He calls himself the French Spider-Man, and he’s climbed some of the world’s tallest buildings.
But Alain Robert won’t be going anywhere near London’s Shard after its owners were granted a high court injunction after health and safety fears.
In a two-decade career, Mr Robert has scaled the Eiffel Tower and New York’s Empire State Building.
Last year, he completed a six-hour ascent up the 2,717ft Buj Khalifa in Dubai – the world’s tallest man-made structure. Unusually, he deigned to perform the feat with the aid of a rope and harness.
Mr Robert visited the Shard earlier this month to assess its potential for a future ascent. He was recognised by security personnel, whom he claims he informed that he would not be climbing the building at that time. “I was wearing cowboy boots and a leather jacket, so there was no such plan,” he said.
London Bridge Quarter, The Shard’s owners and developers, won an injunction against Mr Robert this week.
The company released a statement saying: “The injunction prohibits Mr Robert from entering The Shard site or attempting to climb the building.
“Mr Robert has been witnessed in the vicinity of The Shard and as LBQ Ltd takes its responsibility to health and safety extremely seriously we have sought to prevent Mr Robert from attempting to climb The Shard – in the interest of his own safety and that of the general public.”
Mr Robert said he had been in discussing with the building’s managers about an official climb, but a company spokeswoman said: “As far as I’m aware, there have been no discussions at all.”
The climber said “it would be nice” to climb the second tallest building in Europe behind Moscow’s Mercury City Tower. But its 1,016ft height would make it a “quite easy” task, he said, adding: “I wouldn’t say it would be challenging.”
He seemed unfazed by the ruling, having spent the past week in Qatar and Belgium, and planning upcoming climbs in Cuba and Warsaw. He said any attempts to portray him as a “naughty boy” were “very imaginative”.
“I’m sure it’s very expensive,” he said of the injunction, “and they’re doing it for nothing. Why should I be upset about it? I’m not climbing the building.”
Leo Houlding, a respected British rock climber, said: “I don’t agree with the injunction. He’s got a good track record. Everything is so risk averse in the UK that it’s hardly surprising.
“It’s illegal to climb buildings, but that hasn’t really stopped Alain in the past.” He spoke of his admiration for the Frenchman, saying: “Climbing without ropes is extremely dangerous, but what he does it amazing and he’s definitely quite a performer. He enjoys the attention that he gets.”
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