French `Spiderman' sets his sights on climbing Taipei 101


Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 2

Frenchman Alain "Spiderman" Robert will climb the world's tallest building, the 508m-high Taipei 101, tomorrow as a warm-up for the skyscraper's official opening on Dec. 31, the building's management said yesterday.

"Alain Robert expressed the wish to climb Taipei 101 a year ago. We recently issued the invitation to him," building management said in a news release. The building was crowned the world's tallest in October by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the official international record-keeper of building statistics.

In addition to being the world's tallest building, Taipei 101 also holds the record for the highest occupied floor (at 438m) and the highest roof (448m) -- taking three of the council's four official height categories.

"This will be another challenge for him after he has climbed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sears Tower in Chicago, the Opera House in Sydney and Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur," the news release said.

Robert, 42, will climb Taipei 101 up to its spire, equipped only with a safety belt of the type used by high-rise window washers.

Taipei 101 will appoint nine video cameramen and one photographer to record the feat, and transmit the footage simultaneously to local and overseas TV stations via satellite. The event will be cancelled if the wind is too strong or in case of heavy rain.

Taipei 101's formal name is the Taipei Financial Center. It is called Taipei 101 because it has 101 floors above the ground. Two of its elevators were last week certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest in the world.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will officially open the skyscraper on the evening of Dec. 31, followed by a party, a fireworks display and countdown for the new year organized by the Taipei city government.