French "spiderman" scales Hong Kong skyscraper

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - French “spiderman” climber Alain Robert scaled a 45-storey luxury hotel in Hong Kong on Tuesday to raise awareness of global warming, his third known ascent in the skyscraper-packed metropolis.

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Robert, 45, dressed in a white shirt, scaled Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel with his bare hands and without any safety harness, after evading the city’s police who had been tipped off about a possible ascent at an undisclosed site.

As he limbered his way up the gleaming harborfront edifice, police vans and emergency vehicles were deployed and firefighters inflated a large safety fallmat beneath him.

Large crowds craned their necks skyward, gasping when the shaggy haired climber slipped at one point before regaining his balance.

“He’s totally crazy, it’s really dangerous,” said Jakob Mense, one of those who witnessed the climb.

“If the weather’s like this it’s ok. If it’s windy or it’s raining it’s incredibly difficult and it might kill him,” said John Chan, who collaborated on the French climber’s recently published biography “With Bare Hands”.

Speaking before his climb, Robert said he wanted to highlight the need for concerted international action on global warming.

"We are having to make the world understand that now we don't have any time in front of us and we need to act right away," said Robert, who runs a website:

The Frenchman was briefly detained by Hong Kong police before being released unconditionally, said his lawyer John Pickavant.

Robert has climbed more than 80 of the world’s tallest structures, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Malaysia’s Petronas Towers and China’s tallest building, the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai.

Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Alex Richardson