By Martin Croucher www.thenational.ae
DUBAI //A man dubbed the ‘French Spider-Man’ today described reaching the top of the world’s tallest building as “an amazing sight and an amazing feeling”.
Alain Robert took six hours, 14 minutes and 55 seconds to scramble to the top of the Burj Khalifa, completing the feat at the top of the antenna at 12.07am today.
“It was a very big moment in my life,” said Mr Robert, 48.
Early this afternoon Mr Robert was presented with a certificate from Guinness World Records to recognise the climb, which marks a new world record: the fastest person to climb the Burj Khalifa.
Mr Robert easily achieved the record, which was created for Mr Robert’s attempt. The organisation had required only that he complete the climb within nine hours.
The attempt was originally scheduled to start at 4.30pm. But, as Mr Robert explained, he held off until 6pm due to a deluge of media interviews earlier in the day.
“I wasn’t sure how long it would take, I initially thought it would take between six to nine hours,” he said. “It took me by surprise that I could make it quite fast.”
Mr Robert is famous for climbing the world’s tallest buildings – among them the 508-metre Taipei 101 and the 450-metre Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur – without the aid of the safety harness and rope normally used by climbers.
“It was a requirement from the government and the head of the Burj Khalifa,” he said. “I would have loved to do it differently, but of course I knew it was not possible, so I was having to play the game.”
The big challenge came 15 metres from the very top of the building, when Mr Robert said he was hit with paralyzing thigh cramps but knew he must soldier on.
“I knew that it was nearly done so there was no way to stop,” he said.