. A climber should never fall on or shockload the PAS as it can risk failure. This typically isn’t a concern but something that should be taken very seriously. If you are spooked at all, opt for the Metolius Dynamic PAS. It is still very strong and can handle dynamic loads but is a bit heavier and bulkier.

Limits to Adjustability

This really wouldn’t be a drawback if it weren’t for products like the Petzl Connect which can be cinched to whatever distance you like rather than having to use the predetermined loops of a PAS. This isn’t a concern whatsoever, but ask anyone that likes the Petzl Connect and they’ll tout it as an advantage.

Cost

The PAS from Metolius or other brands is more expensive than using a simple piece of webbing or quickdraw. You’ll also need to ante up for a locking carabiner as the point of attachment. Hard to put a price on safety and piece of mind though.


The Final Verdict

The Metolius PAS 22 is an essential piece of gear for beginner and seasoned climbers alike. Beginners will love it for learning how to clean anchors, and once you learn to use it, it’s hard not to keep one on hand. At some point every climber will debate the best tether system (sling, PAS, Petzl Connect, Purcell prusik, quickdraw, etc) but ultimately it comes down to what makes you comfortable given the circumstances of a climb. Do you what you know and like.



Price

$65 | Where to Buy