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Rooftopping in Hong Kong
@hafidzfdz in Indonesia

Rooftopping sometimes called roofing refers to the unsecured ascent of rooftops, cranes, antennas, smokestacks, etc., usually illegally. Participants have been classified by psychologists as thrill seekers who thrive on high levels of stimulation and complexity, although other theories explaining their motivation exist.[1] They usually take selfie photos or videos and panoramic photographs, placing an emphasis on being in an extremely dangerous but unique situation.[1] It is chiefly an undertaking of younger people, many are seeking social-media exposure and followers, and it has been especially popular in Russia.[2] Rooftoppers clandestinely access off-limits staircases, roof hatches, ladders, etc., and it incorporates some aspects of buildering. It is an offshoot of urban exploring, but is not universally condoned among urban explorers due to its high risk taking. Because it is often practiced in the pursuit of viral-ready videos and selfies, it tends to bring attention to urban exploring that can result in heightened security and greater restriction against access to desirable exploration venues.[3]


Rooftoppers often use head-cams such as GoPro or other helmet cameras for videos.[4][5][6][7]

Some also use quadcopter drones for exploration and recording.[8]


  • Tom Ryaboi, a Canadian photographer often credited as a pioneer in the community. His photo "I'll Make You Famous" in 2011[9] was the first Rooftopping images to go viral and inspired many of the active roofoppers today.[10]
  • Kirill Oreshkin, the Moscow-based "Russian Spiderman" has published pictures of himself in the midst of dangerous stunts on some of Russia's tallest buildings. Oreshkin started scaling buildings as a hobby in 2008 and videos of his ascents have also been posted on YouTube.[11]
  • Angela Nikolau, a Russian model whose rooftopping adventures have vaulted her into worldwide fame.[2]
  • Wu Yongning, known as the Chinese Superman, died in 2017 while performing a rooftopping stunt.[12]
  • Marisa Lazo, who on April 25, 2017, required firefighters to rescue her from the hook of a construction crane 12 stories above a Toronto street.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bradley L. Garrett (17 February 2015). "Meet the rooftoppers: the urban outlaws who risk everything to summit our cities". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b Lucy Ash (March 23, 2017). "The daredevils feeding a dangerous Russian craze". BBC News.
  3. ^ Jamie Doward (26 February 2017). "The lure of tall buildings: A guide to the risky but lucrative world of 'rooftoppers'". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Don't look down! Vertigo-inducing GoPro footage shot by daredevil who scaled London skyscraper for stunning view of the capital". The Sun. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Afraid of heights? You'll still want to watch this". Red Bull. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  6. ^ "The Hong Kong urban adventurers for whom nothing is too tall, or deep, or spooky". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Meet the Place Hackers". Time. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  8. ^ Ives, Mike (7 February 2017). "Using Stealth, and Drones, to Document a Fading Hong Kong". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  9. ^ T. Ryaboi, Article in "PetaPixel" April 12, 2012
  10. ^ Vidya Kauri, Article in "Globe and Mail" November 10, 2012
  11. ^ "Daredevil or reckless? 'Russia's Spiderman' Kirill Oreshkin takes". The Independent. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  12. ^ Amy B. Wang,Article in "The Washington Post" December 12, 2017
  13. ^ Rosie Dimanno, Article in "The Star" April 29, 2017

External links[edit]