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Real-Life 'Spiderman' Climbs Cuba's Hotel Habana Libre Today

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Calle M, Havana, Cuba
February 4, 2013 at 9:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

See this scraggly, 50 year old French guy? His real name is Alain Roberts--but everybody knows him as 'Spiderman'. After this recorded practice scale at Cuba's Hotel Habana Libre, he's climbing the hotel for real today. With just his bare hands. And maybe some chalk.

This is the same guy who was banned from climbing The Shard in London, by a legal injunction, because the powers that be were so nervous. But, Roberts just shrugged his shoulders and set his sights elsewhere.

The solo stuntman is famous for scaling the planet's tallest and most iconic buildings "freehand" -- including the Empire State, Eiffel Tower and Taiwan's Taipei 101. (Okay, so in 2011, he used a rope and safety harness while tacking Dubai's Burj Khalifa, currently the world's tallest building at 2,717 feet. Whatever. We'd still turn to jello and piss ourselves two seconds in!).

Robert usually climbs high (yes, pun intended) profile buildings to raise awareness for his pet cause, global warming. But we're still surprised that only a measly few of his 80+ publicized climbs have been hotels: Beirut's InterContinental Phoenicia, Romania's InterContinental Bucharest, the Four Seasons Hong Kong. You'd think the big hotel brands would be all about the extra press. But maybe it's the liability if his spidey sense were to, uh, fall (oops, we meant fail) that ultimately puts the PR dept. off...

Anyway, we're pretty intrigued by his current challenge tackling the "Hotel Free Havana." When Hilton built the property in 1958, it was Latin America's largest and tallest hotel. Rising only 27 stories (413 feet), it isn't that high now -- but this time, for Robert, that's not the point. Our guy seems to have a certain fondness(?) for Fidel Castro, who, during the Cuban Revolution just one year later, marched on the capital, seized the former Hilton and transformed it into his own personal headquarters.

According to Roberts (as told by the AP), "This hotel has great meaning for me. It's impressive not for its height, which is not great, but because it symbolizes the Cuban Revolution." Also, "It's a different type of building with a unique structure, a little deteriorated. That's the [real] challenge for me, because it's not very tall." (Yikes. Judging from the photo, we just hope he's had his tetanus shot).

It goes without saying to all you wannabes out there: don't try this at your hotel! (Especially now that we're allowed back into Cuba).

P.S. Check out Alain's official website -- it's pretty cool.

[Video/YouTube: Photo: Associated Press]

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