SAN FRANCISCO -- A stunt man clad in a snow-white tuxedo and wired for sound Monday began climbing the 49-story, chalky TransAmerica Pyramid in the heart of San Francisco.
'This week marks the 10th anniversary of this beautiful San Francisco landmark, the tallest building in the city,' Ron Broyles, a veteran of three building climbs, said by radio-telephone while clinging to the outside wall of the 11th floor.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound LaFollete, Tenn., native began the ascent at 5:03 a.m. He expected to reach the 814-foot summit by noon Tuesday.
He eluded building security people who tried to talk him out of the climb at the seventh floor.
'Now I'm past where the fire ladders can reach me,' he said at the 11th floor.
Broyles, 29, said he will spend the night at the base of the 4-foot square Pyramid needle -- 600 feet up -- in a specially designed hammock.
Broyles -- inspired by America's first 'urban mountaineer,' George Willig, who scaled the New York World Trade Center in 1977 -- said he chose the Pyramid for his climb because of sentimental reasons.
'While I was in the Navy, I was stationed at Treasure Island (in San Francisco Bay) and watched the Pyramid completion,' he said. 'Since this marks the 10th anniversary of the completion, I wanted to help celebrate the birthday.'
The Pyramid also presented a special challenge, he said, 'because it's one of a few buildings in the world where you have to climb the needle from the outside to get to the very top.'
Broyles, equipped with special climbing shoes and gear he personally designed for the climb, said his first love is 'being an urban mountaineer.'
His other conquests include the Aug. 12, 1981, ascent of the Knoxville United American Bank, that city's tallest building; the Nov. 7, 1981, climb of the Atlanta Peach Tree Plaza, the world's tallest hotel building; and the June 14 scaling of the Los Angeles First Interstate Bank, the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
Broyles works as a stunt man in Los Angeles, and has another home in Marin County, north of San Francisco.