Andrej Ciesielski was in the midst of climbing one of Egypt’s most famous monuments when he heard security shouting at him to stop, or else be arrested. But, determined to complete his mission, he carried on anyway. After all, what he would see from the top would make it all worthwhile.
However, the 18-year-old Ciesielski, who hails from Munich, Germany, is no stranger to daring climbs. Plus, this super-adventurous teen certainly has a head for heights.
And Ciesielski documents all of his vertigo-inducing adventures on his blog. It’s safe to say, then, that the plucky teen has performed some pretty impressive stunts and clearly has a lust for life; the places he’s been and the buildings he’s scaled are amazing.
For instance, he’s climbed the 88-story Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China, and Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge to name but two. What’s more, all of Ciesielski’s stunts are completed, it appears, without any safety equipment. Now that takes some guts.
After visiting Dubai and Hong Kong, then, Ciesielski was ready for his next big adventure. And the globe-trotting adrenaline junky decided to visit Egypt, one of the most ancient and culturally important countries in the world.
Ciesielski arrived in Cairo in January 2016. He’d booked himself in to a hotel near Talaat Harb Square, and so headed there in a taxi from the airport after landing.
Then, in what was effectively a test run for the main event, Ciesielski opted to scale a few of the Egyptian capital’s tallest buildings. Indeed, from the top of the 614-foot Cairo Tower, the ground looked a terrifyingly long way away.
Thereafter, Ciesielski made the short journey to the city of Giza, home to the world-famous pyramids. So, standing at the foot of the Cheops Pyramid – or the Great Pyramid – he prepared to climb to the top of this ancient Egyptian monument.
And “ancient” is certainly the right word for it; Cheops is the oldest of Giza’s three pyramids. Construction started way back in 2580 BC, with the structure – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – completed around two decades later.
And in addition to being the oldest pyramid at the site Cheops is also the largest. In fact, as it rises for 481 feet, it remained the planet’s highest structure for almost four millennia.
Unfortunately for Ciesielski, though, climbing Giza’s pyramids was outlawed in the 1980s. But while some guides have, apparently, taken bribes from tourists eager to set foot on it, Ciesielski was planning to ascend the Great Pyramid alone.
Flouting the law in Egypt can of course have serious consequences. Anyone who illegally climbs the pyramids, for example, risks being landed with a three-year prison sentence.
But Ciesielski, who was armed with his trusty GoPro, ignored the warnings. Instead, he prepared for the perfect moment to attempt a daring – and potentially dangerous, for there are no safety nets – climb.
After scoping out the pyramid complex, Ciesielski decided to go for it. He was in fact seen by a few locals, but he clambered up the Great Pyramid’s walls regardless – and it took him just eight minutes to reach the top. The views, naturally, were staggering.
“It was absolutely surreal standing on top of one of the wonders of the world,” Ciesielski said. “I wanted to experience Egyptian culture and I definitely managed that.”
Security guards, however, soon spotted the brazen climber and ordered him – very loudly in Arabic – to return to ground level. Although it took less than ten minutes to climb, Ciesielski took a more leisurely 20 minutes to come back down.
Needless to say, Egyptian authorities didn’t find Ciesielski’s stunt in the least bit funny. After taking the daredevil to the station for questioning, however, he was eventually released without charge. His was a very lucky escape.
But there was one pretty big consequence of Ciesielski’s illegal climb; a month later Egyptian authorities banned him from ever visiting the country again. Let’s just hope, then, that he got enough sightseeing in this time round.
Of course, the ban hasn’t put the climber off of performing his stunts. In fact, since the Giza climb Ciesielski has continued exploring the world, ascending a few impossibly high buildings along the way – including a 750-foot-high skyscraper in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay.
Whether you agree with Ciesielski’s illegal actions or not, his death-defying feats have certainly attracted quite a following. Six months after posting a video of his Giza conquering to YouTube, for instance, it had received almost 2.5 million views; encouragement, perhaps, for a similarly epic stunt in the not-too-distant future.