Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Climbing Stunt Has Storied History

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Climbing Stunt Has Storied History

Article excerpt

The unnamed 19-year-old Virginia man who suction cupped his way up 21 floors of the Trump Tower in New York City Wednesday afternoon wanted to meet the Republican presidential nominee - pretty desperately, it seems. "Believe me, if my purpose was not significant I would not be risking my life to pursue it, a man claiming to be the climber said in a Youtube video posted Tuesday. "If I had sought this via conventional means, I would be much less likely to have success because you are a busy man with many responsibilities.

But in the world of death-defying suction cup skyscraper ascents, the man appears to be a novice. The professionals have been doing it for years for a wide variety of reasons.

For years, novices and professionals alike have taken up "buildering" - a combination of the words "building and "bouldering," a form of rock climbing that is done without ropes or harnesses (or suction cups) that is usually executed at relatively low heights. Forgoing the gyms and cliffs of traditional climbing, builderers scale urban structures often without equipment.

There are competitions and other organized events, but most do it independently in their own communities as a hobby.

Then there are the pros, who sometimes take advantage of the added security suction cups offer when they're hundreds of feet above the ground.

In May, professional climber Sierra Blair-Coyle climbed a 459- foot South Korean skyscraper using suction cups attached to two cordless vacuum cleaners (and some safety lines).

Why? For the vacuum company's ad, of course. To prove the vacuum could tackle any household dust they decided to prove it could also haul a 140-pound woman up a building.

In 2014, professional French climber Alain Robert suction cupped up a 33-story Chinese hotel to promote the release of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie.

That was a pretty tame stunt for Robert. Generally, he doesn't bother with suction cups. Or ropes. Or official permission.

Just some hand chalk. …

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