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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 December 2004, 08:17 GMT
'Spiderman' scales tallest tower
Alain Robert climbing Taipei 101
In the past Mr Robert has been arrested for illegally climbing towers
A French climber who calls himself "Spiderman" has edged his way to the top of the world's new tallest building, Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

Heavy rain meant Alain Robert took four hours to climb the 508m (1,667-foot) tower, almost double his estimate.

Mr Robert, 42, has previously scaled the Eiffel Tower and around 30 of the world's tallest buildings.

Taipei 101, due to open on New Year's Eve, is 56m taller than Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Tower, the previous highest.

Light rain and strong winds hampered Mr Robert's ascent, which was part of a series of events to mark the opening of the tower.

Using a safety belt secured to a rope, he hauled himself up the tower - named because it is 101 storeys high - 10 floors at a time, resting between each ascent.

Eight floors from the top Mr Robert stopped and chatted with the president of the tower.


After beginning his ascent at 1000 local time (0200 GMT), he reached the top at around 1400 (0600 GMT).

Mr Robert climbed onto the top, which was partly shrouded in cloud and lashed by wind and rain, and waved to supporters and crowds at the bottom of the tower.

Mr Robert's previous conquests include a host of the world's most famous buildings.

He climbed New York's Empire State Building in 1994 and the Petronas Towers in 1997.

He has also scaled the Sydney Opera House, Chicago's Sears Tower, the Montparnasse Tower in Paris and a host of others.

While many of his climbs are officially sanctioned, he has faced arrest in the past for climbing without permission, including an anti-war protest at the top of the Eiffel Tower in 2003.

Taipei 101, which will open to the public and business early in 2005, has been built at a cost of $1.8 billion (1bn).

As well as claiming the world record for tallest building, it also has two of the world's fastest elevators.

They travel 1,010m per minute and can go from the ground floor to the 89th floor in 39 seconds.

Watch 'Spiderman' climb the world's tallest tower

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