French ‘spiderman’ tackles latest climb at London skyscraper

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A skyscraper climber, dubbed the French Spiderman, has struck again – this time at one of London’s tallest buildings.

Alain Robert, whose feats have included climbing Dubai’s 2,717ft (828m) Burj Khalifa, is tackling the Heron Tower in the City of London.

The 56-year-old daredevil, who is known for scaling skyscrapers with his bare hands, said before his climb: “I fully feel alive when my life is at stake. It may sound a bit scary and crazy but this is the way it is.”

The illegal ascent of the 662ft (202m) tower – now known as the Salesforce Tower – is with no safety gear, without a rope and with bare hands.

Mr Robert is in prime condition – he is 5ft 5in and weighs about 7st 12lb (50kg), with a low fat ratio of bones to muscle which helps his extreme athleticism and skill.

As with other unlawful climbs, he is as “always” carrying his passport in a chalk bag “because it is very reassuring for the authorities” when he is arrested.

Chalk slightly improves the friction between his skin and the building but he also tapes his fingers and wears wafer-thin gloves to try to stop them being shredded by the “aggressive” building.

It is believed he only decided which building he was going to tackle from a three-strong shortlist on Monday.

Alain Robert climbs Heron Tower
Spectators take photographs as daredevil climber Alain Robert, dubbed the French Spiderman, scales the outside of the Heron Tower in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I am not really knowing much. It is only really when I start climbing that I know. I need to feel it.

“There has been 44 years in which I have been climbing. This is what I know as a way of living and expressing myself and living my dreams, my passion and living my life as fully as I can.

“Definitely it it dangerous. I have a certain knowledge. I have a solid background.”

Alain Robert climbs Heron Tower
Daredevil climber Alain Robert, dubbed the French Spiderman, scales the outside of the Heron Tower in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

He said: “It is never easy for family having a dad who is doing that kind of stuff but they are used to it. They never asked me to change my lifestyle.

“They trust me. They think I am capable to succeed each time I am doing something, but at the end of the day it is still a bit scary for sure. They are proud.”

“If you knew the number of people who are happy to meet me.

Alain Robert climbs Heron Tower
The Heron Tower is 662ft tall (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“There are a number of people who really think that what I am doing is crazy but in a nice way. I am really inspiring a generation.”

The talented rock climber turned his attention to skyscrapers in the mid-1990s and has now done up to 160 of these ascents to date, according to his manager.

Landmarks tackled include the Taiwan’s Taipei 101 and the Lloyds building in London.

Asked if what Mr Robert was doing was actually a little barmy and just plain dangerous rather than a daring adventure, his manager, Bryan Yeubrey, said: “I just have to accept that. I can not argue against it, can I?

“Alain is an adventurer. He wants to climb buildings. He is incredible. He is good at it and has been doing it for many years.”

Alain Robert climbs Heron Tower
Spectators watch as Alain Robert climbs the Heron Tower (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Robert raised his arms to cheers as he reached the top at 2.14pm.

From the ground, he appeared as just a speck against the clear blue sky and seemed to move calmly away from view.

Alain Robert climbs Heron Tower
Alain Robert reaches the top of the Heron Tower (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I am always glad when he is safe after these things.

“Now he will be arrested and go to court. Hopefully they will not be too hard on him because actually he is a really good guy.”

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