By Damian Reilly
French climber says world's tallest building is a challenge he cannot resist.
Alain Robert, 48, the French climber known as Spiderman for his ability to climb skyscrapers without ropes or a harness, says he will scale the Burj Khalifa early next year.
Robert, speaking at a climbing awards ceremony in Malaysia, said the glistening 828m tower was a challenge he could not resist.
“I’ll have to do it… maybe between January and April 2011. I know the people of Dubai, they are interested (in seeing me climb the skyscraper),” he said.
Robert, who describes himself as a “free solo climber”, has climbed dozens of buildings over the last decade, including the Tapei 101 tower in Taiwan (509m), the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Speaking to Arabian Business at the end of 2008, Robert said the Burj Khalifa climb would not be straightforward and revealed he had already had a little practice on it.
“It’s a serious ascent,” he said. “It’s not completely straight from top to bottom, so I climbed a few metres at different levels of the building. I will climb it to the highest floor, but only when they clean it from top to bottom – the building is covered with dust.”
Should Robert climb the Burj Khalifa, it will be his fourth successful ascent of a UAE skyscraper. In 2003 over 10,000 people watched him climbing the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. In 2005 he scaled the Etisalat building in Abu Dhabi and in 2007 he climbed the ADIA headquarters.
Robert, who has been arrested in several countries for his climbing exploits, is a realist on the subject of associated risk: “If you fall, you die,” he said.
Aside the fact that this guy might have some kind of childhood problems, climbing the tallest building would be a free pubblicity for Dubai. Instead of Spiderman how about Superman? Could do more for the country.