Can you use a personal anchor system (PAS) to extend a rappel?

When gearing up for a rappel, I was taught to use a personal anchor system (PAS) girth-hitched to my belay loop, attach my ATC in the middle, then clip the end of the PAS to my harness to keep it out of the way. I then use a prusik knot for an autoblock. I just read that a 48" sling is better to use for rappelling than a PAS set up as explained before. Can you explain this to me? Thanks! —Pat Hooper

The debate between PAS, sling, or rope in regards to anchoring is hotly debated. It boils down to material choice, weight, and application. As far as PAS vs. sling in regards to an extending a rappel, it doesn’t make much difference. The upside to using a personal anchor system is convenience; you don't have to tie a knot in the middle since a PAS is individual links that are each fully strength rated. The downside is bulk. If you don't carry one, then you don't have it, but chances are, you'll have at least one 48" sling. I personally use a sling in this application, as they serve multiple functions going up and coming down, and are lighter than the alternative.

—Chris Nance is an AMGA Mountain Guide Candidate who guides throughout the U.S., Alaska, and Antarctica through Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (

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