'Spiderman' climbs tallest tower

Saturday, December 25, 2004 Posted: 11:41 AM EST (1641 GMT)

Robert braved wet, windy weather to tackle Taipei 101.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- A French urban climber who calls himself Spiderman climbed to the top of the world's tallest building on Saturday -- Taipei 101.

Alain Robert, 42, took almost four hours to reach the top of the 1,679-foot building. The climb took him nearly twice as long as he had expected, partly because of dreary weather.

Although he's climbed many of the world's tallest structures without the use of a rope, he climbed with one on Saturday, likely because of the wind and rain. He paused to rest every eighth floor and even chatted with the president of Taipei 101 before tackling the final stretch. As dark clouds drifted around the top, Robert climbed onto the roof with a tired smile. "It was very wet ... and there was a strong wind," he said.

Robert has also scaled the Eiffel Tower and more than 30 skyscrapers around the world, including New York's Empire State Building in 1994 and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1997.

The Christmas Day climb opened a week of media events leading up to the official inauguration of Taipei 101 on New Year's Eve. The building houses office space and an observatory. A shopping mall at the base of the tower opened last year. The 101-story skyscraper is 184 feet taller than the previous record-holder, the Petronas Towers. Taipei 101 also claims to have the highest structural top, the tallest roof and the highest occupied floor. It also has two of the world's fastest elevators, which travel 55 feet per second and can go from the ground floor to the 89th in 39 seconds.