Dubbed by the gasping public “Russian daredevils”, these men take on the highest buildings across the world. They climb them, record it and they post it on YouTube. With no safety net and a very illegal status, they have been called brave, fearless, adrenaline-addicted and occasionally stupid.
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While the young gravity defiers enjoy traveling the world, quite a few of the stunts were performed in China. Probably, because of the large number of towering skyscrapers and looser security around them.
Take a look at this video recorded in the southern city of Shenzhen.
Or this one, on top of one of the tallest skyscrapers in Hong Kong.
They call themselves “roofers” or “urban climbers”. And instead of conquering the peaks of Kilimanjaro or Everest, these adventure-seekers scale buildings, cranes, bridges and landmarks for breathtaking views of the city. Among their most notable conquests are Moscow’s Seven Sisters, a set of Stalin-era skyscrapers, the Shanghai Tower, Cologne’s Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame — all without the aid of ropes or harnesses.
Photos of their stunts are all over social media and some of the urban climbers have even reached local celebrity status. Frequently claiming headlines across the world, the daredevils are always posed with the same question: why?
And while each and every answer is unique, most speak of a special relationship with the city. These are just a few answers given by Russia’s famed roofers in an interview with The Guardian.
I feel as if I’m reclaiming the city. When you break laws and you take the city back, you feel like Napoleon.
“It’s the greatest chance to find yourself and to forget all your problems, a great possibility to see your city from a bird’s eye view, to chill, to relax and take some great photos.”
“When I climb, I talk to the city, I hear it. It’s a way of finding some space in a 24-hour megapolis.”