Ok, I bet you read the title and you probably had a thought of, ‘huh, how to climb a closed gate? Well that is kind of obvious!' mixed with mild curiosity along the lines of, ‘could there possibly be more to climbing a closed gate than I thought!?' 🙂
Well, believe it or not, as with most things, there is an optimal way to go about climbing over a gate rather than doing it willy-nilly. Now, I specifically refer to a farmers gate here but the same thing could apply to any suitable gates that are normally closed that you can't open and so have to be climbed.
First off, it is worth mentioning, that in many cases a locked gate can indicate that the land is private and so you shouldn't cross. If that is the case then obviously you should respect this and try and find another route through to where you want to go to. However, that is not always the case and a closed gate can still be crossed.
In a previous post on hiking trail etiquette I did mention that you should always be aware of any gates you use while out hiking, across public or private land, and to always ensure that you close them behind you!
With regards to climbing a closed gate, I came across this little nugget of wisdom recently on a hike I was on when I was, unsurprisingly, climbing a gate (incorrectly I hasten to add) and a fellow hiker asked me this very question as I climbed over. Yes indeed, before then this had never occurred to me before either. As soon as he asked me though, it was kind of obvious and it may already be to you now that I have you thinking about it 😉
Climb At The Hinge End
The best way to climb over a closed gate, farmers or otherwise, is to climb at the end where the hinges are attached to a stationary post or pillar is as illustrated by the red box in the picture below. Why you do this is simply that this is the most secure end of the gate and so when you climb over it, it will not only be more stable for your climb but it will also cause less downward pressure and unnatural movement of the gate.
So, if you think about it, if you were to climb at the other end of the gate away from the hinges i.e. the opening end, with a fulcrum type effect, your body weight will naturally cause more strain on the gate hinges at the post end. Therefore it follows that you can potentially do more damage to the gate. Gates are first and foremost designed to be opened back and forward horizontally, not to be climbed and to withstand a lot of pressure vertically per se, so it is better you do as much as possible to take that into account.
As with closing a gate behind you, as mentioned above, if the farmer / landowner is kind enough to let you hike across their land, you should always do your best to respect their property and so climbing a gate in a way that has the least impact on it is a good idea.
It's an easy thing to remember and an even easier thing to do. It also makes the actual experience of climbing the gate a much more pleasant one as you are more stable when climbing at the secure end rather than at the opening end, which will have a greater tendency to bounce and move as you try to climb it.
So that's it for today. Did you fine this tip useful? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.