Skip to main content

Russian climbers move from pyramids to Shanghai in bid to scale new heights

By Euan McKirdy, for CNN
updated 4:46 AM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Russian thrillseekers climb unfinished skyscraper in Shanghai
  • The same men climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza last year
  • Breathtaking views from atop a construction crane illustrate the risks
  • Pair's blogs show a variety of death-defying climbs in awesome locations

Hong Kong (CNN) -- While their countrymen prepared to attend to the Olympic ideals of "citius, altius, fortius" -- faster, higher, stronger -- two Russian thrillseekers traveled to China to put at least one of those to the ultimate test by scaling the as yet unfinished Shanghai Tower in the city's financial district.

The climbers were the same men who made headlines last year when they scaled the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt -- and later apologized when they were accused of disrespecting the ancient monuments.

They recorded their exploits in Shanghai with forehead-mounted cameras, and the resulting footage, which shows their adrenaline-fueled journey from break-in to summit, is breathtaking.

The video, uploaded to video sharing site Vimeo, shows two masked men wearing hoodies talking urgently in Russian as they scope out the boarded-up construction site, before slipping in. Under the cover of darkness, they make their way up to the roof of the skyscraper.

The climbers, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov, aren't new to this type of extreme freeclimbing. Their blogs show images of climbers clambering over sites including buildings, mines and dams across Europe, the Middle East and Central and East Asia. Makharov's blog shows a climber with a camera atop one of the pyramids outside Cairo.

Raskalov told CNN that he was "not scared" when climbing this kind of structure, although it was an "usual situation" for him to undertake this kind of climb.

Peering over the side, the upper floors of the distinctive, 492m Shanghai World Financial Center and the neighboring Jin Mao Tower (421m) can be seen in the video, peeking through low lying clouds.

From their vantage point on top of the unfinished building, Raskalov and Makharov look down on the skyscrapers -- the height of the new construction dwarfing its neighbors, which had previously dominated Shanghai's skyline.

Undaunted, the pair then swing out onto a crane and continue clambering skywards. Cutting back and forth between the daredevils as they ascend the crane, the wide angled cameras show the yawning chasm beneath their sneakered feet -- neither man appears to wear any safety gear.

Upon reaching the very top of the crane, one examines his hands, grimy from the long climb, and the pair high-five each other before taking the ultimate Facebook profile pic - one unlikely to ever be replicated.

The 2073 ft (632 m) Shanghai Tower, when completed, will be the second -tallest in the world, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

When the crane jib climbed by the men is factored in, the total height scaled is estimated to be 650m.

Makhorov's blog says that the pair waited until the Lunar New Year holidays, when construction teams had left the site.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:57 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Chinese students show a handmade red ribbon one day ahead of the the World AIDS Day, at a school in Hanshan, east China's Anhui province on November 30, 2009.
Over 200 Chinese villagers in Sichuan province have signed a petition to banish a HIV-positive eight-year-old boy, state media reported.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane, forcing the Nanjing-bound plane to turn back to Bangkok.
updated 12:03 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
updated 7:21 PM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Like Beijing today, Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons.
updated 12:42 AM EST, Sat December 6, 2014
At the height of his power, Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
updated 3:26 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
updated 1:48 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
updated 3:55 AM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Despite an anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past 12 months.
updated 7:01 AM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
A 24-hour Taipei bookstore is a hangout for hipsters as well as bookworms.
updated 8:53 PM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
updated 5:57 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT