Illegally Climbing Skyscrapers Around the World (Video)
Andrej Ciesielski has been illegally climbing skyscrapers since he was 15.
By 18, he was climbing the last-standing wonder of the world, one of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt — which only took him eight minutes.
The stunt garnered him the attention of international media outlets, significantly grew his social media following and cemented his place atop the the most accomplished rooftoppers in the world.
But the climb didn't come without a cost.
The 19-year-old German daredevil was banned from visiting Egypt ever again. Many of his critics saw the stunt as an ultimate form of disrespect to the ancient monuments.
I'm happy about my climb in Egypt because I know that not many people are able to do things like this. But I also got many bad messages on my social media. I just want to say that I didn't destroy anything on the pyramid. I just wanted to follow a dream.
Ciesielski's climbing hasn't slowed down.
Since his launch into the rooftopping scene in 2015, Ciesielski has visited Dubai, Japan, China, Korea and, most recently, the United States.
I caught up with Ciesielski in Manhattan, and the first thing that struck me about him was his age.
After following him on Instagram and Facebook for over a year, I had assumed he was older than he really was. I also thought he would be more of the arrogant type.
To my surprise, Ciesielski was incredibly down to earth and good humored.
He was always laughing and marveling at the fact that he was in New York City. He stayed on a blow-up mattress with an urban explorer he met online and spent practically every night in New York linking up with other rooftoppers via social media.
I was completely taken aback by his work ethic.
If you're walking on the street in New York it looks amazing, but from the top it's completely different. Not many people will ever see that view of the city. That's what's so amazing about it.
Ciesielski's big mission in New York City was climbing the 70 Pine Street skyscraper in the Financial District. The building is 67 stories and almost 1,000 feet tall.
For the most part, Ciesielski relies on local explorers to show him the way to accessible rooftops, and 70 Pine was no different.
He met up with a group of rooftoppers near the World Trade Center Memorial, and from there, they began their mission. Luckily, their trip went smoothly.
Ciesielski knows these climbs are about more than just the likes on social media:
Behind rooftopping it's more than just taking photos and videos. It's about friendship and about sharing the adventure.
Ciesielski ventured to 70 Pine Street for a second time with another rooftopper several days later. Their plan was to ascend during sunrise, but their timing was off, and they were caught —Ciesielski's "biggest fear." He was arrested and released without charges.
However, he spent eight days in a jail in Japan after getting caught climbing the Rainbow Bridge.
His other fear? Getting banned from countries.
In all fairness, Ciesielski was able to admit danger and fear plays a major part in the fun of rooftopping:
If you want to conquer your fear, you have to confront your fear. If it were completely legal, would it be something really special? I don't think so.