A superhero is defined as an individual with extraordinary abilities. With a lot of super heroes, the charm lies in the fact that they possess traits which we can only dream about.

There are few people in the world who can attempt to bridge the gap. Alain Robert is one of them. Born on August 7, 1962, Alain Robert began climbing buildings and rocks from a young age. His first big climb was when he was twelve years old. He had forgotten the keys to his apartment and his parents were away. He simply climbed seven storeys to enter the apartment!

In his own words, Alain was inspired to begin climbing after he saw a film called The Grieving Snow . The film was about two brothers who set out on a mission to find and rescue injured people stranded on mountains. Alain was afraid of heights and decided to conquer his fears by facing them directly. When the Scouts club in his school offered him a chance to learn climbing, he took it up enthusiastically. He has not looked back since.

Robert experimented with climbing rock-faces of varying heights and angles. When he was 30 years old, a documentary film-maker asked him to consider climbing sky-scrapers. He started with the Sears Tower in Chicago, which has 108 storeys. It is 442 metres tall.

When climbing rocks, Robert would try to find his way between cracks and fissures in the rocks, placing his fingers between them and hauling himself up. While climbing sky-scrapers, he does the same by pushing his fingers between window frames, ledges and other protrusions. Since his first tower climb, Robert has scaled more than a hundred towers and buildings across the world, including the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia (452 metres) and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (830 metres).

Alain describes each climb as a puzzle which needs a certain amount of creativity to solve. He courted arrest with a few of his attempts as urban climbing is banned in many countries.

Terming the first two metres of any building as being the toughest, Alain joked, “After that, your ankles are safe from the police.”

Apart from being a lover of adventure and adrenaline, Alain is also an activist. He often unfurls a banner with an anti-global warming slogan once he reaches his summit. Read more about this real-life Spider-Man in his autobiography, With Bare Hands .