Extreme urban climber Alain Robert is in Hong Kong this week to give a talk at the Royal Geographical Society (6:30pm, Tuesday Jan 25th, details at the link). This reminds me to post an excerpt from his hair-raising autobiography With Bare Hands.

Alain has made a career out of thumbing his nose at the authorities and doing what people tell him is either illegal or impossible or both. In this excerpt from Chapter 10, we find him preparing to climb the world’s tallest building, unaware of the deadly surprise that awaits him at the top…

In the clouds: Alain's elevated position is marked with a red circle

Fears and the Sears

The second ascent I made in Chicago was very special, one that still gives me goose-bumps when I look back on it. Before the Petronas Towers claimed the title, the Sears Tower in Chicago had stood as the world’s tallest building since 1973. And what an incredible tower it is! Not just for its height and pure presence, but for its unique design. The Sears Tower is square at its base but as it climbs it tapers inwards with several receding tiers to leave the segmented core standing proudly clear of the impressively aerial city of Chicago. Cloaked in villainous black, there is more than a hint of D