Get a grip! French Spiderman scales Dubai skyscraper

Published April 13th, 2015 - 03:27 GMT

A Frenchman called the Spiderman for climbing skyscrapers without ropes said he was “a bit scared” before climbing the world’s tallest twisted tower in Dubai on Sunday night.    

Alain Robert, 52, climbed up the façade of the 309-meter Cayan Tower in Dubai Marina around 8 pm on Sunday.

In 2011 he climbed the world’s tallest building, the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai. He used a rope and harness then as it was a condition for official permission for the feat. 

Robert, known as the French Spiderman, has been arrested and fined many times for going up the world’s tallest towers without permission — and without safety gear.

His latest attempt, part of a property project launch by the Cayan group, saw him climb using his bare hands, using chalk and climbing shoes for grip.

With only his fingertips and toes wedged in for support, he needed all the grip he could get.

Robert has had a sanctioned practice climb on the 75-storey tower previously and expected to reach the top in 90 minutes on Sunday. He made it in 70.

“It’s difficult, it’s a sharp building,” he told Gulf News after his live morning radio interview on Radio 1’s Danny C’s Rude Awakening show, with Danny C and Surina Kelly.

There will be lighting arrangements for Robert’s night climb. Had he tried the feat during daylight, Robert would have experienced a blistering façade baked by the sun.

During the radio interview, Robert said “I won’t say I’m not afraid, I’m a bit nervous,” which is not unusual for him to feel.

Ironically, those fears “vanish” as soon as he starts to climb, Robert said.

“Your life is at risk, you shift into fighting mode… I’m not really thinking much about anything. Just focusing on the climb and safely making it to the top.”

The extreme climber doesn’t let his vertigo, a feeling of imbalance or movement that sets on dizziness, and partial disability — caused by falls in the past from lower levels — hinder his spirit or body.

“As they say, ‘whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.’”

The Frenchman, who lives in Bali, said he has his heart set on conquering Dubai’s 321-meter Bur al-Arab hotel, the “tallest all-suite hotel in the world.”

“It’s been a long dream of mine. I had the approval but they changed their mind,” Robert said.

Sunday’s climb was part of the launching event for Cayan’s new Dh1 billion residential and serviced apartment project in Umm Suqeim area.

By Faisal Masudi

[This story has been edited from the source material.]


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