John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
This Ukranian urban climber is either extremely skilled or deranged (or perhaps both).
The Ukranian urban climber "Mustang Wanted" has described himself as a "dumbass" – not for hanging by one arm off the sides of buildings, as you might think, but for failing to maintain a proper website to update his legion of fans.
It seems that reenacting that classic setup from cheesy action movies – without the part with the bad guy stepping on the good guy's fingers, nearly causing him to plummet to the ground – can earn one a lot of attention. And it's not only coming from the buildering community: Mustang (and I wish I knew his real name, because this just makes him sound like a car) has his own agent and to his name a load of not exactly fawning stories, but ones showing respect for his death-defying antics: See "Guy's pullups freak us out," for example, or the reddit thread "Yeah, f*** that." Typical comment on that last item: "I had a panic attack watching that."
Kind of like those kids who scaled the pants-soilingly tall Bridge to Russky Island, Mustang's M.O. is simple: Find the highest structure in the vicinity and get on up to the top of it. The icing on the cake (made of equal parts fear sweat and nervous puke) is his finishing move of dangling from the structure with his hands or hand, sometimes with only the first and second digits of his fingers. If he ever falls and breaks his legs, the guy could have a second career as a concert pianist banging out Rachmaninoff or perhaps as a professional thumb wrestler.
Mustang, who's in his mid-20s, has flirted with the reaper from atop a suspension bridge, a 853-foot-tall transmission tower, a Kiev roof and a 14-story hotel where on "the last step somebody opened up a window and thought I was crazy," he writes. Recently, he ascended to some kind of scaffolding in the realm of the birds and stood on one foot. And if you're wondering, "No, I don't scared," says his Facebook page.
You can find his videos on YouTube. Here's a classic one from a few months back on a 492-foot-tall construction crane. Skip to 2:00 for the stomach-heaving stuff: