On Monday, Alain Robert teetered atop a thin beam in Barcelona after scaling a 29-story hotel building with no ropes, no harnesses, and no parachute or safety gear of any kind, according to the Associated Press. And, if you've ever wondered what it's like to hover 380 feet from certain death, you're in luck: The self proclaimed "French Spiderman" caught the whole thing on helmet cam.
In the panic-inducing video, the 55-year-old pulls up to the Melia Barcelona Sky hotel in Spain, gets out of his car, and walks around to a side of the building before beginning his daredevil ascent. Occasionally he stops and looks down to the crowd watching stunned below, giving his YouTube viewers momentary updates of just how high off the ground he actually is. In just under 20 minutes, the urban climber scales the entire side of the hotel by essentially just using his bare hands before getting to the roof's deck to greet the police.
Robert's not the only maniac gutsy enough to scale a massive steel structure without a harness, but he's one of the best. According to the New York Times, he's climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, and the Empire State Building, among a host of other skyscrapers. He conquered the world's tallest building, Dubai's 2,700-foot Burj Khalifa, back in 2011—though for that, unlike most of his other climbs, he used a few ropes and pulleys.
But Robert hasn't come away from all of his climbing expeditions completely unscathed. He told the New Yorker back in 2009 that he's nearly killed himself a handful of times, ended up in a coma for five straight days, and damaged pretty much every fragile bone in the human body. He's also got vertigo—a condition that floods victims with random, powerful bouts of dizziness—so there's that.
But the biggest question here isn't how he scales these buildings, but why. Aside from the money—building managers occasionally pay him to scale their structures to generate some press—Robert told the New Yorker that, without climbing, life would just be pretty uneventful.
"Being an adult is maybe nice because you're having a car, but it's a bit boring," he said. "I wanted to have fun. For me, that is my main priority."
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