Spiderman’ climbs Cuba school with no safety

Frenchman has climbed Burj Khalifa earlier

The French "Spider-Man" continues to dazzle Havana with his unassisted, death-defying climbs.

Alain Robert already climbed the 413-foot (216-meter) Habana Libre hotel Monday.

On Tuesday it was an elementary school in colonial Old Havana that made up in difficulty what it lacked in height.

The 50-year-old Robert took 15 minutes to ascend the three stories of the graceful stone building, which offered little in the way of hand- and footholds. Tourists and schoolchildren gasped and shouted words of encouragement.

Several youngsters then tried to imitate the French daredevil, but were unable to climb more than a few feet before losing their grip.

Robert has scaled the planet's loftiest skyscrapers from the Empire State Building to Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest.

Earlier story:

Daredevil scales 27-floor Cuba hotel without net

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-storey hotel just after 1:30 pm 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 (126-metre) hotel, but that a bit of the building's brittle facade might break off. Like many city landmarks, the hotel is in disrepair.

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

Before he began, Robert acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that he felt nervous.

"It's always a little hard beforehand," he said in French. "But afterwards 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-tall (828 meter) 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 on 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.
 

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