For all his showmanship, Robert is ingenuous about his image and his finances. Eventually, a colleague in the next row gestured toward Robert’s banner, on the opposing Cheung Kong Building, and pointed out that, just above it, was a man. Le Français est revenu dans le quartier d’affaires de La Défense, mercredi 13 novembre 2019. More often, people on the other side revel in noticing. Spiderman is at it again. Ivan Greene said, “I was very much under the impression, from the American climbers, that you’ve got to be serious, and it’s about this specific diet, and he’s busting out the chocolate cookies on the cliff and teaching me about the importance of good cheese.” (Apparently, it is essential to virility.) The Frank Giles Buildering Tour ’07 saw such feats as me sitting on my couch with a Budweiser, slipping on the ice down the stairs from my deck . Robert is taking a social risk as much as a physical one, and people’s attitudes toward him are similar to those of investors toward a start-up. He did the same with the upper left corner. “I have opened myself to the whole world, instead of just climbing all alone,” he told me. Designed by Cesar Pelli, the Cheung Kong Center is a glass-clad rectangle overlaid with a decorative grid of stainless-steel bars. His trespasses are crapshoots, and the response to them varies according to the jurisdiction, and the caprice of whoever is presiding over it on a given day. Five minutes later, Robert had fewer than twenty stories to go. It took him two years to retrain himself to walk sideways across a low brick wall outside his house. Reach a ledge. Plus récemment, au mois de septembre, le Français s’est fait arrêter à Francfort (Allemagne) pour avoir gravi une tour de 154 mè = ; 1  Voici les 14 centres commerciaux qui ferment en Seine-Maritime pour lutter contre la Covid-19, 2  Covid-19 : pourquoi certains magasins de moins de 20 000 m2 doivent quand même fermer, 3  Yvelines. Robert compares the feeling of completing a challenging climb to sex. He reached into his shirt and produced a large yellow banner, affixing its top right corner to the building with one of the pieces of string. Mais sa dernière tentative l’an passé de gravir les 185 mètres de la tour Engie, à Courbevoie, dans le quartier du Faubourg de l’Arche lui a laissé un goût amer. When he was nine, he saw the movie “The Mountain,” about two brothers who serve as a rescue party when an airplane crashes near their village. The Arch of Defense is located in the district of La Defense, west of Paris, France and belongs to the communes of Courbevoie, Puteaux, and Nanterre. They think that if there is a mattress you can fall from the top of the sky and no one will get hurt. “They know they are going to get paid—they just need to go to the bar every day to play the horse race.” He continued, “Some people do prefer to have a fucking boring life, just being sure at the end of the month they’re going to have a paycheck.”. Straddling a bar, he inched down to tether the bottom half of the banner. “Yours is China Bank, and mine is the Cheung Kong Center,” he said, indicating my glass, which, for some reason, stood a few inches taller. February 17, 2009, 1:10 P.*M.* As the thousands of bankers, consultants, and accountants who work in the Cheung Kong Center, a sixty-two-story office tower in Hong Kong’s central business district, returned from their lunch breaks, a slight Frenchman named Alain Robert was being questioned in a windowless room on the tower’s first floor. “It’s just that I don’t really care, and I feel like I’m transparent,” he said. 香港, kantoński jyutping: hoeng1 gong2 wym., ang. “I think you may have to give them a sort of promise,” Pickavant, a Liverpudlian expatriate, replied. (Islands are as hospitable to skyscrapers as they are to flora and fauna.) Another time, he said, “Being an adult is maybe nice because you’re having a car, but it’s a bit boring. We got out at the Bank of China, walked past some security guards, and got into an elevator. The outside of his right pinkie had three cuts. “It’s always a great enjoyment, because you are feeling a lot of freedom, and you are just putting your life from the tips of your fingers to do something interesting,” he told me. He led me to a covered pedestrian overpass that connects the Bank of China to the Cheung Kong Center, entering it from the side closer to the harbor. It is said that one can tell a skilled climber by how he uses his feet, not his hands. On the morning of the climb, he convened a press conference, which consisted of a handful of local reporters and him, sitting on a leather couch with a half-finished bottle of orange juice. La Defense is a major business district in Paris with Grande Arche de la Defense building in center. The favelados were barefoot, so Robert took off his shoes, too, and demanded that the host seat them. prevent performance in which human life is needlessly imperiled to satisfy either . Robert sat in a plastic chair, surrounded by men in uniform. Robert was tense. Upon its completion in September, the Burj Dubai will be the world’s tallest building. Only his orange pants were starting to be visible, the faraway base of a sawhorse. (Years ago, his methods were more elaborate. “He needs a lot of help in the horizontal world.”. an insane desire for vainglory or money on the part of those directing or executing that sort of exhibition.” When the hurdy-gurdy man plays, someone is always trying to take a nap. Robert adjusted his career aspirations: from then on, he wanted to be the Spencer Tracy character, a brave hero battling for survival against the direst of odds. “On the outside is amazing. “Much as he says he enjoys climbing, it didn’t seem that way,” the building’s spokeswoman told the Express. The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. On a cliff, moisture makes itself known: limestone turns brown, but the glass-and-steel surface of the Sears was invisibly lubricated by condensation from a host of gathering rain clouds. Robert wanted to touch the building. Saône-et-Loire, Burgundsko), je francouzský sportovní lezec a lezec na výškové budovy, označovaný za „Pavoučího muže“ nebo „francouzského Spider-Mana“ (podle komiksu Spider-Man z vydavatelství Marvel Comics), věnoval se také skalnímu lezení. When one of the reporters called it, the construction worker picked up his cell phone and narrated the rest of the ascent. Keep going. It was supposed to be an easy climb, a lark, but, near the top, the windows unexpectedly became taller, exceeding Robert’s armspan. He climbed methodically, hand over hand, high on his calves. His hands are small and heftless, like flippers. Another YouTube commenter, after watching a video of the Cheung Kong climb, quoted Chris Rock: “That tiger ain’t go crazy. He broke a lot of bones and left the hospital in two casts. He was a barnacle on a vast piling. It is one of the major business districts of Europe, comparable to the City of London, and consists of a set of towers and skyscrapers, some of them belong to major national and international companies, others are used as a residence. We’re not providing a climbing wall for prima-donna climbers to show off to the world and to be able to get fame and fortune and sell their stories to the newspaper.” According to Scott, it would be virtually impossible to design an unclimbable building. Alain Robert a escaladé les 187m de haut de la tour Total, dans le quartier de La Défense (Hauts-de-Seine), afin de soutenir le mouvement de grève contre la réforme des retraites. Robert has had to be rescued twice in his career: in 1999, on the Grande Arche de la Défense, by firemen (he overheated); and in 2002, at Canary Wharf, by a window cleaner (wind and rain trapped him on the thirty-fifth floor). Robert spoke at length about climate change, and then said, “It shows that I am willing to give a big part of myself for something that I have a strong belief.” (If Robert is retailing environmental responsibility, he’s something of a loss leader, flying all over the world to encourage other people not to.) “I am sure that I am having ten thousand times more fun than someone working as a cashier in the supermarket,” he told me. He wears his hair below his shoulders. “Free-soloing is a very élite, esoteric subdivision for obvious reasons—you fall, you die,” Matt Samet, the editor of Climbing, said. Another asked for Robert’s passport. Right hand, left hand. He thought it would be indecent to ask God to help him. Below, on the overpass, a crowd had gathered. When he fails, it is at the property owner’s, or the taxpayers’, expense, and public opinion can be jeering. Alain Robert, connu pour ses tentatives d'escalades urbaines sauvages, a grimpé à mains nues sur la tour Engie, située dans le quartier d'affaires de la Défense près de Paris. Grabbing hold of a protruding stanchion, he began scurrying up the face, like a cockroach eluding the sole of a loafer. I can’t look, Pickavant thought, he’s hanging off the building with a bloody phone in his hand, and I’m staring at my bacon sandwich. He will show up in a faraway city with little guarantee other than a few telephone conversations. Robert climbed to the top of the cliff and descended on the rope, which had a bad knot. Returning home from school one afternoon, he realized that he had lost his keys. The architects of the Chrysler Building, racing for supremacy against the Bank of the Manhattan Company, secretly fabricated their spire inside the building. In New York, a scrum of inmates once hoisted him on their shoulders after seeing a clip of him climbing 101 Park Avenue (six hundred and twenty-nine feet) on the jailhouse TV. When he reached one, he would pause, turn to the left, and survey the city, like a sailor scanning the horizon from the top of a mast. “Let’s go down.”. Philippe Petit, in advance of his 1974 tightrope walk, had gone so far in the name of caution as to arrive at the World Trade Center on crutches. From there, he pulled himself onto the roof of the footbridge and dashed toward the building. He plunged head first, landing on solid rock. (Robert climbed it and found a tennis ball on the roof.) He looked up, and started climbing again. Alain Robert escalade à mains nues la tour Total de la Défense. The first evening we met, in Hong Kong, he ate French fries and spring rolls, and drank seven glasses of champagne. “For me, it was really something bizarre,” Robert said. His father was a phone-company representative, his mother a housewife. A mains nues, et sans aucune sécurité, il est toutefois parvenu à grimper presque jusqu’au toit, s’arrêtant quelques étages avant. He chalked his hands and blew on them. Hong Kong is an exceptionally dense city, with ninety thousand people per square mile in places, well above Manhattan. At last, facing the window, Robert jammed his feet between the glass and the inner edge of the beam, shimmying up its spine, like a monkey on a coconut tree. Soon, Robert—along with a friend and a copy of the magazine Mountains—attempted his first official escalation, of the limestone cliffs at Château de Crussol, a twelfth-century castle in the Ardèche region. Of the world’s ten tallest buildings, he has climbed five. At twelve-forty, he made a push. They met in 1982, and they have three sons (Julien, twenty-one, and Hugo, eighteen, who have both joined the Army, and Lucas, fourteen, a high-school student). His posture is atavistic, with powerful shoulders and a tiny waist, as though his body were composed of the adverse parts of a matchup toy. In 1992, two years before he started climbing buildings, he combined that route with two others, L’Abomifreux (7c) and L’Abominafreux (8a). He is guileless, in a way that can be uncomfortable to witness: in Hong Kong, a man approached him and asked for money, telling him he had a “lucky face.” Robert appeared genuinely flattered. It is probably not a coincidence that when Robert targeted Canary Wharf in 1995 he knocked on the window, asking for a glass of water, at L!ve TV’s floor. Robert scaling the façade of the Adia Tower, in Abu Dhabi, in 2007. Le "Spiderman français" a réalisé une nouvelle performance ce lundi. His left shoulder, which he had pulled while climbing in Qatar, in December, hurt. A knobby calcification protrudes from his right wrist, as if someone had cut a golf ball in half and implanted it under the skin. Alain Robert a grimpé la tour Ariane du quartier d'affaires de La Défense, mercredi 13 novembre 2019. When he was twenty-two, he completed L’Abominable Homme des Doigts, a face rated 7b+, the highest level, at the time, he says, for a free-solo. Climbing tall buildings is inherently an exhibitionist act—skyscrapers, unlike Denali or El Capitan, tend to house the sorts of powerful corporations that interest the media, and, occasionally, the media themselves. He can’t not.” The necessity of the ordeal, for Robert, is self-evident. . At the press conference, Robert did not let on which building he would strike. He was hooked. La Défense, le 13 novembre. Il avait alors justifié son geste comme un cri d’alerte pour sauver Notre-Dame-de-Paris… avant l’incendie. After climbing partway up the Petronas Twin Towers, in Kuala Lumpur—“my Everest,” Robert wrote in an autobiography, “With Bare Hands”—he spent two days in jail before being equipped with a driver and a Mercedes, and presented to the king. The jack-knife-shaped Bank of China (the Cleaver Building) was, upon its opening, faulted by feng-shui practitioners for emanating negative chi—the building has sharp edges, and its orientation to the HSBC Building is said to be belligerent. Rich Gottlieb, the owner of Rock and Snow, in New Paltz, and a wise man of the Shawangunks, said that he considers Robert “almost a physical muckraker, there to just break us right out of our shells.” A Robert climb is essentially a circle show, an act that draws a crowd. “Maybe it is nicer if I move more on the north side, because we can see the sea,” he said. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. He was stuck. Le "Spiderman français" a escaladé ce mercredi la tour Total pour le 3e fois dans la quartier des affaires de la Défense à Paris. It is one of the world’s tallest cities, with thirty-one towers of more than seven hundred feet. In 1993, he fell again, on the same cliff. Robert was wearing red leather pants. Six months later, he was free-soloing a cliff in Cornas when, he wrote, an instructor asked if he could help secure a rope for a pair of students. Once, climbing, he encountered a woman in a bathtub. Using cross-through maneuvers (the left hand moving over and across the right arm) and match moves (one hand next to the other), he progressed laterally toward the north side of the building, the one facing the water, the more picturesque. When he climbed the Jin Mao Tower, he did it wearing a red-and-blue unitard. Robert’s fee can be as high as fifty thousand dollars, but he has settled for far less, and the lack of discrimination with which he fields paying gigs, along with his flashy style, has led his detractors to accuse him of being a sellout, or—in the words of a YouTube commenter—“just another French media whore.” It is true that Robert’s climbs, even the unsponsored ones, are not immune to mercenary concerns: he avoids climbing on Mondays, he told me, because the weekend staff people at newspapers often fail to pass on the tip that he customarily calls in. De plus près, il s’agit d’Alain Robert. He went on, “Well, maybe, for the people all buildings are the same, but for me it’s not like that.” As he talked, he gesticulated, releasing puffs of chalk into the air. “Why not?” Training proved a challenge: the most formidable structure in Pézenas was a three-story house. . It said “,” referring to a climate-change Web site. Mist—sludge, for the tropics—was implacable. To purists, free-soloing buildings is taboo, a transgression of the pastoral, solitary character that has traditionally defined their sport. Separated from Robert by only a delicate membrane, people were blowing their noses and talking on phones. (As a popular YouTube clip proves, Robert can perform a full pull-up by inserting a single middle finger into a hole in a cliff.) Alain Robert n’en est pas à son coup d’essai dans le quartier d’affaires. He said later, “I was just thinking, Fuck. Fatigue was setting in. The clouds were still woolly, but we could make out the top of the building. No. Many of the buildings have pet names or backstories: the Convention and Exhibition Center (the Ski Jump), the Far East Finance Center (the Amah’s Tooth), the Australian-designed Lippo Building (the Koala Tree), the portholed Jardine House (the House of a Thousand Assholes). The woman who thought he was going to die and her co-workers urged him to jump in. Les tours de la Défense sont devenue le terrain de jeu d’Alain Robert le « Spider-Man français ». The wind whipped Robert’s hair and clothes as if they were pennants and he were a flagpole. All rights reserved. Alain Robert clambered halfway up the Paris building Daredevil French stunt man, Alain Robert, who calls himself "Spiderman", had to be rescued from the Arche de la Defense in Paris, after suffering from heat stroke. “Even if you made the bottom thirty feet of sheer glass, a skilled climber could easily scale it with suction cups,” he said. I was getting nervous. Ever since a fortune-teller in Bangkok suggested that he was a Native American in a past life, he has favored a Wild Western look. (Some historians argue that, partly because the Home Insurance Building’s construction included load-bearing masonry, the Equitable Life Assurance Building, in New York, was actually the first skyscraper.) Her I.Q. As Robert climbed higher, cumulus clouds scrolled behind him, like a screensaver. Selectionnez une région ou recherchez une ville, It’s hard to picture Robert at a state dinner—he showed up for his audience with the Malaysian royals bare-chested, except for a lizard-skin vest. For everyone who is delighted by the antics of the provocateur—Blondin, the funambule, cooked an omelette while traversing Niagara Falls—there is another person who finds him feckless or cavalier. A concierge reported the break-in to his mother, who scolded him. One of his feet slipped a little, but he recovered. If the restaurant represented to him “exactly the type of bullshit that rich people find compulsory,” one has to wonder why he was compelled to visit it, other than to provoke. At his arraignment, a judge said, “If you want to kill yourself, find some nice quiet bridge in Connecticut in some hick town.” In September, the City Council passed “anti-Spidey” legislation to prevent climbing and jumping from the city’s buildings. The skyline, steaming and shrouded, could have been made of dry ice. Ensminger-Law had no idea what was going on. . For a person with an aerial orientation—“My dad is spending his whole life watching in the air,” Julien once remarked to Nicole—Hong Kong is a paradise, nurturing, on its skyline, the same biodiversity that Darwin observed in the Galápagos. . The first modern skyscraper was the Home Insurance Building, which was erected in Chicago in 1885. Benjamin Ensminger-Law sent an e-mail to everyone he knew saying, “There is a guy climbing the Cheung Kong Building. Rarely is there that kind of surface.” He was wearing skintight orange pants and a black T-shirt, upon which mites of grip chalk had settled, like dandruff. He moved his feet in graceful tendus, as though he were dipping them in the surf to see if it was cold. A l'initiative des organisateurs du festival d'humour de Paris, soucieux de clôturer leur évènement de belle manière, Alain Robert s'est lancé à l'assaut de la tour Ariane à La Défense. Un bouchon géant au péage de Buchelay où Gérald Darmanin doit assister à des contrôles, 4  Un homme suspect signalé dans un village de Seine-Maritime : appel à la vigilance, 5  Pluto TV, une plateforme de streaming entièrement gratuite, arrive en France dès février, Abonnez-vous pour lire le journal PDF en illimité. The guards escorted him to the sidewalk. Située côté Puteaux elle est accompagnée au sud depuis 2014 de la Tour Majunga. He was a shrimp. “And should we consider them? Climbers, especially, can be harsh in their assessments of Robert. His head peeked over into the skyline—a minuscule bump. It is an aesthetic pursuit, with a moral basis: dying, full-heartedly, is better than a half-assed life. When he was almost at the top of the building, he looked down at the cars. The family apartment—Robert, the second son, has two brothers and a sister—was seven flights up, with a loggia window that was always left unlocked. In the early part of the century, Harry Gardiner—reportedly partial to climbing buildings in a white duck suit, tennis shoes, and rimless spectacles—gained notoriety as the Human Fly, spawning a wave of copycat acts. A skyscraper heaps hundreds of discrete worlds on top of one another. “If I’m going to cross over—yep,” he said. Across Eighth Avenue, a construction worker, standing on a higher floor of an unfinished building, held up a phone number on a handwritten sign. Robert was absolutely dying for an audience with the tycoon. When, in London, Robert was arrested at One Canada Square (seven hundred and seventy-one feet), in Canary Wharf, a bobby treated him to a fry-up of sausage, eggs, and beans. Ensminger-Law felt a vicarious panic. The year before, Robert had climbed the north side of the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, starting from the sixth-floor spa, which he infiltrated by booking a Swedish massage. L’accès au toit comprend l’accès à l’expo photo « L’épreuve du temps » de Nikos Aliagas. Le Spiderman français n'est toutefois pas allé jusqu'au sommet. Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. In 1923, after a man fell nine stories from the Hotel Martinique, the New York City Council passed an ordinance preventing “street exhibitions of a foolhardy character in climbing the outer walks of buildings by human beings.” It continued, “It seems desirable to . Le tout, sous le regard stupéfait de nombreux travailleurs. According to Hoël, the movement of Robert’s elbows is limited, his radius and ulna have separated, his wrists are inflexible, and he can no longer straighten his fingers, having jammed them into too many crannies, for too long. Robert climbing the Grande Arche de la Défense, in 1999. “It turns out I just wasted the whole morning networking with a dog.”, “The message here is ‘Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!’”, “Of course, the savings on gas are fantastic!”, When in French: Love in a Second Language. Within hours of his ascent, Renaldo Clarke, a computer technician from Sunset Park, had also made the climb, supposedly to raise awareness of malaria. Ce lundi matin, Alain Robert, surnommé le «Spider-Man français », a escaladé la tour Total à La Défense en quarante-cinq minutes. Still, within six weeks he was standing atop Chicago’s Citigroup Center. Robert tacked to the right. “I have climbed the five tallest buildings in the world,” he said. He was excited, both to witness someone climbing the building and also in the way that people get around celebrities, or maybe when they first go somewhere they’ve seen in photographs or at the movies. When I asked Julie Cohen about his motivations, she laughed and said, “He always gives really corny answers: ‘I climb ze mountain because it is zere.’ . He got his chance at the age of twelve. They began free-soloing routes across the Vercors Plateau. “Climbing out of the Verdon is insane. Considering the number of things that can go wrong, his reconnaissance methods are surprisingly low-tech: he scouts a building on the skyscraper Web site and then shows up at the site. Cheung Kong’s tenants include McKinsey & Company, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs. La Défense. Reuters hadn’t shown. Alain Robert, rodným jménem Robert Alain Philippe (* 7. srpna 1962, Digoin v depart. I asked what bored him. Which is bullshit.”. Robert pointed his toes and planted them precisely. © 2021 Condé Nast. I think it’s that crazy French guy.” The only response he got was from a friend, asking if he meant Sarkozy. At times, his idealism can seem callow—in “With Bare Hands,” which was edited and adapted by John Chan, he recounts how he invited a group of street urchins to one of Rio de Janeiro’s fanciest restaurants. Dès l'adolescence, il admire les exploits des grands alpinistes contemporains (Bonatti, Messner...) et pratique l'escalade sur les falaises du Vercors et de lArdèche. Robert climbed up and let himself in. ARCHE, en termes de l'Ecriture, c'est le vaisseau que fit Noé au temps du Deluge pour y retirer les hommes que Dieu en voulut sauver, & les animaux pour en conserver l'espece. Ensminger-Law put down his project. The professional climber Ivan Greene told me, admiringly, “When he came to New York, my home town, and climbed the New York Times Building, I was like, ‘Dick!’ ”, Robert climbed the Times building last June. In Moscow, where Robert climbed the Federation Tower (seven hundred and ninety-five feet), he drank vodka with the police commissioner. Moisture settled everywhere, as if the entire city were a bathroom mirror. To Robert, safety contrivances are a form of bondage, and the prerogative of self-reliance distinguishes men from marionettes. Approaching the property, Robert vaulted onto a low railing.