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Crowds watch from the ground as French daredevil Alain Robert scales the Habana Libre hotel Monday without ropes or a safety net. Robert reached the top of the 27-story building in 30 minutes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ramon Espinosa / Pool

Alain Robert dangles from the side of the Habana Libre hotel as spectators take photos from balconies above. Robert has climbed more than 100 of the world's tallest buildings, including what is currently the world’s tallest building -- the 2,717 foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai -- as well as the Empire State Building and Golden Gate Bridge.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: STR / AFP

French daredevil Alain Robert looks down as he nears the top of the Habana Libre hotel. Robert said his main concern before the climb was that the building’s brittle facade might break off.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ramon Espinosa / Pool

Tourist and locals watch and cheer as French daredevil Alain Robert scales the Habana Libre hotel without using ropes or a safety net.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Franklin Reyes / Associated Press

Alain Robert clings to a railing on the 20th floor as he pauses to wave to tourists and onlookers below during his ascent to the top of the Habana Libre hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Franklin Reyes / Associated Press

Alain Robert grabs some powdered chalk from a bag on his waist as he scales the Habana Libre hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ramon Espinosa / Pool

Alain Robert balances on a balcony railing while pausing to wave to onlookers below during his ascent to the top of the Habana Libre hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Franklin Reyes / Associated Press

Alain Robert waves a Cuban flag on the rooftop of the Habana Libre hotel after scaling the 27-story building in 30 minutes without using ropes or a safety net.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ramon Espinosa / Pool

Free climber Alain Robert, known as "Spider-Man," speaks to reporters in front of the Habana Libre hotel on Monday before scaling the Cuban landmark.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: AFP

Alain Robert looks over the edge of the roof of the Habana Libre hotel on Friday in preparation for Monday's climb.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press

Alain Robert practices climbing a section of the Habana Libre hotel on Friday in a rehearsal for his ascent of the 27-floor building on Monday..

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press

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French daredevil climbs landmark Havana hotel without a net

By Anne-Marie Garcia, Associated Press

HAVANA — A French daredevil who has scaled some of the world’s tallest buildings conquered Cuba’s famous Habana Libre hotel on Monday without ropes or a safety net — climbing to the top in about half an hour as hundreds of awed onlookers gasped and cheered from the streets below.

Alain Robert clambered onto the roof of the 27-story hotel just after 1:30 p.m. after a death-defying stunt that followed years of other hair-raising feats.

The climber had said his main concern was not the height of the 413-foot-tall hotel, but that a bit of the building’s brittle facade might break off. Like many city landmarks, the hotel is in disrepair after more than half a century of Communist rule on the island.

In the end, the 50-year-old Frenchman made short work of the building, climbing confidently and so quickly that he could have almost beaten a slow-moving elevator to the top.

Before he began, Robert acknowledged in an interview that he felt nervous.

“It’s always a little hard beforehand,” he said in French. “But afterward I feel great. I feel reborn. I feel free.”

A huge cheer went up as Robert started climbing under a bright blue sky. Tourists stared up from the hotel pool, and office workers shouted encouragement from nearby balconies.

Robert, known as “Spider-Man,” has scaled much taller structures in his career, including the former Sears Tower in Chicago, New York’s Empire State Building and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Two years ago he took six hours to summit what currently is the world’s tallest building, the 2,717 foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai, though for that ascent he used some safety equipment.

Robert arrived in Havana last week, and has been waiting to get authorities’ permission to begin the stunt.

Cuba agreed to let him go ahead, and dozens of police were on hand Monday to keep order. In other countries, Robert has often pulled off his stunts without seeking permission, and has sometimes been arrested.

Just before the climb, Robert scoped out the building, which once was the Havana Hilton.

Though a fall would almost certainly kill him, the Frenchman said he was not intimidated.

The hotel is one of the Cuban capital’s most iconic buildings, taken over after the 1959 Cuban Revolution and redubbed the Habana Libre, or Free Havana. Fidel Castro briefly set up his personal offices in the hotel after his triumphant march into the capital.

Associated Press writer Paul Haven contributed to this report.

4 Comments

  1. July 18, 2013, 12:49 am

    It is a wonderful article which will be very useful to me as well. I will come to you to know the handy discussion which will be very useful to me as well. I will come to you to know that land mark haven without a net. Thanks!!

  2. July 23, 2013, 5:48 am

    What if he falls down?? brrrrrr…..

  3. September 17, 2013, 7:43 am

    It's creepy when I saw a photo of the person who was on the stairs

  4. February 15, 2014, 11:27 am

    I think he needs to do it on Burj Khalifa and get some more popularity than Tom Cruise😉
    delighteveryday.com

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