Friday, June 6, 2008


We had a surprise at work yesterday. I was sitting at my desk when a co-worker came over and said, “Someone’s climbing up the outside of the building!”

Sure enough, a French stuntman named Alain Robert was going hand-over-hand up the exterior sunscreen of the skyscraper where I work. We all pressed against the windows, watching him as he ascended. I work on the fifth floor, so he’d barely started at that point -- I eventually went down to the street and watched him as he climbed up to about the 30th floor. Then I went inside, because it was just too scary. He arrived at the 52nd floor not long after and was arrested.

I said to some co-workers, “We’re going to have to make changes to the building, because now that someone’s done it, others will do it again.”

And sure enough, ANOTHER guy climbed the building just a few hours later. He seemed like much more of an amateur, but he made it to the top too. I couldn’t believe it. (I left work right about the time he started his ascent, so I missed that climb.)

The building is screened with panels of ceramic rods. I don’t know how strong they are, or whether they’re really made to withstand the weight of a human being. The news account said one of them cracked as the second climber stepped on it.

If I were a potential climber, I would give this some serious thought. Even someone strong enough to reach the top is climbing a structure that’s simply not meant to be climbed.

At any rate, I hope this doesn’t become a regular occurrence. Not only is it a selfishly dangerous act, but I’ll never get any work done.

(Photo: Sticker art in Philadelphia, May 2008)


  1. Can't imagine how brave (or stupid?) you would have to be to do somehting like climb a skyscraper. Yikes!!

    But how fun to watch it unfold.

  2. if any building was made for climbing, it does appear that building was! perhaps we can get nancy sinatra to sing a song about it.

    alain robert is unstoppable! if his stunt can stimulate thoughts about global warming and not be a catalyst for more copycats then great!!

  3. Spiderman, Spiderman....does whatever a spider can!

    I liked his sign, and his point.

  4. So hey:
    Your pair of climbers got picked up on the newswire services; heard about 'em on NPR in DC this evening. Funny thing is, they didn't mention a really tall, crazy bald dude running in & out of the building, looking like he wished he had his camera and saying things like "HEY, YOU NUTS!?!?" and "We're going to have to make changes to the building..."

    ...but then, i guess that's journalism for you...

  5. It would be great to see it in person. Lucky you.

  6. I love the cheery crazy pic you started this post with.

    very brave to climb a skyscraper.

  7. Love the goofy blue smiler.

    re Alain: he made the big big news over here, as you can imagine. He is unstoppable - at least until a jungian therapist gets him to stay at ground level long enough to figure out what the compulsion is all about :-)
    shouldn't do it, bad example, etc

    But I admit my first reaction was a delighted: oh wow! Steve was there and saw it with his own eyes.

    But it's a stupid thing to do and Alain should stop it and the copycats are dangerous and the buildings aren't designed...

  8. quelle excitement!

    and he says he has vertigo...???!!!

  9. I would've thought there must be a fear gene in them bones.

    There isn't any!

  10. Dennis understand the need to disobey!