A French urban climber who calls himself “Spiderman” climbed to the top of the world’s tallest building – Taipei 101 – on Saturday.
Alain Robert, 42, took almost four hours to reach the top of the 508 metre building – nearly twice as long as he expected – because of rain.
In 1997 he climbed the Sydney Opera House and was also infamous in Australia for stopping traffic and creating gridlock in a three-hour climb of the Sydney harbour bridge.
Wearing a red jacket, red trousers, and red shoes, Robert climbed the Taiwanese tower using only a safety belt attached to a rope. He paused every eighth floor.
At the top of the building – formerly known as the Taipei Financial Centre – he waved at people crowded on the ground below and took down a light blue flag bearing the building’s name and logo.
Most of the climb took place under gray skies and heavy rain, raising fears the building’s management, who invited Robert to climb the tower, would be forced to cancel the event.
Organisers said teams of safety personnel and nurses were standing by on different floors to intervene if necessary.
Robert, who is renowned for climbing without ropes, has also scaled the Eiffel Tower and more than 30 skyscrapers around the world, including New York’s Empire State Building in 1994 and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1997.
The Christmas Day climb opened a week of media events leading up to the official inauguration of Taipei 101 on New Year’s Eve. The building houses office space and an observatory. A shopping mall at the base of the tower opened last year.
The 101-storey skyscraper is 56 metres taller than the previous record-holder, the Petronas Towers.
Taipei 101 also claims to have the highest structural top, the tallest roof and the highest occupied floor.
It also has two of the world’s fastest elevators, which travel at 1010 metres a minute and can go from the ground floor to the 89th floor in 39 seconds.