Alain Robert aka “the Human Spider” found his calling in climbing cityscapes and skyscrapers with minimum equipment that include his chalk and rubber shoes. Back in 2015, he set a Guinness World Record for climbing the most buildings - 121. He set the record after successfully ascending Dubai’s Cayan Tower which is about 306 m (1,004 ft) tall. His exceptional journey began nearly three decades ago, and his first-ever adventure started in Chicago when he managed to climb the 42 stories building of the Citigroup Centre.
“The city of Chicago had just opened a door to a whole new universe, a range of mountains of steel and glass,” he stated in his autobiography titled With Bare Hands. Notably, some of the tallest buildings that he has climbed include Burj Khalifa, The Eiffel Tower, Sydney’s Opera House, Warsaw’s Marriot Hotel, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and more. “The Human Spider” has mastered the technique of using small protrusions on building walls, be it the frames or window ledges to make his way to the top.
However, it puts him under excess physical stress for prolonged hours to finish the climb. In an interaction with The Creative Process, Alain admitted that there have been times when felt afraid to make an ascent. But he chooses to keep his fear aside every time. “I can be afraid before an ascent, but I know myself actually very well. And I know that once I am starting to climb, I feel fine. I put my fear aside, and I'm just climbing," he said.
The idea of climbing buildings and skyscrapers came up in his mind at the age of eight after he was impressed watching the 1956 film The Mountain. However, the journey wasn’t an easy one. He revealed feeling afraid and lacking self-confidence most of the time when he was young. “When I was young, I was afraid of everything. I was lacking self-confidence and just wanted to be like my heroes Zorro, Robin Hood, or D'Artagnan, and I had to find a way. I had to work on it. And, actually, this is what I did," said the record holder.
It later became his passion that lead the French athlete to search for courage and he eventually ended up opening the door of a whole new universe for him.
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