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Fearless French 'Spiderman' scales rusty Havana tower block

Report & Video by Matt Blake

The French "Spiderman", who scales buildings all over the world without safety equipment, was at it again in Havana on Saturday, practising for his big climb next week.

Alain Robert is expected to climb the 126-metre Havana Libre hotel on Monday. He worked on his moves on Saturday, with curious passers-by looking on.

"He is a brave man. He is in the right condition physically for the job. It's his job. He does it well," said Havana resident, Jose Ramon, as he watched Robert practise.

The hotel once served as the offices for Fidel Castro shortly after entered Havana in 1959 and the 50-year-old Robert said he appreciates the history.

"The thing is, what is interesting about this building, when Fidel Castro succeeded in the revolution, I know that his HQ was inside this building. And that's the reason why the name of the building is Havana Libre," he said.

At 27 stories, the hotel is much smaller than many of the other buildings Robert has climbed, which include Chicago's Willis Tower and New York's Empire State Building. But the hotel's condition will pose a different challenge, he said.

"It's rusty. I guess it comes because of the sea, because of the wind, because of the rain, because of the corrosion. And also because the building is more than 50 years old. So it's quite an old building," he said.

Robert first climbed a building at the age of 12 when he got locked out of his apartment and decided to mount the eight stories up to an open window.

He has since climbed more than 80 buildings around the world.


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