By Outdoor Prolink Editorial Intern Sara Aranda. Sara likes to climb, trail run, travel and adventure. She is currently on an epic climbing road trip around the American West. Look for more blog posts and photos from Sara coming soon!
I had plans to travel quite a bit this Fall season to numerous climbing destinations on my way West, chasing both traditional and sport climbing crags. Both of these lanyards are ideal for sport climbing, but could be used for trad/alpine if you don’t mind adding it to your harness (with all your cams), and whether it be single or multi-pitch, either lanyard has its function. When it came to sport, I stuck mostly to single-pitch routes, and I imagine the majority of users of this device would also, just for the sake of weight-saving/bulk.
The first step is to, of course, make sure everything is properly attached to your harness and to have your locking carabiner in its appropriate place. This adjustable lanyard girth-hitches to your tie-in points or belay loop and can be clipped out-of-the-way, to a gear loop for example, while climbing. You can tie a knot with the tail so it doesn’t dangle and swing around if it’s too long. Once at your anchors, it’s very easy to clip your locking carabiner into a bolt and pull the tail to bring yourself in.
The auto-locking mechanism, much like the pinching of a Gri Gri, is very solid. Essentially, this lanyard seems to take the place of a personal anchor system, such as the Metolius PAS. The adjustability is much simpler and quicker with the lanyard, as you are just pulling. On the other hand, it’s a bit tricky to let out slack to adjust distance in the other direction. You must be careful about lowering yourself; you do not want to drop yourself abruptly. There’s no risk of the lanyard pulling through, but you should always be careful.
One downside of this lanyard in comparison to the Metolius Personal Anchor System (PAS), is that it cannot be backed up or equalized without having to utilize something completely separate. With the PAS you can easily clip an extra sling to a different adjuster loop and then clip to your second anchor bolt. This has equalized your weight over two bolts as opposed to one. But with the lanyard, you cannot clip anything to it to help equalize your weight so you are just dependent on the one bolt. To supplement, you can back yourself up by taking your end of the rope, which is still tied into you, and clove-hitch it to the second bolt at your anchor, or hitch a sling to your tie-in points and clip that into the second bolt.
Either method/PAS isn’t more tedious or laborious than the other, so it all depends on how much you want to carry and what you’re comfortable dealing with. Obviously most anchor bolts are insanely strong and bearing your weight is a non-issue, but proper climbing practices always stress redundancy. Another potential use for the single Connect Adjust is that while you are lowering or rappelling you have the option of clipping directly into a bolt (or piece of gear) if needed, and of course it would be easy to pull yourself in. This would benefit you if you quickly needed to brush some glassy crimps or remove a jammed nut placement.
This lanyard has all the same functions as the single Connect Adjust, but now has the second arm to aid in rappelling, particularly multi-pitch rappelling. The first step is to, again, double-check that everything has been installed properly. Your auto-locking, adjustable arm is clipped into your anchor. Set up your rappel device as normal, but this lanyard has your device extended away from you, above head height. I usually rappel with the device at the belay loop so this was different for me, but I know that extending your device is not uncommon. I had to tie my back-up prusik below my device, from my belay loop, for this lanyard setup as opposed to my typical above-the-device setup.
Once you are ready to rappel, you can unclip from your anchor. I stashed the adjustable arm off to the side, to a gear loop, but still had it easily accessible. The benefit of this lanyard shows more with multiple rappels because it helps you quickly clip into your next rappel station, pull in your weight to the bolt and off the rope. And once your rappel device is free of the rope, you can clip that locking carabiner into the second bolt, equalizing your weight, which is a comfort when you still have hundreds of feet to go.
The drawback of the Dual Connect Adjust is that you are climbing with a lanyard (which isn’t the tiniest, least-space-consuming thing), yet it’s only truly good for rappelling with. You cannot belay with the non-adjustable arm, one reason being that your belay device would be extended awkwardly from you, but the main reason being the lanyard is not made to react very dynamically, such as catching a fall. Catching a fall, particularly on a multi-pitch where the leader is falling past you and your anchor, would very likely rip apart the stitching and the whole system could fall apart.
This is all dictated in the instructions for the lanyard, along with a few other Do-Not’s, so it makes you really compare its function with the practicality of other methods of rappelling and anchoring. Though if you’re climbing up with a backpack, I can see the opportunity to carry up either lanyard, especially if you’re expecting multiple, tedious rappels. On the Petzl website, it also mentions the lanyard as being useful for canyoneering, which typically involves a lot of rappelling.
Overall, both lanyards are really neat and truly shine in the adjustability department. Size and weight-wise, they are on the relatively space-consuming side of things. The instructional diagram in the pamphlet dictates (for both the single and dual lanyard) a girth-hitch to the belay loop, but looking at the product website, diagrams show the lanyards through your tie-in points – either method will of course work, but the tie-in points keep the lanyard out-of-the-way and all harness manufacturers will say never to tie in to your belay loop to avoid detrimental abrasion. So unfortunately my demo videos have it hitched to belay loop, but in retrospect I would have much preferred it through my tie-in points as I always do with my PAS. Hitched to the belay loop, there were times where the hitch would walk itself in the way of my Gri Gri carabiner while belaying, so I definitely recommend the tie-in points even for that reason alone.