Alain Robert

Climber of skyscrapers. Inspirational talk with no ropes

Alain Robert is the worlds leading free climber and is known all over the world as the "Urban Climber" for having ascended over 70 skyscrapers without ropes - and often without permission. An inspirational speaker with a very different background.

Alain used to train on the cliffs around Valence, his home town (south of France). His motivation was calculated risk and mastering his fear. So Alain Robert decided to climb solo. This meant: climbing with his bare hands; no ropes for his protection. You fall, you die. Alain has climbed the worlds most extreme cliff faces solo.

He has had two serious accidents, a fall where his rope came undone whilst rappelling. He spent 5 days in a coma and suffered multiple fractures: his cranium, nose, wrists, elbows, pelvis and heels. The prognosis was that he would never climb again and resulted in Alain developing vertigo, (a disease affecting the inner ear).

A year later, Alain Robert went back to cliff climbing and was soon stronger than ever. Juan Antonio Samaranche gave him the IOC (International Olympic Committee) award for his performance. He also achieved a world record for the most extreme solo performance, in the gorge of the Verdon (south of France).

Sector, (a sponsor specialising in extreme sports, adventure), offered to make a documentary of his climbing and suggested that he climb skyscrapers. So in 1994, Alain climbed his first skyscraper in Chicago and "The Urban Climber" was born.

Alain enjoyed climbing what seemed the impossible and so went around the world searching for the skyscraper of his dreams. In doing so he has been sent to jail many times from climbing without authorisation. He is known for his bold ascents, but the public is unaware that he often climbs to collect money for charity.

In 1997, he climbed without authorisation the world’s tallest skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur. The impact on the media was so great that Sabah Foundation asked him to climb its building in Borneo. With government authorisation, the event grew enormously, drawing a crowd of 15,000 people and raising over US$150,000.

Alain has climbed over 70 skyscrapers and mythical monuments around the world. His greatest success so far being the ascent of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi with over 100,000 spectators!

To him, a city is like a range of mountains, with one little difference: there will always be new skyscrapers under construction.

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