March 15, 2018 / 12:55 PM / 6 months ago

At 55, 'French spiderman' keeps climbing world's skyscrapers

PARIS (Reuters) - Alain Robert, sometimes known as the “French Spiderman” for climbing skyscrapers world worldwide, is still defying gravity at the age of 55.

He scaled the summit of the fourth-tallest building in Paris’ modern business district on Wednesday after evading security officers who had thwarted an earlier attempt.

A hobby that started at 11 years old has taken Robert to more than 150 skyscrapers around the world, including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Opera House.

“For me, climbing is a passion, it’s a way of life,” he said.

It took Robert just over an hour to scale to the top of the 187-metre (614-feet) high Tour Total, which houses some of the offices of the French energy group of the same name.

French climber Alain Robert, also known as "The French Spiderman", gestures during an interview after he climbs the Melia Barcelona Sky Hotel in Barcelona, Spain June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea

He has accomplished the feat twice in the past.

Using only climbing shoes and chalk, he clung to the window ledges to lift himself up past the tower’s 48 floors, cheered on by office workers-turned-spectators in La Defense.

Robert had first tried to climb the Engie building on Wednesday morning, but security guards quickly came to remove him.

He often climbs without permission and has been arrested several times. In 2008, he scaled the New York Times building to unfurl a banner on global warming, and was arrested by police.

Robert sees no end in sight for his vertiginous adventures.

“As long as I have the physical strength to scale heights, I will continue to climb,” he said.

French climber Alain Robert, also known as "The French Spiderman", climbs the Melia Barcelona Sky Hotel in Barcelona, Spain June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Reporting credits to Feyi Adegbite and Clotaire Achi; writing by Leigh Thomas

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