Where Eagles Dare: A Vertigo-Inducing List of the Craziest Urban Free Climbs Ever
With news of Alain Robert's third Ariane Tower climb breaking this week, we decided there was no better time to face our fears and assemble the 5 craziest urban free climbs of all time in one head-spinning, stomach-turning countdown. From the second tallest tower in the world to the apex of the Wembley Arch, there is plenty of no-margin-for-error insanity on display here, so put on those climbing shoes and join us as we head for the clouds.
Speaking of Alain Robert, he kicks everything off with this insane climb of Dubai's corkscrewing Cayan Tower. This casual footage, where he's dressed more like Rod Stewart than one of the most legendary climbers on earth, is in fact from his rehearsal climb, but rest assured, later that day he conquered the whole thing in the dark with thousands of people looking on.
The first of two climbs from Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov to make this list, this 2,132-foot climb up what was then the world's second tallest tower was bested only by....
...their next stunt, which took them to the peak of the new second-tallest tower in the world in Shenzhen. If you think these guys are just resting on their laurels, just look down.
In the world death-defying urban free climbing, just leave it the Russians, including these teens (including the aforementioned Vitaly Raskalov) who scaled the Russky Bridge in Vladivostok as if they were just hanging out at the skatepark after school. The second tallest bridge on earth, following the Millau Viaduct, this feat deserves a lot of credit, even if these guys still haven't learned to cover their faces while filming highly illegal activities in the heart of a what is, essentially, a police state.
James Kingston is one of the biggest names in urban free climbing and, with stunts like this, it's not hard to see why. Kingston has certainly had sketchier climbs, but on a scale of pure cinematic craziness, this video of him doing his best Rocky impression at the peak of the Wembley Arch in London is far and away the best.