Walk up the Wild Side
Most kids who get locked out of the house wait around for Mom and Dad to get home. Ten-year-old Alain Robert scaled his family's seven-story apartment building near Paris and climbed in a window. Twenty-five years later the 5'4", 105-pound urban mountaineer known as Spiderman has climbed buildings including the Framatome Tower in Paris (left), the Empire State Building, the 1,482-foot Petronas Towers in Malaysia and, on Aug. 20, Chicago's 1,454-foot Sears Tower—all without a rope or any other tools. Robert, who has been jailed on four continents for his illegal summitry, spent his teen years honing his skills on the cliffs in the south of France and now trains in a decidedly low-tech manner: climbing the walls in his attic. The only climbing aids he uses are rubber-soled shoes and talcum powder for his hands. Dangerous? Sure, but as Robert sees it, "You are born to die one day.... I prefer to die in action."