A Climber Scaled the Eiffel Tower

French authorities brought the man to safety after he made a 528-foot free ascent

The Eiffel Tower at night. (Bradley Weber/Creative Commons)

The Eiffel Tower was closed Monday after a man with no ropes, dressed only in casual clothing, attempted to climb it. It took the man (whose name still has not been released) approximately seven hours to climb from the 377-foot second platform to the base of the 905-foot third—a free ascent of 528 feet. 

According to French authorities, the climber was threatening suicide before they managed to safely bring him inside, just as he reached the tower’s highest level. With the man in custody, officials announced that the tower will open as usual Tuesday morning.  

“The man entered the tower normally, and started to climb once he was on the second floor,” a spokesperson for the tower’s operator told Reuters. The 1,063-foot wrought-iron tower is split into three main levels, with restaurants on the first two floors, and an observation deck on the third. Tourists typically take elevators up and down, but there are also stairs for those looking for a challenge. 

Once the man climbed onto the tower’s exterior, authorities evacuated both the tower and the esplanade below. The man’s intentions were not immediately clear, prompting speculation that it could be related to the yellow-vest protests that have rocked France over the last several months. Tower operators offered refunds to disappointed tourists, many of whom stood outside police barricades to watch the man climb. 

Constructed between 1887 and 1889, the latticework tower is equivalent in height to an 81-story building and remains the tallest building in Paris. Originally created to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower is named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel. It's the most popular paid tourist attraction in the world, with approximately 7 million vistors each year. 

Several people have attempted to climb the ladder-like structure in the last 130 years. It’s believed that the only person to have successfully done so is British daredevil James Kingston, who filmed his 2015 feat. 

Throughout Monday’s climb, French rescue workers attempted to reach the man. They can be seen in photos trying to talk him into surrendering.

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