Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Armed only with a pair of rubber-soled shoes and a small bag of chalk, Alain Robert has climbed his way into the record books with his death-defying ascents of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. [cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/01/robert.art.jpg caption =" Alain Robert climbs the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority building in Abu Dhabi in 2007."]
The 47-year-old Frenchman has successfully scaled over 100 skyscrapers including Chicago’s Sears Tower, Taiwan’s Taipei 101 and Malaysia’s Petronas Towers.
His most recent ascent was in October 2009 when he clambered to the top of the Ariane building in the La Defense district of Paris.
It may come as a surprise to learn that Robert was terrified of heights when he was a boy and took up climbing when he was eight years old to improve his self-confidence.
It was during his teens that Robert started to forgo ropes and harnesses in favour of the free solo climbing for which he has become famous. And despite a serious fall in 1982 – where he suffered multiple fractures and was in a coma for five days – he remained undeterred.
First it was craggy rock faces, but eventually he turned his attentions to tackling the shiny vertiginous facades of the urban landscape.
Robert draws thousands of spectators wherever he climbs. But while his ascents have earned him the nickname the “French Spiderman,” they’ve also attracted the attentions of countless police forces with officers on hand to arrest him for trespassing once he has reached the summit.
Free solo climbing remains Robert’s passion and the father of three children – who he always calls immediately after a climb – has his sights set on the world’s newest and tallest skyscraper, the Burj Dubai.
Alain Robert is our first Connector of the Day in 2010. If you have a question for him, post it below and we will put a selection of the best to him on Monday’s program.