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While watching Spiderman movies is awesome, we all know that neither Andrew Garfield nor Tobey Maguire can ever climb buildings with bare hands, even if their lives depended on it - For that matter can any mere mortal pull off a stunt like that? Turns out there is indeed a real-life Spiderman, who makes a living, climbing the tallest and most challenging buildings in the world.
Alain Robert better known as the French Spiderman began his unusual career when he was just 12-years-old. Returning from school one day, he realized he had forgotten to grab the keys to his eighth floor apartment. Too impatient to wait for his parents to come home, he decided to climb the exterior of the building and get in from the patio.
He enjoyed it so much that it soon became his favorite hobby. However, at the ages of 19 and 20 he suffered two major falls, breaking several bones in both incidents. With the doctors predicting a 60% chance that he could remain handicapped for the rest of his life, things looked pretty bleak for the next six months, until . . . . . The determined youngster recuperated completely and started climbing again. He has never looked back, since.
Over the years, he has climbed over 90 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, the Sears Tower in the USA and even, the tallest one of all - Dubai's Burj Khalifa. The most amazing part is that most of these climbs are done untethered and without safety nets. All Alain needs is a good pair of shoes and a box of chalk to dry his sweaty hands.
While some of the climbs are 'legal', in that they have been sanctioned by the officials of the city and the owners of the building, most are done without permission - A habit that has gotten him into a lot of trouble and even, jail time. But to Alain, the stealth mode is the best way to go because when it is authorized, the publicity attracts people and camera crews, a situation that makes even an experienced climber like him, a little nervous.
His latest conquest which took place on September 22nd and was approved by the powers that be, was the world's tallest steel tower, the Central Plains Fortaleza building in Zhenzhou City, China.
It took the 50-year-old two hours to scale the 268-meters (880 feet) to the tower's platform where he was greeted by hundreds of cheering fans. However, this latest one was a little different from his other climbs. For one, the exterior of the building is all smooth with no hand or footholds, which meant he had to use two giant suction cups and a safety rope just in case anything went wrong. Also, while the building is 388-meters tall, he was only given a permit to climb up to the platform, that lay about a 100-meters below.
But there was nothing easy about the ascent given that he was climbing up real slippery walls and had to maneuver past a 30 degree angled slope in the top section of the building where it is shaped like a downward pointing triangle. But as usual, he persevered and came out on top - Literally!
While Alain's next rumored quest is the second tallest hotel in the world, the 1,053 feet sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, his most favorite thing to do is sneakily scale random tall buildings in various parts of the world. So the next time you are passing by a skyscraper, be sure to look up - You may just get lucky!
Resources: todaythv.com, telegraph.co.uk, wikipedia.org