A man known as the French Spiderman struck at 9am this morning.  He left onlookers amazed as he sped across the vertical surface of Paris’ second tallest skyscraper with nothing but his bare hands. 

Before 10am he was already at the summit of the 607 foot (185 metres) GDF SUEZ glass tower, T1, in the La Defense business district of the French capital.

Ibrahim Ait-Salem, a gas trader inside the T1 tower, described the sight as unbelievable.   Camera crews, police, ambulance, all gathered to join hundreds of office workers at the foot of the tower.   Hands covered mouths as they watched in awe.

“It was incredible how fast he was climbing.   I wanted to take a photo on my phone but he was so high the zoom wasn’t strong enough.  He had no ropes or anything.  It was breathtaking!  I literally went a bit weak at the knees just seeing him up there.”

Spiderman, whose real name is Alain Robert and is 48 years old claims he suffers from vertigo on every ascent and that past climbing accidents have left him 66% disabled but that that will never stop him from his passion to climb. 

He believes everyone is capable of overcoming their fears and limits.  That’s the message he wants to send out.

He is an effective communicator fully aware of the publicity potential of his extraordinary stunts.  When mounting Portland House in London in 2007 he wore a T-Shirt emblazoned with thesolutionissimple.org, across the back.  The website promotes energy savings and raises awareness of global warming.  

His other conquests have included Canary Wharf, the Empire State Building, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In 2010, Alain Robert has once again entered the Guinness Book of Records for having climbed more than 100 monuments and skyscrapers without ropes, suction devices or safety equipment.  He has been arrested and imprisoned at locations all over the world for his unannounced and illegal ascents but has also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

His latest climb is rumoured to be a warm-up before attempting to scale the world’s tallest skyscraper, the 828 m (2,717 ft) Burj Khalifa, opened 3 months ago in Abu Dhabi.

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Hats off to Alain Robert, or perhaps “Chapeau” as they say in French, to a living legend.

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