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Cover photo: Emmanuel Aguirre
Click for larger image

ISBN: 978-988-99799-2-8
Paperback, 308 pages
incl. 28-page photo section
Size: 140 x 216 mm
April 2008 (Asia)
June 2010 (North America)

Price: HK$140 / US$17.95


Buy With Bare Hands from these alternative vendors:

Bookazine (Hong Kong)

Kinokuniya (Singapore)

Blue Fountain (China)

Amazon Japan

The Standard

South China Morning Post cartoons by Harry Harrison (click for larger view)

With Bare Hands: The true story of Alain Robert, the real-life Spiderman
by Alain Robert

Overcoming vertigo — and countless injuries which have left him officially disabled — the 'Human Spider' has scaled nearly 100 skyscrapers worldwide: from the Petronas Towers in Malaysia to Taipei 101, from Chicago's Sears Tower to the Golden Gate Bridge. Reward and punishment have been received in equal measure — the flamboyant Frenchman has gained international fame and raised thousands of dollars for charity, but has also been arrested, beaten and prosecuted. 

Many people ask whether it is madness to undertake such perilous ascents without the use of safety equipment. But in Alain's view, it is madness not to follow your dreams! This is the inspiring story of a man who has conquered fear and exceeded his own limits: the world's greatest urban climber.

"For Robert, tall buildings are his mountains. He eulogises the views from their summits and (police permitting) revels in the freedom." — The Guardian

NEW! Look inside this book
Click on the links below to view sample pages from With Bare Hands. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.  Prologue  The Hatchling

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"The Big Question: Why does Alain Robert climb the world's tallest buildings, and how does he do it?" The Independent

"It is the morning of the G20 summit, and as a Who’s Who of world leaders gather in London to discuss the precarious future of the global economy, a figure is clinging by sweaty fingertips to a ledge more than 100ft above the streets below. As the City buzzes with thousands of protesters and police, this man has evaded the security around the Lloyd’s Building — in the heart of the Square Mile — and is now shimmying up its distinctive metallic exoskeleton without so much as a safety harness or rope.
... Of course there have been many close calls over the years, but none more so than the Sears Tower in Chicago, which he climbed in 1999. In his autobiography — With Bare Hands — which was published in English last year, Robert likens the building to the alien monolith in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey; and for him, like the characters of the film, it was an object of fear and fascination. At the time, it was the tallest building in the world. Only some 20 storeys from the roof, Robert slipped. “I was on the last part of the building,” he recalls, “and I lost my footing. The glass surface was wet — the result of condensation caused by the air-conditioning system. It took me by real surprise, and I almost fell. What was worse was that I was far too high to climb down. I was stuck. Every footstep from there I was fighting for my life and I only just made it up.”"
The Sunday Times

"In 1994, having reached the height of his sport, Robert seized on the opportunity to do something different. He flew to Chicago with a climbing film maker who wanted to swap cliffs for skyscrapers. "It would have made more sense to cycle up Mount Everest," Robert writes in his autobiography, With Bare Hands. "In the shadow of Chicago's cityscape, it occurred to me that I had probably agreed to one of the most stupid proposals that had ever been made." Nerves soon vanished as Robert inched his way up the 42-storey Citigroup Centre, using ledges, window frames and sheer strength to scale the unforgiving structure. He wrote: "The city of Chicago had just opened a door to a whole new universe, a range of mountains of steel and glass."" The Independent

"With bare hands, and for good causes... there is another side to the French Spider-man." Sufian Suderman, Today Singapore

"Daredevil of the Year: The Man Who Can Climb Anything. Alain Robert, who sometimes goes by Spider-Man, has for fifteen years been known as a vigilante scaler of skyscrapers. And one morning this June, he grabbed an overhang, pulled himself up from the ground, and without aid of ropes or equipment, began climbing the fifty-two-story New York Times Building. Here he tells GQ how he once again turned the world into his gobsmacked audience." Devin Friedman, GQ Magazine

"Alain Robert, a French stuntman known for climbing tall buildings, scaled the north face of the New York Times building on Thursday, ascending 52 stories to the roof and clutching a bright green banner, before police officers arrested him around 12:22 p.m. ... Police officers blocked off the sidewalk at the base of the building and asked members of the crowd to move along. Construction workers on a building directly across West 41st Street, facing the northern face of the building, looked on with expressions of astonishment and amusement. A crowd gathered on the sidewalk, pointing, gawking and capturing pictures and images with cellphones, digital cameras and video cameras. “This is a publicity stunt, it looks like,” Janet L. Robinson, the chief executive of The New York Times Company, said as she entered the building. “There is definitely going to be an arrest.”" The New York Times City Room Blog

"Bounding up the world's tallest buildings, championing noble causes and fighting apathy wherever it is found, Alain Robert, aka Spiderman, is the postmodern superhero." Action Asia

"Told in his own words, the story of Alain Robert's lifelong urge to do nothing but climb is an absorbing and very charming one. This is the type of hair-raising book you tend to grip tightly at the edges while reading, in much the same way Robert describes his hold on some of the world's tallest buildings while scaling them. You know it makes no sense, yet you admire the drive and resolve that the man possesses. The mystery behind his obsession, though, remains ultimately unsolved for the reader, but that's possibly the beauty of the book, since there is no comprehending the feats of human endurance that this man undertakes. He is a man who will never refuse a challenge and as a consequence is never satisfied." Evening Herald

"As with the best horror stories, it is also all too easy to turn one's eyes away from the page for fear of what will happen next... The climbs usually end with arrest, sometimes jailing, and even a police beating. But the reader greets these denouements with a sigh of relief – the accounts of grasping narrow ledges 100 floors up as mist starts to make the building slippery are little short of petrifying, as are the photos." Hemlock's Diary

"Alain Robert rises toward the clouds in nearly every city he visits. As one of the world’s most amazing people, his autobiography, With Bare Hands, should be fascinating, and it is – in spades. Prepare to clutch at the pages, holding on, hardly daring to breathe, as Robert tells of clinging to giant buildings. Reading With Bare Hands may induce serious vertigo. Pulses will quicken. Hearts will thump." Cairns Media Magazine

"A climber known as 'Spiderman' has climbed a 45-storey hotel in Hong Kong, using just his bare hands." watch the 90-second BBC News video clip!

Heightened Awareness: Office workers look out in amazement as daredevil skyscraper climber Alain Robert, dubbed the 'French Spiderman', scales the 60-storey Four Seasons Hotel in Central yesterday see the South China Morning Post story and photos, and Harry's cartoons on the left

Alain Robert was interviewed by Michael Chugani on ATV World's Newsline on 20th April. You can watch online here.

"French Spiderman Alain Robert, who has become famous for illegally climbing buildings across the world, scaled a top Hong Kong hotel on Tuesday, eyewitnesses said. The 45-year-old urban climber scrambled up the outside of the 45-storey Four Seasons Hotel before being detained when he reached the roof, said one worker in a skyscraper close by who saw him reach the top. The feat drew onlookers from nearby office buildings, including the neighbouring Two International Finance Centre, Hong Kong's tallest building, which Robert had been expected to climb once he announced his visit. Robert was in Hong Kong to publicise his book With Bare Hands, which looks at some of his climbing successes, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Sydney Opera House and many of the world's tallest skyscrapers." AFP

"Alain Robert scaled a 45-storey luxury hotel in Hong Kong on Tuesday to raise awareness of global warming, his third known ascent in the skyscraper-packed metropolis. Robert, 45, dressed in a white shirt, scaled Hong Kong's Four Seasons Hotel with his bare hands and without any safety harness, after evading the city's police who had been tipped off about a possible ascent at an undisclosed site.
Large crowds craned their necks skyward, gasping when the shaggy haired climber slipped at one point before regaining his balance. "He's totally crazy, it's really dangerous," said Jakob Mense, one of those who witnessed the climb. "If the weather's like this it's OK. If it's windy or it's raining it's incredibly difficult and it might kill him," said John Chan, who collaborated on the French climber's recently published biography With Bare Hands."

"Robert is either a story of inspiration and a man living his dreams or a complete nut job, depending on your perception. Local publisher Pete Spurrier, who is publishing Robert's autobiography With Bare Hands, which is out tomorrow, obviously goes with the intrepid Spiderman theory." Annemarie Evans, South China Morning Post

"You've been banned from the mainland for climbing, right?
Yes, for climbing the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. But the ban was temporarily lifted when the local authorities in Hunan actually requested that I return. They asked me to climb in Zhangjiajie to generate publicity for the area. There was someone closely following me around and they held onto my visa the whole time. My agent is still working to get the national ban lifted."
read the rest of the HK Magazine interview

Alain Robert is the subject of a gripping new Channel 4 documentary entitled The Human Spider. Click here to watch a clip from the film!

"Alain Robert drives his family up the wall. The world's greatest 'urban free solo' climber has scaled 80 of the world's tallest buildings without using any equipment, just his hands and feet. He has an arrest sheet as long as his arm, which in his case is very long from all the trauma he puts his muscles and tendons through." The Independent

"Clinging to the outside of the 88th floor, heart pounding, palms sweating, and nothing between you and the flashing blue lights of the police cars hundreds of feet below except a lot of thin air this is not a sport for acrophobics. Alain Robert, the man known as the Human Spider, is perhaps the most daring climber of all time. His terrifying brand of "free climbing" climbing without tools or safety devices of any kind has taken him up some of the most daunting buildings in the world. The Jin Mao tower in Shanghai, the Debis Tower in Berlin, and Europe's tallest building, Moscow's Federation Tower, are among his recent conquests, while in the past he has clambered to the top of the Centrepoint Tower, Sydney, and the Eiffel Tower in pursuit of ever-greater thrills and risks." Daily Telegraph

"As he climbs ever higher above teeming sidewalks without official sanction, mostly panicked and fearful local governments inevitably send in the cops, with sirens blaring. Admiring crowds gather spontaneously at the foot of his vertiginous conquests, cheering and screaming. Frequently arrested following his descent to terra firma, Alain is familiar with the vagaries of police procedure. In China, he was breathlessly huckled through Shanghai airport by a bunch of uniformed cops, having incurred a five-year ban from re-entering the country. In Moscow, he wound up freed from a few hours' police custody smelling of vodka proffered by admiring cops. Mick Jagger? Street-fighting man? Pah! Phew, Alain Robert's rock 'n' roll!" The Herald

"There was one extraordinary shot in The Human Spider (C4) that captured the sheer madness of what 'urban free climber' Alain Robert does for a living. It came halfway through the film, when we already knew the diminutive (not to mention epileptic) Frenchman liked clambering up the outside of the world’s tallest buildings without ropes, harness or any other safety equipment. Or permission, for that matter. We knew he’d scaled the colossal Taipei 101 (1,670 ft) and the Petronas Twin Towers (1,482 ft), among others. We’d seen him scoot not only up but all the way back down the comparatively puny National Bank (574 ft) in Abu Dhabi. Indeed, we’d seen so much footage of him climbing it was beginning to get repetitive.
Then, as we watched him shin up Shanghai’s soaring 1,380ft Jin Mao Tower, the camera did something it hadn’t done before. From a vantage point nearby it started at the base of the Jin Mao and tracked dizzyingly up and up the vertical quarter mile of glass and steel to where Robert, a mere speck by now, was clinging to the side of the building just below the top, trying to avoid being grabbed by policemen on a balcony above him. The vertiginous sense of height and stomach-lurching vulnerability were overwhelming." Daily Telegraph

'Spiderman' scales Chinese mountain with his bare hands: A daredevil French climber scaled part of a mountain in southern China using only his bare hands, months after he was banned from the country for clambering up Shanghai's tallest building without permission... ABC News

一位藝高人膽大、有「蜘蛛人」之稱的法國攀爬者,因為未經允許就攀爬了上海最高大樓,而被中國驅逐出境;數個月之後,他再度徒手攀爬中國南部一座山的一部份。 中國官方媒體新華社報導,以攀爬世界最高大樓聞名的羅勃特,週日在湖南省天門山接近山頂的地方爬了兩百公尺(六百五十六呎),而且未使用任何輔助工具。 羅勃特這次並未被逮捕,取而代之的是來自各方的喝采,及播出他被歡欣鼓舞的群眾所圍繞著的官方電視報導。當地官員邀請羅勃特攀爬位於張家界國家森林的此座山,希望這樣的特技表演能夠刺激觀光產業。 羅勃特六月份時因身穿蜘蛛人裝攀爬著名的「金茂大廈」,而在上海吃了五天牢飯,並被中國禁止入境五年。 他表示,他花了兩個月時間說服七個不同政府部門的官員,讓他重返該國攀爬一千五百一十八公尺(四千九百八十二呎)高的天門山是有好處的。 羅勃特曾攀爬過許多世界最高的摩天大樓,包括台灣的台北一零一大樓、馬來西亞的雙子星塔以及香港的遠東金融中心。 他也爬過巴黎的艾菲爾鐵塔以及紐約帝國大廈,而且全都未使用安全裝置。— The China Post

I'm Spider-Man: After finding the Alps too disappointing, he took to climbing very tall buildings without ropes. From the Petronas Towers to Canary Wharf, Alain Robert has scaled more than 70 skyscrapers. Yesterday, he conquered the Lloyds building in London. Stephen Moss met him before his ascent and arrest... The Guardian

"After this accident, I started climbing again, even though I had a cast on my right leg and on my right arm. After four months I was climbing at the same level as before, and started to climb even harder routes. Then I fell again, this time much worse. I was teaching some students to climb, showing them to push on their legs, not pull on their arms. I was climbing an easy route with my hands behind my back to emphasize the point, when I lost balance and fell headfirst from eight meters. I fell onto both wrists, which were completely shattered. After 15 minutes I fell into a coma, I was bleeding badly and lost nearly one liter of my blood. So I was really in a bad, bad state. I spent about 2 months in the hospital. The very good surgeon told me that my climbing was completely finished. But I did relearn how to climb, with much difficulty, and after one year I was climbing some routes which were harder than what I was climbing before my accident." Read the full Alain Robert interview at

Click play to watch a montage of Alain Robert's awesome climbs!



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