Don’t Look Down! Russian Thrill Seekers Illegally Climb Shanghai Tower
Image Credit: @KetyDC

Don’t Look Down! Russian Thrill Seekers Illegally Climb Shanghai Tower


Shanghai Tower, still under construction in the heart of China’s commercial hub, will reach more than 630 meters into the sky when construction – scheduled to finish by the end of this year – is completed. It will become the world’s second tallest building, beaten only by Dubai’s behemoth Burj Khalifa.

Two Russian daredevils, taking advantage of a break in construction due to the Chinese New Year holiday, decided to climb it – without ropes, safety harnesses, or permission from Chinese authorities. A video of Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov’s adrenaline-pumping ascent, posted just two days ago, has garnered nearly 6 million views – as well as the attention of Shanghai police.

The Pudong New Area Public Security Bureau took to its Sina Weibo account to assure concerned citizens that they were looking into the matter.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

“Police said they were aware of the video and advised construction sites to strengthen their security,” reported The Global Times. “They also warned residents against trespassing at construction sites or climbing skyscrapers.”

The property owner also “expressed its regret” about the incident in a public statement, promising to prevent copycats from attempting the dangerous climb.

“Shanghai Tower will implement measures such as putting up wire fencing around the walls and installing safety doors on exits to avoid similar incidents from happening again,” read the statement.

Makhorov and Raskalov, armed with GoPro cameras and little else, can be seen sneaking into the construction site at the beginning of the sweat-inducing video. Once they find a stairwell, the video skips to one of the tower’s top floors.

“It took us almost two hours to get on the 120th floor by foot,” Raskalov said in a blog post, adding that the video was captured on January 31. “We [spent] almost 18 hours on top of the building, sleeping and waiting for better weather.”

The 5-minute video culminates with the pair’s dizzying scramble up a construction crane’s jib – bringing the total height of the climb to roughly 650 meters. The upper floors of Shanghai’s World Financial Center and its neighboring Jin Mao Tower can be seen piercing through the clouds, giving the scene an even greater sense of sheer height.

The thrill-seeking pair isn’t new to climbing things that they probably shouldn’t. Makhorov’s photo blog shows photos taken from other lofty vantage points, including skyscrapers in Dubai, the Cologne Cathedral, and a bridge in Kiev.

The so-called “insane Russians” also gained international notoriety after scaling the Great Pyramid at Giza last year – a climb that Makhorov apologized for after criticism that it had disrespected the ancient monument.

The pulse-pounding video, which can be viewed below, is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Diplomat Brief