Alain Robert upon successfully scaling the Singapore Flyer
|Born||7 August 1962|
|Other names||Robert Alain Philippe|
|Known for||Scaling skyscrapers|
Alain Robert (born as Robert Alain Philippe on 7 August 1962), is a French rock climber and urban climber, from Digoin, Saône-et-Loire, Bourgogne, France. Known as "the French Spider-Man" (after the comic character Spider-Man), or "the Human Spider", Robert is famous for scaling skyscrapers using no climbing equipment except for a small bag of chalk and a pair of climbing shoes.
Because authorities will not normally give him permission for such dangerous exploits, Robert usually appears at dawn on the site of whichever giant skyscraper he has chosen to climb. His exploits attract crowds of onlookers who stop to watch him climb. As a consequence, Robert has been arrested many times, in various countries, by law enforcement officials waiting for him at the end of his climb.
His rock-climbing physical training and technique allow him to climb using the small protrusions of building walls and windows (such as window ledges and frames). Over the course of his climbing career, he has become so used to cramming his fingers into the cracks of ledges and hanging from balconies that he is actually unable to completely straighten his fingers. Many of his climbs provide him no opportunity to rest and can last several hours. He sometimes has a small bag of climbing chalk powder fastened around his waist.
Robert has climbed landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House and the Montparnasse Tower as well as the world's tallest skyscrapers. In 1997 he climbed the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but was arrested at the 60th floor, 28 floors below the top. In 1999 he climbed the Sears Tower, the second man to do so after Dan Goodwin. In June 1999 Robert climbed the 170-metre (558 ft) Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, and in 2000 Robert climbed the 23-metre (75 ft) high Luxor Obelisk in Paris.
In February 2003, he legally climbed the 200-metre (656 ft) National Bank of Abu Dhabi, UAE, watched by about 100,000 spectators. It became more frequent for Robert to be paid to scale buildings as part of publicity efforts. In May 2003, he was paid approximately $18,000 to climb the 95-metre (312 ft) Lloyd's building to promote the premiere of the movie Spider-Man on the British television channel Sky Movies. On 19 October 2004, he scaled the 187-metre (614 ft) headquarters of the French oil company Total while wearing a Spider-Man costume.
Robert scaled Taipei 101 on 25 December 2004, a few days before its grand opening as the tallest building in the world. The 508-metre (1,667 ft) climb was legal, part of the week's festivities. The skyscraper's outwardly slanting sides posed no apparent difficulty for him, but heavy rain resulted in a climb lasting four hours—double his estimate.
On 11 June 2005 he climbed the Cheung Kong Centre in Hong Kong, scaling 283 metres (928 ft) to reach the top of the 62-story tower.
On 1 September 2006, he climbed the tallest building in Lithuania and the Baltic States – Europa Tower (148 metres (486 ft)) in Vilnius. Wearing a black suit and using a safety rope, which he detached several times, he reached the observation deck of the building, 114 metres (374 ft), in 40 minutes. In 2006 he also climbed Torre Vasco da Gama in Portugal as part of an advertisement for Optimus, a national mobile operator. He finished the year climbing the Santa Fe World Plaza in Mexico City on 7 December 2006. On 23 February 2007, he legally climbed the headquarters building of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) on the coast of Abu Dhabi.
On 20 March 2007, he again climbed the Petronas Twin Towers, marking the tenth anniversary of his previous ascent of this building. Upon reaching the 60th floor, he allowed himself to be apprehended. He flew the Malaysian flag and drew applause from waiting police, fire crew, and media representatives before handing himself in. He was handcuffed and escorted off the premises before being driven to a police station.
On 31 May 2007, he scaled the 88-story Jin Mao Building in Shanghai—China's then tallest building, once again wearing a Spider-Man costume. He was later arrested and jailed for five days before being expelled from China. In November 2007, Robert was invited by the local government of Zhangjiajie, a scenic region in the southern province of Hunan, to climb the 1,518-metre (4,980 ft) Tianmen mountain to boost the profile of the region and bring in tourists.
On 18 December 2007, he climbed the 29-story Portland House office building in London (Westminster's tallest building). It took him just over 40 minutes. Police taped off the area and later arrested him for criminal damage and wasting police time.
On 15 April 2008, he climbed the 60-story Four Seasons Place in Hong Kong. The police and four fire engines were standing by and it took him almost 1 hour to reach the top. He stated that his climb was intended to increase awareness of global warming.
On 5 June 2008, he climbed the New York Times Building in New York City. He unfurled a banner with a slogan about global warming and was then arrested by police on the roof. The banner read "Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week."
On 17 February 2009, he once again climbed the Cheung Kong Centre in Hong Kong, taking 40 minutes to reach the top of the 62-story tower. He unfurled a banner reading "onehundredmonths.org" while climbing.
On 2 April 2009, during the 2009 G-20 London summit he climbed to the 9th floor of the Lloyd's building and unfurled a 100-foot banner declaring that there were 100 months left to save the planet.
On 2 June 2009, he climbed to the 41st floor of the RBS Tower in Sydney Australia before returning to the ground; he was arrested as he finished his descent.
On 1 September 2009, one day after Malaysia celebrated its 52nd Independence Day and after two arrests in 1997 and 2007, Alain Robert finally made it successfully to the top of the Petronas Twin Towers. He started at 6:00 am local time and reached the top at 7:40 am local time without attracting the attention of the public. He celebrated his climb by standing with his arms outspread on the pinnacle of one of the Twin Towers. He was later fined RM2000 in default of two months jail at the Kuala Lumpur magistrate’s court after he pleaded guilty to criminal trespass for scaling the Petronas Twin Towers.
On 28 March 2011 Robert climbed the tallest building in the world, the 828-meter Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, taking just over six hours to complete the climb. However, he used a harness in accordance with safety procedure.
On 12 April 2012, he set a Guinness World Record for climbing the 300m-high Aspire Tower in Doha, Qatar in the fastest time (1 hour, 33 minutes and 47 seconds)
On 21 June 2012, he legally climbed the 110-metre high Mauritius Telecom tower in Mauritius as part of an advertising campaign for the launching of 4G cellular technology by the telecommunications operator. He was aided by safety ropes, harnesses and suction cups.
The table below contains the notable structures climbed by Alain Robert.
|Sydney, Australia||Sydney Tower||1997-00-001997||0319319 metres (1,047 ft)|
|Sydney, Australia||Sydney Opera House||1997-00-001997||006565 metres (213 ft)|
|Sydney, Australia||Sydney Harbour Bridge||1997-00-001997||0135135 metres (443 ft)|
|Sydney, Australia||RBS Tower||2009-06-022 June 2009||0218218 metres (715 ft)||Descended to ground. Arrested and fined A$750|
|Sydney, Australia||Lumiere building||2010-08-3030 August 2010||0151151 metres (495 ft)||Arrested at the top. Took about 20 minutes to climb the 57-story building|
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Hotel Vermont||1996-00-001996||0000|
|Montreal, Canada||Crown Plaza Hotel||1999-00-001999||0120120 metres (390 ft)|
|Montreal, Canada||Place de la Cathédrale||0000-00-00||0146146 metres (479 ft)|
|Hong Kong||Four Seasons Place||2008-00-002008||0130130 metres (430 ft)|
|Hong Kong||The Far East Finance Centre||1996-00-001996||0200200 metres (660 ft)|
|Hong Kong||The Cheung Kong Centre||2009-00-002009||0283283 metres (928 ft)|
|Hong Kong||The Cheung Kong Centre||2005-00-002005||0283283 metres (928 ft)|
|London, England||One Canada Square||2002-10-1818 October 2002||0244244 metres (801 ft)||Abandoned half way due to rain|
|London, England||One Canada Square||1995-00-001995||0244244 metres (801 ft)|
|London, England||Lloyd's building||2009-04-022 April 2009||009595 metres (312 ft)||Climbed to the 9th floor. Unfurled a 100 ft banner.|
|London, England||Portland House||2007-12-1818 December 2007||0101101 metres (331 ft)||Arrested. 40 minute climb.|
|Paris, France||Eiffel Tower||1997-00-001996/97||0313313 metres (1,027 ft)|
|Paris, France||Grande Arche at La Défense||1999-00-001999||0105105 metres (344 ft)||Failed due to heat, rescued by firemen|
|Paris, France||The Luxor Obelisk in Place de la Concorde||1999-00-001999||003131 metres (102 ft)|
|Paris, France||Tour Montparnasse||1995-00-001995||0209209 metres (686 ft)|
|Paris, France||Tour Crystal at Front de Seine||2005-00-002005||0100100 metres (330 ft)|
|Paris, France||Tour Crystal at Front de Seine||1996-00-001996||0100100 metres (330 ft)|
|Paris, France||Mercurial Towers at Bagnolet||1995-00-001995||0125125 metres (410 ft)|
|Paris, France||Headquarters of the French oil company Total||2004-10-1919 October 2004||0187187 metres (614 ft)||Wore a Spider-Man costume|
|Paris, France||Ariane building||2009-10-088 October 2009||0152152 metres (499 ft)||no formal charges were brought against him|
|Frankfurt, Germany||Dresdner Bank Tower||1995-00-001995||0145145 metres (476 ft)|
|Milan, Italy||Banca di Milano building||1995-00-001995||0112112 metres (367 ft)|
|Tokyo, Japan||Shinjuku Center Building||1998-00-001998||0245245 metres (804 ft)|
|Warsaw, Poland||Marriott Hotel||1999-00-001999||0140140 metres (460 ft)|
|Johannesburg, South Africa||IBM Tower||1998-00-001998||0110110 metres (360 ft)|
|Abu Dhabi, UAE||National Bank of Abu Dhabi||2003-02-00Feb 2003||0173173 metres (568 ft)||A legal climb. Watched by about 100,000 spectators.|
|Abu Dhabi, UAE||The Etisalat building||2005-00-002005||0160160 metres (520 ft)|
|Abu Dhabi, UAE||ADIA Headquarters Building||2007-00-002007||0185185 metres (607 ft)|
|New York City, United States||New York Times Building||2008-06-055 June 2008||0228228 metres (748 ft)||Unfurled global warming banner. Arrested by police.|
|New York City, United States||Empire State Building||1994-00-001994||0381381 metres (1,250 ft)|
|Chicago, United States||Willis Tower||1999-00-001999||0443443 metres (1,453 ft)||Arrested on top|
|San Francisco, United States||Golden Gate Bridge||1996-00-001996||0227227 metres (745 ft)|
|Philadelphia, United States||Blue Cross Tower||1997-00-001997||0185185 metres (607 ft)|
|Las Vegas, United States||Luxor Hotel||1996-00-001996||0106106 metres (348 ft)|
|Tampere, Finland||Hotel Ilves||2003-10-282003||006161 metres (200 ft)|
|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Petronas Tower 1||1997-03-2020 March 1997||0452452 metres (1,483 ft)||Arrested at the 60th floor|
|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Petronas Tower 2||2007-03-2020 March 2007||0452452 metres (1,483 ft)||Arrested at the 60th floor|
|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Petronas Towers||2009-09-011 September 2009||0452452 metres (1,483 ft)||Stood atop the highest point of the tower, fined MYR 2000|
|Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia||Sabah Foundation Building||1997-00-001997||0150150 metres (490 ft)|
|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Melia Hotel||1997-00-001997||008080 metres (260 ft)||For fundraising|
|Singapore||Overseas Union Bank Centre||2000-00-002000||0280280 metres (920 ft)||Arrested at the 21st floor|
|Singapore||Suntec Tower One||2008-00-002008||0176176 metres (577 ft)|
|Taiwan||Taipei 101||2004-00-002004||0508508 metres (1,667 ft)||Climbed as part of opening event. Tallest building in the world at the time of ascent.|
|Caracas, Venezuela||Parque Central Torre||2002-00-002002||0224224 metres (735 ft)|
|Barcelona, Spain||Torre Agbar||2007-09-122007||0144144 metres (472 ft)|
|Barcelona, Spain||Torre Agbar||2006-00-002006||0144144 metres (472 ft)|
|Portugal||Torre Vasco da Gama||2006-00-002006||0145145 metres (476 ft)||Optimus-sponsored legal climb to promote a phone.|
|Lisbon, Portugal||25 de Abril Bridge||2007-08-066 August 2007||0190190 metres (620 ft)||Arrested|
|Mexico City, Mexico||Santa Fé World Plaza Corporate Tower||2006-00-002006||0127127 metres (417 ft)|
|Bratislava, Slovakia||Slovak Radio Building||2007-04-1212 April 2007||008080 metres (260 ft)||Took less than 20 minutes|
|Shanghai, China||Jin Mao Building||2007-05-3131 May 2007||0420420 metres (1,380 ft)||Arrested, expelled from China|
|Moscow, Russia||West Federation Tower||2007-09-044 September 2007||0244244 metres (801 ft)||Detained by police.|
|São Paulo, Brazil||Edifício Itália||2008-02-00February 2008||0168168 metres (551 ft)|
|Beirut, Lebanon||Phoenicia Hotel||2008-10-00October 2008||0239239 metres (784 ft)|
|Jakarta, Indonesia||The City Tower||2008-11-1212 November 2008||0150150 metres (490 ft)|
|Pune, India||The Amanora Tower||2010-02-2828 February 2010||0100100 metres (330 ft)||Took less than 12 minutes|
|Paris, France||GDF Suez building||2010-04-077 April 2010||0185185 metres (607 ft)||Arrested at the top|
|Singapore||Singapore Flyer||2010-11-055 November 2010||0165165 metres (541 ft)||First person to climb around the world's tallest observatory wheel.|
|Dubai, UAE||Burj Khalifa||2011--032828 March 2011||0828828 metres (2,717 ft)||Legal climb, partial use of safety harness. Tallest building in the world at the time of ascent.|
|Doha, Qatar||Aspire Tower||2012-04-1212 April 2012||0300300 metres (980 ft)||Set a Guinness World Record for climbing in the fastest time (1 hour, 33 minutes and 47 seconds)|
|Paris, France||Tour First||2012-05-1010 May 2012||0231231 metres (758 ft)|
|Port Louis, Mauritius||Mauritius Telecom Tower||2012-06-2121 June 2012||0110110 metres (360 ft)||Legal climb, took less than 30 minutes.|
|Moscow,Russia||Mail.ru office Tower||2013-08-2929 August 2013||0109109 metres (358 ft)||Legal climb, took less than 30 minutes.|
|Auckland, New Zealand||Metropolis Residences||2013-11-1212 December 2013||0155155 metres (509 ft)||Legal climb, promotion for Samsung Galaxy Gear.|
In a 2005 interview, Alain Robert said that he has fallen seven times in his life. The worst was his fall in September 1982.
On 18 January 1982, at 19, he fell 15 metres (49 ft) when his anchor and rope gave way during training. He fractured his wrists, heels and nose and underwent three operations.
On 29 September 1982, at 20, he fell 15 metres (49 ft) when his rope came undone while abseiling. He was in a coma for five days and fractured both forearms, his elbow, pelvis and nose. His elbow was also dislocated and a nerve was damaged, leaving him partially paralyzed. He also suffered cerebral edema and vertigo. He underwent six operations on his hands and elbow.
In 1993, he fell 8 metres (26 ft) while showing students how to rely on their legs when climbing. He kept his hands behind his back on an easy route but lost his balance and fell headfirst, shattering both wrists. He went into another coma and spent two months in the hospital.
In 2004, he fell 2 metres (6 ft 6.7 in) when climbing a traffic light whilst posing for a photo in an interview. He landed on his elbow and needed forty stitches; just one month later he climbed the world's tallest skyscraper at the time, Taipei 101, as part of its official opening week.
Books and documentaries 
Alain Robert's autobiography, With Bare Hands, was first published in English in 2008. It features his development into a famous urban climber from his days as a child and gives a deep insight into his philosophy and how he managed to overcome his disabilities.
The book was released for the Asian market in April by Blacksmith Books in Hong Kong with the subtitle “The true story of Alain Robert, the real-life Spiderman” (ISBN 9789889979928). In September it was released by Maverick House Publishers in the UK for the English language market across Europe. This edition has the subtitle “The Story of the Human Spider” (ISBN 9781905379552).
There is an award-winning 52-minute documentary about Robert titled The Wall Crawler by Director/Producer Julie Cohen, released in 1998.
- Faust Challenger of the Year (2011), Japan
- Birmingham Mail: "Spiderman Alain Robert could be heading to Birmingham", 9 January 2011
- Video that contains footage of Alain using a chalk bag
- Ed Douglas, "Vertigo? No problem for Spiderman", Manchester Guardian Weekly, 11 May 1997, p. 30
- "Willis Tower". http://www.justonebadcentury.com/chicago_cubs_history_47.asp.
- BBC World News: "'Spiderman' scales tallest tower", 25 December 2005
- "'Spiderman' nabbed climbing Malaysian twin towers". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 March 2007. Archived from the original on 28 March 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
- "Man climbs tallest building in China", China Economic Review, 7 August 2007
- "China wants 'Spiderman' back", The Age, 14 November 2007
- "'Spiderman' arrested after scaling Russia tower". msnbc.com. 9/4/2007. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012.
- Article in The Times Online (UK)
- "'French Spiderman' scales Hong Kong hotel"
- "French Spiderman strikes again", Video report by Reuters, 15 April 2008
- Sewell Chan, "Man Scales Times Building and Is Arrested", New York Times, 5 June 2008
- "'Spiderman' posts Green message on Hong Kong skyscraper". ABC News. 17 February 2009. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012.
- "'Spiderman' climbs aboard protest". BBC News. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Daily Telegraph (Australia): "'Spiderman' Alain Robert conquers Sydney, gets arrested"]
- "‘Spiderman’ arrested after climbing Twin Towers (Update)". The Star. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "'Spidey' fined RM2,000 for trespassing Petronas Twin Towers (Update)". The Star. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Alfa-Bank invites you to see the largest video mapping projection attempted in history!". Alfabank.ru. 2011-09-04. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- Mitran, Laura (October 2011). "Alain Robert "Spiderman" vine la Bucureşti să escaladeze hotelul Intercontinental". Gândul (in Romanian). Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Townson, Peter (12 April 2012). "‘Spiderman’ sets world record with Doha feat". Gulf Times. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
- "Alain Robert escalade la Telecom Tower". lexpress.mu. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Liam O'Brien (2012-12-01). "Forget the Green Goblin... Shard to stop French 'Spiderman' Alain Robert – with an injunction - Home News - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "Alain Robert solo urban climbing world tour". Alain Robert.
- "Spiderman Alain Robert, the French daredevil climber: his famous climbs". London: Telegraph UK. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- 'Firemen rescue dizzy French Spiderman'. IOL News, 8 Sept 1999. Retrieved on 20 March 2013.
- 'Spiderman scales 33-floor skyscraper. BBC News, 8 October 2009. Retrieved on 9 October 2009.
- "'French "Spiderman" arrested atop Lisbon bridge". Reuters India. 6 August 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
- "90-minute high = 15 days in Chinese jail". Reuters. 31 May 2007.
- "'Homem-aranha francês é preso novamente em SP após escalar Edifício Itália, prédio que ele diz ser "horrível"". UOL.com. 27 February 2008. Archived from the original on 1 March 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- 'Spiderman' climbs up side of Beirut's Phoenicia Hotel. The Daily Star, 13 October 2008. Retrieved on 15 October 2008.
- With Bare Hands: The true story of Alain Robert, the real-life Spiderman Extract from the book
- With Bare Hands: The Story of the Human Spider His autobiography, published by Maverick House Publishers
- With Bare Hands: The true story of Alain Robert, the real-life Spiderman His autobiography, published by Blacksmith Books
- The Wall Crawler: The Vertical Adventures of Alain Robert at IMDb
- "'Human Spider': Cutting Edge from Channel 4"
- "Faust A.G. Awards 2011 速報｜Faust A.G". Faust-ag.jp. Retrieved 2013-08-09.