Alain Robert, A.K.A. 'Spiderman' had climbed up all of the world's tall buildings except for the tallest of them all - Dubai's Burj Khalifa. On March 28th, he added that to his list too, by scaling the 2,717 ft. tall building in six hours, 14 minutes and 55 seconds, breaking the existing record, by almost three hours.
The epic climb, which was delayed for more than an hour due to blustery winds, began at 6.00pm local time. The veteran climber hoisted himself up the central column of the glass-covered building and then systematically scaled up the 100 floors and then onto the tip of the antenna with just his bare hands, until he was at the 'top of the world' and, there was not other place to go, but down - for which, he took the elevator!
While he made it look easy, the 48-year old said it was far from that. For one, the winds were particularly treacherous toward the top, when he felt the building was swaying. Also, just 45ft. from the top, he started to suffer from severe cramps on his thighs - And it was just sheer willpower and the fact that he was so close to the top that kept him going.
However, the biggest issue for Mr. Robert was the fact that the climb was legal, meaning it was authorized by the officials, which meant he had a large audience, was being filmed by cameras and, had a huge projection light that allowed him to see where he was climbing - All things that made him a little nervous. The fearless man is used to showing up and climbing buildings with very little fanfare - And while that usually gets him arrested at the end, that's the way he likes it.
Alain's climbing career began at the age of 12, when he forgot the keys to his apartment on the eighth floor. Too impatient to wait for his parents to return, he decided to climb the exterior of the building and get in from the patio. At the ages of 19 and 20 he suffered two major falls, breaking several bones. Doctors told him he was sixty percent handicapped and could never climb again. However, six months later, Alain was back at it.
Over the years, he has climbed over 85 buildings including many famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Opera House in Sydney. He has also scaled some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world including the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia and the Sears Tower in the USA, which ended up being one of his most challenging climbs.
Alain's next quest is rumored to be the second tallest hotel in the world - the Burj Al Arab. Also in Dubai, the 1.053 ft. sail shaped structure will make for another challenging climb - Something this modern day Spiderman thrives on!