I am reposting a tutorial that I made several years ago that no longer shows up as its been archived. There was a great deal of positive feedback and interest in this and I think its worth being revisited. So here it is, enjoy and feel free to comment.
Here are a few things I thought might be useful for others who find themselves having to deal with fences on a regular basis. No security measure no matter how formidable it may seem is impenetrable and fences are no different. However I will only cover aspects of non destructive entry in this thread so if you are looking for a tutorial on cutting methods or some such look elsewhere.
The first thing to consider about whatever fence you need to get past is it's location and surroundings. Are you going in during the day or night is also highly relevant. Is there any natural cover you can use to your advantage such as bushes, trees or anything near the fence you can use to conceal your position while you attempt to cross? How exposed are you as you attempt to cross, are you well lit or directly visible from a road, street or nearby building?
Unless you are doing a spontaneous explore and it's now or never, it is advisable to recon the area and your fence before the actual explore. If possible get photos of the surrounding area focusing on avenues of travel for both vehicles and people. Take photos of the fence including any gates, corners, lock security and possible nearby foliage or cover. These photos will help you plan your entry with greater efficiency as you can study the pictures at great length and detail without concern. The better pictures you take the easier it will be to devise the best means/location to attempt entry. Also note the positions of any active security measures such as motion sensors, cameras, tremble wires and light fixtures that could leave you exposed and visible.
If visible from a street drive by the location during the day as well as at night and get an idea of what the property looks like as well as how visible the fence is from the street. If you have preselected a crossover point in the fence pay close attention to this point as you make your driveby inspection. Is it well lit, is it patrolled or visible from a guard booth, is there a possible path you can use to escape if spotted? The greater the security the greater care you should take and closer attention you should pay to the details. Once you have driven past the location a half dozen times decide if you are going in during the day or night and what time would be best. No amount of time spent on research is wasted.
Fence construction and circumvention:
The sturdier the fence is built the easier and quieter it will be to climb it. When crossing a fence no matter what the type it is always easier as well as safer to cross at posts, corners and sometimes gates. The posts allow a much firmer place to climb as they are either buried or cemented in place in most instances. This makes the fence sway less causing less noise as well as helps to maintain balance. Corners are great locations to cross as they are often the sturdiest points of the fence and provide a 90 degree section which allows you to use the opposing section for balance and support for hands/feet. Gates will have the most anchoring/connection hardware anywhere on the fence and this hardware allows multiple hand and footholds. However as gates either swing or slide open they can be very sturdy while still causing noise so test the gate if possible by pushing on it or rattling it on your recon to see what kind of force you can exert before any dangerous level of sound is produced.
The older the fence and the greater the area it covers the higher the probability of sections that do not quite reach the ground or are otherwise loose or flexible enough to be simply peeled back and crawled under. Whereas newer, sturdier chain link fencing (many varieties of securing hardware and posts) make climbing easier, the older fences have a greater chance of having gaps, corrosion and loose sections. Barbed wire is the least potent of available fence toppings however it is not to be ignored as it can cause serious injury and is a climbing obstacle in its self. The posts that the barb wire is attached to "can" provide a secure climbing hold for climbing up and over. However the posts can sometimes seem securely placed and come loose when sufficient weight is applied. This can be very dangerous as you can become entangled in the barb wire and quite seriously injured. The unpredictability of barb wire securing posts makes them a poor choice climbing aid and crossing point.
Razor wire comes in many different varieties and qualities of construction. Razor wire not only snags on clothing more readily than barbed wire but punctures flesh with less effort due to its much finer points. Some razor wire is literally sharp and can cut as well as snag you so if you intend on crossing over this wire (not advisable) exercise extreme caution and take measures to render the wire harmless. This can be done but requires greater care as well as equipment and time which would be better spent finding a better location/method of entry. If you choose to cross over razor wire using some sort of covering make your choice wisely, ensuring sufficient thickness as well as width for your body.
Gates that are secured with chains and padlocks can sometimes be pushed far enough to squeeze through. Your size and flexibility however is the largest factor here and must be evaluated on a gate to gate and person to person basis. Sometimes gates with chains are hastily secured and the lock bolt not truly seated inside the lock body. This is not terribly common but does happen and is worth taking the few seconds to look.
When climbing any fence there are several key factors to pay attention to. Your balance is very important, especially at the high point of crossing the top of the fence. This is when you are most vulnerable to slipping or over compensating as this is when your center of gravity is shifting. Be sure of your hand placement and grip BEFORE you cross over the barb wire etc and plan ahead where your feet will be going. Unless in a totally abandoned area with no fear of capture never run up to a fence and try to vault over. This creates a great amount of noise and can get you hurt. If you become entangled in barbed wire, razor wire or any other object whilst climbing the fence take your time and carefully disengage yourself, don't panic. If you panic you could quickly wear yourself out and cause greater injury to yourself from inability to hold yourself over some danger i.e. razor wire, long drop, pissed off watchdog etc. Keeping in good shape is a point that cannot be over stressed, especially upper body strength. When climbing, footholds are often harder to find than handholds but remember that your legs are much stronger and will take longer to tire so find a place to put them as soon as possible.
Thus far we have only covered your average chain link type fence and it's characteristic vulnerabilities. Other types of fence such as razor mesh, anti scaling and those of the electrified variety are a totally different matter. In those cases there are few possibilities of breaching the security of the fence without using destructive tools and methods. For this reason as well as their relative rarity in securing abandonments I am purposely leaving them out of this tutorial.
Physical security and psychology:
Physical security measures to many people represent an impenetrable barrier, things such as locks, gates, chains and fences seem to be perfect for keeping out unwanted persons. Some believe that the mere existence of said features will prevent anyone for entering or even attempting to enter. Security for the most part is an illusion. For example, many times you will see a marvelously constructed gate or door that is equipped with a shoddy or cheaply manufactured/installed lock. Large, high fences with formidable gates are commonly secured with only a cheap padlock at the ends of a chain that is far too long. Another example is the hardware of the fence it's self, even high quality chain link fence 8' or even 15' high has large gaps in it's structural integrity. For example, the long rods that commonly hold the actual chain link to the posts are connected to the posts with slim metal bands and are normally fastened with a single nut per band. The fence may keep you from walking through it and may possess great physical strength but it's strength as a security barrier is laughable to anyone with even minimal climbing skill or simple tools.
The reason for this section is to bring to light the opportunities provided by a well constructed and installed fence, no matter it's design be it chain link or highly security minded. Many places with good physical security neglect additional measures such as guards or CCTV monitors. "They" feel the property is safe due to their impressive fence and leave the property open to infiltration by their neglect of other measures. So if you see an impressive fence don't immediately write off the location as unexplorable.
Equipment and clothing:
Hooks, claws, spikes and grapples-
First, ignore all commercially available "hand claws/hooks/foot claws" and such, they are complete crap. Poorly made and virtually no thought whatsoever was given to their design, you are literally a lot better off making your own if you really desire such devices. On that note climbing aids are out there, not many of them are designed for fence scaling but there are some devices that can be adapted to this use. Normally I hate to site a film source but this case is an exception. In the motion picture "The Score" the protagonist Robert DeNiro uses simple metal handholds equipped with a rounded hook on the end and attached to nylon foot loops to scale a security fence. This is the only design I have ever seen in film that is not only entirely feasible but easily constructed. In the scene the person you see (unsure if the actor performed this stunt or a stuntman did) is actually scaling the fence and no animation, CGI or effect was used. In the photos below I have included a shot taken of this hook device for your benefit, please forgive the relative low quality as the image was captured by taking a photograph of a cheap TV screen playing the film. As to homemade hooks or claws and whatnot, there are many fences around us, take your device and try it out. Keep working at it and in no time you can develop an effective and custom made climbing aid.
Grapples- The same goes for the above, don't buy some grapple that's a $20 scam. There ARE good grapples on the market but they are not very well suited to fences, save these for other methods of entry not related to fences.
Tools- it is possible to disassemble part of a fence to allow access and then reassemble afterwards. Tools most useful for this are an adjustable wrench, vise grips or channel locks. Aside from that there is little in the way of tools that can be used in a non destructive way to open a portal through a fence that can later be reclosed.
Shoes- If you will be climbing over the fence take consideration about your footwear. The harder the sole is (in terms of rigidity), the narrower the front of the shoe (toe area) the easier climbing chain link fence will be. Be it the fence section it's self or the hardware located around a post or gate a shoe with a hard sole and narrow toe area is best. If you have professional climbing shoes then excellent, if not then do what you can. If you are going under a fence by prying it up and crawling under then no specific type of shoe is required.
Gloves- I recommend bringing gloves on any explore but especially where crossing a fence is required. You must decide personally if you prefer dexterity over greater protection however as climbing may require one more than another depending on the situation. It is not a bad idea to bring more than one type of glove with you but any will offer you more protection than bare skin. You should get some idea of what you will need during the recon and homework phase.
Body- Baggy clothing is not recommended as you are more easily snagged and caught by everything, especially the nasty things you find at the top of fences. I have found great success with blue jeans myself as they are relatively tough and if fitted properly can be very comfortable for climbing in. Do not make the mistake of thinking that jeans will protect you from barbed wire or any other fence topping. I have found that even the tough fabric of jeans can rip "very" easily when caught on barbed wire and becomes almost hopelessly entangled in long eared razor wire. The key is to take your time and pay close attention to balance as you cross over, watching your footing is essential. As far as shirts or jackets go just do what you can to not let things hang around too loosely so as not to get caught on something.
Simple one line tips to remember-
Posts, corners and gates are best for climbing.
The sturdier the fence is constructed the easier to climb.
There is always more than one way, look around.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
If you can see someone on the road, they can see you.
Take your time climbing
Make as little noise as possible
Balance is key
Gloves are never a bad idea
If you ever want to explore the location again, leave no trace.
Regular exercise helps tremendously in climbing, do LOTS of chin ups
Pay attention to your surroundings, don't let yourself be startled
Always have an escape plan
Here are some examples of average chain link fence construction with focus on gates, posts and lock areas.
Here we see a section of fence with a convenient (transformer box?) that is inactive and provides a boost of several feet up and only one foot away from the fence.
Shot from a different angle; notice the hinges of the gate and all the possible hand and footholds available.
A closeup of the hinges of the other half of the gate, plenty of foot room and lots of surface for standing or grabbing.
An already existing hole in the fence compliments of local skater kids, as I said, always more than one way.
Here you see the mounting bracket for some barbed wire, can be a good climbing aid but also untrustworthy.
The posts are cemented into the pavement, nice and rigid fence structure.
A different gate at the same location, lots of places to grab onto and the diagonal bar across the back provides a decent foot support for ingress.
The latch of yet another gate at the same location with a convenient bar attached which made a superb foothold for me.
Here is a decent image of the hook device DeNiro used in "The Score"
It rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock here today otherwise I would have new photos up. Weather pending, tomorrow I will have several new fences to show and will detail the methods I have found to work the best for crossing each of them. Every fence you will encounter is constructed differently and not all of the same type can be approached in the same manner.
A quick bit on foot spikes, finding secure footholds is the problem I deal with the most when crossing a fence. Some anti scaling fences can be defeated with the proper design of crampons as having no secure purchase for your feet is this type of fence's primary strength and selling point. Crampons are metal coverings that are worn over the sole of the shoe and are intended for ice climbing. When all spikes but the ones of the toe area are cut off and ground down they make climbing chain link and some security barriers much easier. I have done this myself and have seen it done, not all crampons lend themselves to this purpose as you must find a pair with at least more than one toe spike. Some brands have the spikes opposed which forms a " V " and makes for the best climbing foot spikes I have ever seen. With the right shoes to go with them these spikes make climbing any chain link fence simple and safe no matter its height and can make even some anti scaling fences much easier to overcome.
Another of the great things about crampons is that when using them for ice climbing the spikes at the toes are most in use. For this reason they are designed specifically to support the weight of the climber. One drawback however is the difficulty in getting the crampons to fit shoes (securely) that are not boots. Now many of you probably wear boots anyway so this would not be an issue but boots do not lend much to foot flexibility. Then again, with the properly modified crampons attached this would be irrelevant. The other big drawback to crampons is their price tag. For a decent pair from a reputable company you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $300 for them. In my personal opinion though, if you are climbing a lot of fences they are well worth the investment, just be sure you pay close attention to the toe spikes and wear the right shoes with them. Best to buy these in person so you can inspect them up close instead of purchasing online.
Here is a tip on climbing spikes and hooks in general, it doesn't matter if it is a grapple, hook or foot spike either. Metal on metal makes noise; a great way to reduce noise is by wrapping the hook/grapple/spike with electrical tape. This tape stays on quite well and has a natural elasticity which helps cushion impacts and thus deaden sound. Be sure you do not tape the actual contact surface of grapples (ie the point or tips), hooks or spikes. You want the contact point to be able to bite well while lessening the possible noise the rest of the tool may create while using it. As a side effect this will prolong the life of the grapple/hook/spike and reduce wear and tear. Be sure the tool functions properly without binding in any way before you need to use it though and replace/rewrap the tape as needed.
Here are some photos of crampons with different spike configurations...
This is an obviously restricted location but the two guys working there said I could take pictures as long as I didn't go inside the fence. Its pretty cool to meet nice people who get that you aren't there to break stuff.
Today we are going to go over how to spot and exploit the best location along a fence for crossing over. First thing is that no matter where your fence is or what type (chain link, welded rod, razor mesh) there is always some form of mounting/bracing post along its length. I don't care if the fence is one section that stretches between one wall of an alley to another, there will be posts. Many fences have gates, some of them are electrically powered and some of them are manual "lift latch-walk through" gates.
First thing to remember when dealing with a fence is that the open sections are the last place you want to try and climb up. Below you will see several photos of different sections of the same fence, in each I have pointed out the vulnerabilities and possible hazards/obstacles to overcome.
Here is one of the main access gates at the back of the location, as you can see there is rusty barbed wire at the top of the gate as well as the fence sections on both sides. This gate is loosely locked with a chain but there is not enough play to slip through. However the chain makes a wonderful stepping point for climbing up and over on the left side, use the rounded pole caps as handholds and the top horizontal bar as your last foothold as you cross over.
This gate is equipped with a roller type sensor that detects when the gate is opened and is shown in detail below. However as you will not be opening the gate this will not be a problem. You could disable it with some wire to hold it in place or even a stick carefully planted in the ground.
Here is a corner where the mounting bracket for the barbed wire has been smashed down towards the inside of the fenced area. This would not be advisable to cross here; the damaged section is weakened and would not be good for supporting your weight so look elsewhere.
This is the section up against the concrete wall that you can see in the lower right portion of the above photo. There are few footholds to be found here and you have the barbed wire to contend with but this location has its strong points. Number one, it is off to the side of the building and not in direct light from any of the external light fixtures. Number two, there is this metal tubing you see that can aid in climbing. I tested it and it is quite sturdy however there is not sufficient room between the tube and wall for your hands. This is also not an optimal location to attempt crossing.
Here is a corner section of the fence that is near the front of the building and in direct view of the road that leads to the location. However this would be my primary choice for crossing over and here is why. Number one, it is a corner so you have the advantage of opposing fence sections which is always easier than a single section. Number two, there is securing hardware placed at convenient heights which made my test climb very easy, almost like a ladder. The two guys had left at that point but I didn't go over the fence while I was testing it. Reason number three, the large corner post you see is very secure and this section of fence did not rattle around at all when I did my test climb. Also as the road that leads to this location is about two hundred yards from the main road and on a decline there is little to no chance of being seen while crossing over despite this fence section being at the front of the building. The most important reason I chose this point for ingress is the speed with which I was able to climb it. Given the wonderful location of climbing holds, corner fence configuration and sturdy design this is my choice pick for entering this location.
Here you can see a broader view of the back section of fence that guards this location. Take note of the " V " pattern barbed wire mounting brackets, this configuration is much more difficult to cross over than the more common variety with only one mounting bracket. I would never recommend attempting to climb over one of these.
Security measures will be discussed later but I am going to point this out now. The camera you see below was well hidden within some bushes that grew up against the side of the building and could have been missed if I had not taken the time to look for them. Interestingly it was rotated right up to the wall which I believe was caused by the bush blowing about in some storm. Remember that cameras are not as monstrous as they once were like the photo beneath this one which was taken at another location.
Small camera I almost missed...
Huge camera out in the open...
Here are photos taken of a water treatment plant, new fences topped with a ring of long bladed razor wire as well as standard barbed wire, one gate secured with a chain and two padlocks. The fence security here is a joke, I was able to swing the gates open so far (even with such a short length of chain) to slip between the two halves without touching anything. This is a perfect example of what I call silly security, nice shiny hardware that is poorly locked down.
This one was so easy a person much larger than myself could have gone between the "locked" gate. I examined the gate and was able to see by how the locking mechanism that is connected to the gate mates together that even if it were secured with a proper bolt and not a chain the gate can still swing freely enough to be pushed open and slid through. This gate would have to have new locking hardware installed between the two halves of the gate to prevent this from being possible. Aside from this grotesque oversight, the four corners of the fence despite the inclusion of barbed and razor wire offer more than enough clearance to climb up and over without becoming snagged. I know, I did it.
I apologize for lack of photos showing the ideal hand and footholds and such. I do not have anyone to take pictures for me while I demonstrate so for now I hope the information and photographs I am supplying is sufficient.
Here is the treatment plant in total...
Here is the front and only gate...
The inadequate locking mechanism that should still be used instead of this ineffectual chain.
Here is all of my thigh penetrating the threshold, I would have gone further but was straining as it was to get the shot. Going all the way through was possible even had I been another hundred pounds heavier.
Have to love that razor wire...
That is all for now, tomorrow I will continue with how to select the best possible point to cross. Also we will start looking at and evaluating surrounding objects as climbing aids and places of cover during ingress/egress.
Today I got the photos I had planned on getting yesterday. When looking for the best spot to cross your fence it is wise to examine every section possible as you never know what unforeseen advantage may be found, the same goes for obstacles. Here is a 12' half moon chain link security fence which guards a juvenile facility. Getting in would be much easier than getting back out obviously. This is a fence that crampons would be great for getting in and a climbing hook and knotted or looped line would be best for getting back out. Ascenders also are perfect for this as they are commercially available and designed just for this purpose. Of course this would be if the fence didn't have enormous gaps in it like the one you see here so pretend those aren't there.
Every fence has weaknesses; here is a fence that for the most part would be much more difficult than any chain link fence. Places that a fence meets some other object or structure are always your best bet for crossing this type of fence. If you tried crossing along the fences length there are no footholds, the bars are narrow and the tops are not large enough for a good handhold. This fence is also 8' tall so climbing would simply be inadvisable. However, here is the fences weakness, a section of brick wall 5' high that provides the perfect crossing point. Not only does this make climbing over as simple as a ladder it is also in a secluded part of the location and not covered by any lights at night. I had to drive all the way around this location to find this spot, everywhere else along the fences length is highly exposed and continuous. So again, look everywhere as you never know when you will find that perfect gap in the fences armor.
Here is the only example of this type of fence I have been able to find in this area so far. Disregard the open door you see and lets approach this one as though the fence had no open sections. This fence is easily twenty feet high, has zero hand or footholds and is anti scale. The openings are roughly one quarter inch width wise and one half inch length wise. The gaps are sufficient for crampons however this is a fence that would require custom built hand hooks. With carefully designed hooks and crampons this fence would be easily scalable; the difficult part would be when crossing over the very top. As the fence material is thin I suggest using gloves with thick palm padding for crossing over. I have found that weight gloves and some skateboarder gloves are excellent for this purpose. Using a grapple on this type of fence is not advised.
Now we are going to look at using natural objects as concealment and climbing aids. Concealment is anything near your objective you can use to remain hidden: trees, bushes, other buildings, rubble, a vehicle, large telephone pole, barrels, anything that you can hide behind while you recon the site or attempt to cross is concealment. What you find may not be ideal, it may only cover you from one side or another i.e. keep you hidden from those on the inside as you cross or keep you hidden from those on the outside who may see you going in. There may be no cover at all or it may not be in the spot you plan to cross your fence. Use what you have and keep cover in mind when you plan your crossing. When you choose where you will cross pick the spot that 1. takes either the least amount of time (estimated or if you practiced) or 2. affords you with the most cover while you cross. You want to spend as little time going over (going in and coming out) as possible.
When I went over this fence I found four cinderblocks lying around and stacked them against the fence for a boost when I planned to leave. A week later (today) the blocks are still stacked exactly where I left them despite the site being active during the day while renovation work is being done. Had I thought about it a little more I would have stacked the blocks closer to the chain link so I could push them over once I was back on the outside. As the cinderblocks were scattered right by the fence before I repositioned them as a step had I pushed them back over there would be even less evidence I had been there. Since a week had gone by since my last visit and whoever comes and goes through this gate might notice I simply left them where they were. The top of the post you see here has no cap and the edges were sharp so I was glad I had my gloves with me. Nothing puts you at the scene better than your own DNA.
An empty, gutted transformer box provided me a 3' boost to get over this fence.
Here is a great example of both cover and climbing aid for gaining access to a site. The barrels, box and shelf unit allow me the best of both worlds. Not only does this setup provide cover and a climb aid but the whole thing is directly beneath a working floodlight. Why is this a good thing you ask? A persons eyes are adjusted to the light levels around them (ambient light) and not the light levels in a certain area they are looking. At night if you are looking in the direction of a street light that is facing you it is very difficult to see what is on the other side. A better example is when someone shines a flashlight in your face, all you can see is the light and not the person. This is the same principle, the barrels and shelf unit shield me from direct vision and the light overhead will serve to make me totally invisible to anyone anywhere else on the lot. Once on the other side of the fence I can use the barrels as cover while I decide where I want to go and the shelf unit above me will provide cover from the direct illumination of the overhead light.
I was unable to find many other examples of cover in the locations I visited today but I will certainly have more before long. The next segment will deal with how to choose the best way to approach your target and timing your crossover.