Skywalking, as seen in our Skywalking over Russia feature, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: scaling structures far, far above ground level, sea level, even skyscraper level. All the craziest bros in Russia and countries across the Eastern Bloc are doing it: trying their luck at this extreme pursuit that requires little or no formal training – but a whole lot of adrenaline. That is, after all, why it’s even being done in the first place.
Skywalking’s unparalleled daredevil nature is what makes it so appealing, both for those who participate and those of us who just want to watch. Hundreds of skywalking videos live online, and we watched them all. Here are the craziest Skywalking videos.
Vitaly Raskalov on the Russky Island Bridge
This video received nearly 2 million views in just a couple weeks. This is the video that changed everything for skywalkers, thrusting it into the public eye and convincing bridge keepers across the globe that they should probably do a better job of locking up when the guard’s away.
Here, 19-year-old skywalker Vitaly Raskalov and a few of his friends summit the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world: Russky Island bridge, in far east Russia.
The wind blows, the 1,000-foot-tall pylons shake while Raskalov’s resolve doesn’t, and the view over Vladivostok is absolutely spectacular.
Marat Dupri at Elektrostal
Vitaly Raskalov may have popularized skywalking more than anyone else, but Marat Dupri might be as close as the sport has to a founding father.
Dupri began climbing roofs, trees and other high things when he was just a wee malchik growing up in post-communist Russia. “When I am on a roof I have a feeling that the whole world is by my feet,” he told the Daily Mail in 2011. “All my problems and trouble are left somewhere down.”
For Dupri, down is usually a long, long way down. He’s climbed and taken photos from the 215 meter-tall monument to Peter I, the 300-meter-tall Moscow tower, to a 270-meter radio tower, which quite literally, got into his head.
“I got a huge adrenaline rush from taking the pictures,” he tells The Mail of climbing the radio tower, “but I had a severe headache for several days after – I think it was from radiation.”
Dupri is mostly a still photographer. His photos, which you can find on Marat’s blog, are absolutely spectacular, but he filmed this video above atop 215-meter tower in Elektrostal, Russia. This climb produced what’s probably the most iconic skywalking photo of all-time.
Crazy Russians at Elektrostal
Here it is again, the 215-meter tower at Elektrostal, Russia. This time, however, a team of crazy Russian skywalkers get even crazier, dangling the full weight of their bodies acrobatically in high winds. All that separates them from falling is their muscular fingers and what can only be described as unwavering poise.
Even crazier, these guys do all this while smiling. Maybe it’s the radiation, again.
Artem Pirniazov on The Red Gates Administrative Building
The Red Gates Administrative Building is one of seven skyscrapers in Moscow built in the “Stalinist style” and collectively known as “The Seven Sisters.” It is 11-stories tall and has, at its peak, a welded star covered in decades of pigeon droppings overlooks the cityscape, 133 meters above ground. It is a tempting target for a skywalker to touch, and at least one man has done it.
Artem Pirniazov is a veteran skywalker who clearly knows what it takes to get to the top.
Vitaly Raskalov on the Moscow Bridge in Kiev
Here he is again, that rascal Raskalov scaling a very tall bridge in the former Soviet Republic. This time it’s the 377-foot-tall Moskovskyi, or Moscow Bridge. It is a cable-stayed structure that spans the Desyonka, a tributary of the Dnieper river in Kiev, Ukraine. The video was uploaded to YouTube in September 2011.
Along for the climb are a few of Raskalov’s friends, none of whom appear to have been dissuaded from climbing again following the stunt.