China invites exiled "Spiderman" to climb mountain

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BEIJING, Nov 14 (Reuters) China has invited French ''Spiderman'' Alain Robert back to scale a mountain, despite banning him from the country for five years after he climbed a Shanghai skyscraper without permission.

The 45-year-old free-climber, renowned for climbing the world's tallest buildings, was jailed briefly and then deported after making a bare-handed ascent of the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower wearing a Spiderman suit in May.

Robert had been invited by a local government, who at first did not know he had been banned, to climb the 1,518-metre (4,980-ft) Tianmen mountain in Zhangjiajie, a scenic region in the southern province of Hunan, the Shanghai Daily quoted him as saying.

''It took two months to convince seven different departments of the Chinese government of the advantages of letting him back in to climb (the mountain),'' the paper said.

The local government hoped the climb, to be made without any mountaineering gear and broadcast across China, would boost the profile of the region and bring in tourists, the paper said.

If performed, it would be one of the few climbs that have not ended in police custody for the Frenchman, who says he has been arrested and fined more than 100 times for climbing buildings around the world.

In September, Robert was detained by Russian police after he scaled the 242-metre high Tower 2 of the Federation Tower in Moscow amidst the cheers of nearby construction workers.

REUTERS SV RK0950

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