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French 'Spiderman' climbs Cuban hotel

Feb. 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

HAVANA, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A French climber nicknamed "Spiderman" for his tendency to scale buildings without safety equipment took less than a half hour to scale a 415-foot Cuban hotel.

Alain Robert, 50, climbed the 27-story Hotel Havana Libre in the Cuban capital Monday without any climbing equipment except for a small bag of chalk for his hands, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

The hotel, which was originally known as the Havana Hilton, was Cuban leader Fidel Castro's residence following the 1959 revolution.

The stunt, before a crowd of about 2,000 onlookers, was sanctioned by Cuban authorities, one of the few times in Robert's 19-year career that he did not risk legal consequences from his dangerous pursuits. Robert raised a Cuban flag over his head when he arrived at the top of the building, causing the crowd to cheer.

Robert's previous climbs include the Empire State Building in New York and Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers, which stands at 1,483 feet and was formerly known as the world's tallest building. He was briefly detained by Malaysian authorities after the stunt and fined.

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