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French 'Spiderman' returns to scale Chinese mountain
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A French daredevil will free-climb a central China mountain on Sunday as part of his latest stunt after illegally scaling a Shanghai skyscraper earlier this year.



French "Spiderman" Alain Robert climbs a Changsha skyscraper in capital of Hunan Province, on Wednesday, November 14, 2007.


"Spiderman" Alain Robert arrived in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, on Wednesday. He is set to make a bare handed ascent of a massive cave on the 1,518-meter-high Tianmen Mountain in the scenic area of Zhangjiajie, said Zhang Biao, an official with a local sports association that set up the promotion.


Invited by the scenic spot's management company, Robert will first be transported to about 1,300 meters via cable car at noon and then attempt to scale the left side of the steep 300-meter-high cave.


The 45-year-old said he was confident he could reach the top without the aid of any mountaineering gear because the task was similar to another feat he performed in the province five years ago.


In May, he was detained briefly after climbing Shanghai's tallest building, the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower, without notifying the local authorities. Wearing a Spiderman suit, he attracted thousands of spectators and caused a traffic jam as he climbed up and down the skyscraper in 90 minutes.


As punishment for his actions, the government banned him from the country for five years. However, the management company in charge of the cave event managed to persuade authorities to change their ruling, as his upcoming stunt is designed to help boost the profile of the region and bring in tourists.


Robert is well-known for his exploits. In 1996, he climbed the Far East Finance Center in Hong Kong. According to media reports, it took him only 25 minutes to scale the tower's 48 stories. In 1998, he annoyed Japanese police by climbing the Sinjuku Center Building in Tokyo. The following year, he climbed the 443-meter high Sears Tower in Chicago.


It is said that he has been arrested and fined more than 100 times for climbing buildings around the world.


(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2007)

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