Han Qizhi was the first person to climb the exterior of the Jin Mao Tower. At 88 stories, the Jin Mao was the tallest building in China at the time—and 5th tallest building in the world (measured by roof height). The structure in Shanghai is clad in metal latticework which seemed to offer ready footholds to a climber. In early March 2001, Han walked around the building at ground level a couple of times with a companion before removing his jacket and starting upwards. An official report would later say he was "struck by a rash impulse" before climbing the skyscraper while barehanded and while wearing regular day clothes.
He nearly reached the top before being intercepted by police near a window cleaner's platform. His hands were bloody after climbing over 1,000 feet in frigid temperatures, cold fog, and strong winds. He was taken into police custody and detained for around two weeks. Han had no professional climbing experience. Apparently a hope that his feat might bring fame to himself and to his shoe business in Hefei was a factor.
Han succeeded in vexing the famous daredevil climber Alain Robert (AKA "the French Spider-Man") who had already spent a week scouting out ideal Jin Mao climbing routes and trying to get official permits: "Actually, I am very pissed off," said Robert, "it's impossible to get approval." Robert's climb (without permits) would wait until 2007. Since Han "started the trend" of climbing the Jin Mao in 2001, four other men (including Alain Robert) as of 2007 were arrested for attempting to scale the building. Climbers are typically detained on a charge of disrupting public order.
The Jin Mao Tower, aerial view.
- Natalie Paris; et al. (August 1, 2007). "90-minute high = 15 days in Chinese jail". Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- China People's Daily staff (February 28, 2007). "China Shoe Salesman Beats French Spiderman to Climb". Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "Shoe salesman beats 'spiderman' to climb". News24. Reuters. March 1, 2001. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Natalie Paris; et al. (August 1, 2007). "Prison for scaling China's tallest skyscraper". Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Independent OnLine News (March 2, 2007). "'Spiderman' seeks vengeance for China climb". Retrieved September 1, 2014.