Originally Posted by Muahahaha
Wow that oil rig photo is something else. Can you explain about the physicality of urban exploring in terms of climbing? Are participants typically good climbers, it is part of what they do? Any safety equipment used when climbing or is it all freestyle?
Also actually gaining entry to these sites, you say you never break locks or cause damage to get in. So what kind of things do you have to be prepated to do to get in? Is scaling tall barbed wire fences and walls with broken glass cemented into them a typical way of getting in? Any tools or tips or tricks used to get in? Whats the toughest entry you've ever had and what did it involve?
Generally urban explorers will be relatively adept at climbing, and although it helps, it's not essential. Climbing is the most common way to access a building, whether that's up a wall, over a fence, up a drainpipe, to a first floor (or higher) window, etc. But some aren't so skilled in climbing, and rely on more down-to-earth access points or simply letting someone else do the climbing then open a firedoor (for example) from the inside. The types of buildings and access points are so varied that there are locations where some people will get in easy and others will struggle, whatever their skills.
I know some people who utilise full rope and climbing gear, and are capable of abseiling into buildings, etc. I'm nowhere near that level! Safety is always on our minds, but taking calculated risks is often part of the game. The rope guys will have safety ropes included in their setup, but for the rest of us it's freestyle really, but certainly not at the same heights!
Each explorer has their own skillset, usually suited to their preferred type of building. I favour industrial sites, so climbing barbed/razor wire or spiky fences is common for me, and I'm quite technical when figuring out an obscure and not immediately obvious route.
My toughest entry... This depends on how you look at it really. The oil rigs were a challenge, but most of the hard work was done at home before I even tried to get on them. It involved getting a boat and motor, timing with the strong currents in that area, avoiding the coast guard patrols, and physically getting up onto the things - but we did a lot of research and planning, which was a lot of work but it ensured it was easy when we got there because we knew what we were doing! There have been so many other tough entries that I've lost count. I'm not going to state where, but one location involved bypassing a perimeter that cost millions to install that included 15ft electrified fences with shake and climb detection, followed by a clearing all the way around covered by infrared sensors and CCTV cameras with video analytics automatically monitoring the space all the time, cameras arranged so each one can see the next, automated alerts in the security office, and constant patrols by security personnel, both in vans and on foot with dogs. It looked impossible at first, but we discovered a surprisingly simple way to avoid it all! It's just a case of thinking outside the box.