Rooftoppers Climb Up the World’s Second Tallest Building, Snap Breathtaking Photos

Editor’s Note: This goes without saying, but we neither condone nor encourage you trying this at home. Be Safe!

I’m a firm believer in a healthy respect for gravity, but Russian rooftopping daredevils Vitaliy Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov don’t have that problem, and to be honest, they get some spectacular photos because of it. Case in point, check out the video above in which they take you on a POV journey up the second tallest building in the world, where they shot some incredible images.

If you’re squeamish about heights, this one is going to freak you out more than most. In fact, there’s only one building they could have climbed that is taller, the Burj Khalifa.

Over the course of this few minute video, Raskalov and Makhorov climb up to the top of the Shanghai Tower and then, since the tower is still under construction, to the top of the crane perched atop the tower.

The view from the very top looks something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 3.53.01 PM

According to the duo’s blog post about the climb, it took them two hours to climb the necessary 120 stories plus crane and reach the final height of about 2,133 feet. Oh, and in case you were wondering: no, they did not use any ropes or safety equipment.

They shot photos all the way up the tower, and captured some truly stunning vistas you won’t want to miss out on. To hear about the climb from the two daredevils themselves, or browse through the images they captured on the way up, head over to their Live Journal by clicking here.

(via Laughing Squid)

  • Thekaph

    Wish we had the same buildings in SF :)

  • Lynda Bowyer

    Illegally (notwithstanding dangerously) climbing structures to gain images brings our industry into disrepute, no matter how good the images may be. It seems like these two do it “for kicks”. The difference between them and a war correspondent is that the war correspondent does it to report the social injustices and give first hand account of atrocities in the field of warfare – and not for selfish reasons like these two adrenaline junkies. Sorry, but to laud these two is just to further promote (and thus endorse) their wrongdoings.

  • Gok Han

    Gopro is like a beautiful woman who talks too much. I see gopro ads everyday. I’ll never buy a gopro because of this aggressive advertising.

  • bob

    They’re Russian. Just let them do whatever they want. You can’t stop them anyway

  • Matt

    I did this at home, but only got like 12 feet in the air…

  • Bible Belt Prisoner

    Big deal. I climbed to the top of my house once. A squirrel jumped out of the chimney and I almost fell. I wet my pants.

  • Let’s be serious here…

    “This goes without saying, but we neither condone nor encourage you trying this at home.”

    By the simple act of posting and promoting this video, you’re doing both. If you REALLY thought that people shouldn’t be doing this, you wouldn’t be giving these two a wider audience.

  • Rob S

    OMG I can’t even watch that without getting scared. Crap I have jumped out of aircraft lower!

  • Rob S

    If you don’t think conflict photographers are not adrenaline junkies you are fooling yourself.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Performance art.

  • Bill

    This is art. Crazy Ivan

  • Cynical Bloke

    Finally. Most of the time photos from these daredevils are rubbish but these have been perfectly timed. This is photography. If the conditions had been terrible I would have said why waste your time. Good timing.

  • Broseph of Arimathea

    What ‘industry’? The climbing structures industry? The trespassing industry?

    Or does everything ever captured on a camera automatically affect photographers now?

    *edit* these guys are awesome

  • Murica

    Hold my beer.

  • Eric

    Thanks for sharing to a group of people who don’t care what you do.

  • Omar Salgado

    Perspective is exagerated by ultra wide angle lens. Nothing to be surprised of.

  • Jack

    PetaPixel should really stop advertising these types of idiots.

    Whilst you may think they are only endangering themselves, as a first responder, I can tell you they are endangering others too. If they get injured or trapped, then it’s up to others to go up there and recover them.

    Should they fall, imagine what it feels like to be hit by someone at terminal velocity……

  • Jerome

    It doesn’t seem like you didn’t write the exact opposite of what you weren’t not thinking

  • dan110024

    I doubt they’re doing it for the photos, so it’s hardly bringing the photography industry into disrepute. The images were simply a bi-product of what they did.

  • Lynda Bowyer

    I don’t want to stop them, bob. On their heads be it.

  • Lynda Bowyer

    Really Rob? So I guess Tim Hetherington really wanted to be shelled to bits in Misrata then…?

    You’ve your opinion, as I have. Long may they differ.

  • Lynda Bowyer

    The photographic industry – of which one genre is urbexing. A number of those who do urbex do it legally and do not take risk unlike these muppets climbing this structure (and without safety equipment).

    Imagine one of them slipping and falling. Notwithstanding their inevitable death, but think of the danger that a body falling from 2,000ft+ can have on those on the ground below. No doubt others would be killed from being struck by them. Who is liable?

    It’s a bit like saying it’s OK to text from your mobile phone and drive your car at the same time though we all know and read about the deaths caused by it, by cars either colliding with others or with pedestrians due to lack of concentration. Because no one was killed this time, does it make it acceptable?

    Why should anyone commit acts like this which potentially jeopardises the safety of others?

  • Lynda Bowyer


  • Lynda Bowyer

    “I doubt they’re doing it for the photos…”

    So why is it being posted here, on Petapixel? Last time I checked, I thought Petapixel was a photography-related website?

  • Cinekpol

    Cause petapixel admires people illegally climbing buildings with cameras. Just like they admire people making screenshots and then calling it “photography”. Petapixel isn’t really a website dedicated solely to photography but rather everything it’s authors admire/like.

  • Leonardo Abreu


  • jonny

    my hands are so sweaty it’s hard to type 0_0

  • YaddaYaddaYadda

    You must be a hoot at parties.

  • AbinSur

    Petty criminals, taking pictures of their exploits…..

  • Lynda Bowyer

    Whatever… #yawn

  • Björn Lubetzki

    It all comes back to the old question “Is it okay to look at those images if the guys that shot them risked their lives (and probably the lives of people on the ground) to get them”?!
    My answer is yes and no. I really like the images and if the company building the tower would employ a specially trained photographer with safety guard and everything to record all these images they would not loose any of the WOW factor. The photo in and of itself doesn’ care whether it is taken by a guy that is totally safe or people risking their lives. As for me I have the same attitude. Give me the same images without the risk and I would be happy, too. BUT give me the images!! A lot of times you don’t get to see those stunning views and some can’t be seen after the building is completed.

  • CrackerJacker

    I’m assuming by “our industry” you mean dare-devils? Because I don’t think anyone considers them photographers. Or even photojournalists.

  • CrackerJacker

    This is a different argument than “they will hurt the photographic industry” and it is totally valid!

  • CrackerJacker

    So you’re saying these guys WANT to fall to their deaths from these buildings?

  • Lynda Bowyer

    No. I’m picking Rob up on his comment to me in that he believes conflict photographers are adrenaline junkies. These guys are just nutters because they are placing not only their own safety at jeopardy but that of those below too.

  • Lynda Bowyer

    Their actions will mean that some aspects of the industry will be regarded in a negative light compared to others who go about their business through proper methods. This will impact on the public perception of photography too.

  • Rob S

    Nice straw man.

    If you go someplace where there is an active conflict and get killed its not exactly a surprise.

  • Rob S

    Not stop them just devalue what they do and claim they make the rest of the photography community look bad.

  • Rob S

    Funny because you laud conflict photographer but they put others in danger all they time. And many conflict photographers are breaking the law to get their images. You seem to have a bad case of situational ethics.

    You also make some pretty extreme assumptions – that multiple people will be killed by their actions. Possible but just as possible they will fall and cause no further harm to anyone else.

  • Robin F

    Lynda, this is awesome. Go back to playing bingo, litigation or scooping up your dogs excrement… Whichever way you get your kicks, this site is no place for your red tape admiring politically correct safety harness loving viewpoint. Oh no of course, you work in human resources… Photography is about creativity, and this is creative. Much better that most kids this age go out getting wasted, banging chicks, breaking hearts, doing drugs, than doing something productive. These two kids have just inspired nearly ten million people with their actions in just one single night. That’s more than you’re likely to inspire in your whole life. Just go away…

  • Lynda Bowyer

    “…Go back to playing bingo, litigation or scooping up your dogs excrement…” – wrong, I’m a press and commercial photographer.

    “…These two kids have just inspired nearly ten million people with their actions in just one single night…” – cool, so they’ve inspired almost 10,000 people to likewise commit trespass and risk the lives of not only themselves but others too. Great.

  • Rob S

    But your ok with conflict photographers? wow…just wow

  • bob cooley

    Wow, you managed to be off-topic and misogynistic in 2 sentences. You could have added a little in there racism to hit a perfect trifecta!

  • Rob S

    “I’m a press and commercial photographer.”

    Who apparently specializes in badly exposed images:

    And badly composed images:

    Nice elbow to the face:

    Did you use a popup flash?

    Yeah, these Russians are the problem….right…..If thats what you put in your portfolio I hate to see the throw aways.

  • Lynda Bowyer

    You just stick to taking point and shoots in Kansas, Rob, if you want to get personal.

  • Jeff

    LOL @ getting offended at what other people do that doesn’t affect you in the slightest. You must be a hit at parties.

    Social justice warriors are worse than evangelical Christians.

  • travisjohansen

    If you’re gonna do this – why not at least bring a parachute? I feel sick to my stomach just watching it! And for the nay-sayers, who’s to say they didn’t have permission? #onecanhope

  • Rob S

    Im not the one claiming to be “a press and commercial photographer” who speaks for the entire photographic industry.

    And of course your “standards” seem to be very flexible. Tell me, have you ever met a real live conflict photographer in a real live conflict? Of course not. Have you ever been in a real live conflict zone? Of course not. So how about you not comment on how glorious conflict photographers are until you have been one of the people who has to go get their asses when they get in trouble. You seem very concerned for the safety and well being of others below these roof toppers but no concern for the safety and well being of people impacted by conflict photographers. You seem very concerned about laws as it applies to roof toppers but not conflict photographers.

    How about you stick to selling crappy pictures to schmucks and keep your situational ethics to yourself.

  • travisjohansen

    I had the same worry – couldn’t they at least be basejumpers or something just in case? These dudes were pretty reckless in their climbing methods.

  • Rob S

    Yeah kinda nuts. 2200 feet is an entirely safe distance to jump from but the danger is hitting the crane or the building. Wont catch me doing stupid crap like that!