Born in 1962, Alain Robert is the world’s most accomplished urban climber. He
has scaled more than 140 buildings around the globe including the Eiffel Tower –
314m (1,027 ft), the Sydney Tower – 319m (1,047 ft), the Petronas Twin Towers
– 452m (1,488 ft) Sears Tower Chicago – 443m (1,453 ft) and Taipei 101 – 508 m
(1,667 ft) and the Burj Khalifa – 829.8m (2716 ft)
Robert began climbing as a young boy, scaling rock cliffs in the area around his
home. His ‘buildering’ career began at the age of 12 when he forgot his keys and
was locked out of his parents’ eighth-floor apartment. Instead of waiting for
them to return home, he simply scaled the exterior wall….
"He is an accomplished rock climber. In 1993 he achieved a world record for the
most extreme solo performance in the Gorge du Verdon in the south of France.
In 1982 he suffered two accidents, the first in January at the age of 19 and the
second in September at the age of 20. He fell 15 m (49 ft) on both occasions. He
suffered multiple fractures (to his cranium, nose, wrists, elbows, pelvis, and
heels). He now suffers from permanent vertigo.
The doctors considered him 60 percent handicapped and told him he would not
be able to climb again. However, within 6 months he was back doing what he
loves most – climbing.
He kept taking on more and more challenging structures and improving his
skills. He polished his rock-climbing skills in the French Alps before turning to
In an interview in 2005 he admitted that he had fallen 7 times although the
worst fall was the one in 1982. In 2004, he fell 2 metres (6 ft 6.7 in) when
climbing a traffic light whilst posing for a photo in an interview. He landed on his
elbow and needed forty stitches, but a month later he climbed the world’s tallest
skyscraper at the time, Taipei 101, as part of its official opening week.
It was in 1994 that he began free solo climbing the world’s tallest urban
structures that would earn him the nickname “The French Spiderman”.
In 2008 he successfully scaled Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel, a 45-story
building and his third known urban climb in that city. Robert used the climb to promote greater awareness and international action for
the cause of global warming.
Authorities briefly detained him after the climb before being released. He has, in
fact, been arrested and fined more than 100 times for illegally climbing the
world’s tallest urban structures during the last two decades. These arrests and
trials have been little more than formalities, although in 2007, in China, he was
jailed and then deported after climbing the 88 story-skyscraper, the Jin Mao
Tower – 420 m (1,378 ft).
“We set ourselves limits, but we are all strong enough to aim higher, to
achieve our goals. All we have to do is find such strength within ourselves.
Know how to develop it,” he says.
Alain now inspires and motivates people around the world with his amazing
When Speaking Minds was founded in 2007 in New Zealand, little did we envisage that this would grow into an international brand with offices in India and London in less than a decade. We set up the business to share what we had learnt, from the privileges we have had in our jobs – of access to knowledge.
Bringing India to the rest of the world was our driving force.
The dna of our business is genuinely about sharing knowledge with the
world, from thought leaders and experts who are notable achievers in
their field. Raga D'silva quit her highly successful corporate career in
New Zealand in 2007, to set up a dream business of connecting
knowledge, insights, motivation from exceptional talent with the
corporate world, globally.