“Crackpot”, “show off” and “narcissist” are just a few names being directed at Alain Robert, the French free-climber who has a penchant for scaling high rise buildings. Dubbed ‘the Spiderman’, Robert has crawled his way to the top of over 100 skyscrapers and after reaching the top of Burj Khalifa in just six hours, the Frenchman says there are more to be done.
His climb of 828 metres has set a new world record for the highest free climb of a building; but many people are beginning to question why he takes such risks and what compels him to be such a daredevil.
In his earlier days Robert was largely unassuming, scaling towers without any unnecessary public attention, but he clearly wanted a new challenge and had something to prove.
After arrests for trespassing and a serious case of cramp on one climb, the Frenchman continued to ascend the tallest structures mankind has to offer, until his ventures have become acceptable; even applauded by authorities that would previously have chastened him.
So the question is what makes Alain ‘Spiderman’ Robert such an attention seeker?
His adventures are like something from a film, a man possessed by the need to show the world how skilful or brave he is while entertaining them with his agility and climbing prowess. But what does he actually prove?
That his detractors are correct?
Maybe; but the man is a bag of contradictions; on the one hand he says: “Spiderman is not my cup of tea. Spiderman is fictitious, while I am real. But I am fine being called a Spiderman,” while his official website lauds him as ‘Alain Robert the French Spiderman’.
A quote taken from website alludes to the real reason for his stunts: “Climbing is my passion, my philosophy of life. Although I suffer from vertigo, although my accidents left me disabled up to 66%, I have become the best solo climber.”
Adding to his belief Robert says: “We set ourselves limits, but we are all strong enough to aim higher, to achieve our goals. All we have to do is find such strength within ourselves. Know how to develop it.”
“I do think that sometimes faith can move mountains…”
Move them? No. Get around them somehow? That’s a fair compromise.
While his philosophy is admirable and his self-belief as incredible as his feats of danger, putting his life at risk every time he scales a building is something that not only affects him, but all those onlookers that gather at each new conquest, not to mention those that follow him on the news and online.
There are perhaps less extreme ways to make a statement; climbing up the outside of a tall building is much the same as shouting to make your point heard, but then again, Alain Robert clearly doesn’t believe that extremes exist.
Please share your thoughts on Alain ‘Spiderman’ Robert and his amazing climb up Burj Khalifa by leaving a comment.
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images: daylife.com, couriermail.com.au