Hong Kong meets heart attack: Spectacular rooftopping photos show the city from a new perspective


posted Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM EDT


Chalk up another one for the intrepid rooftopping duo, Vitaly Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov. No sooner had we reported on their illicit -- and doubtless illegal -- scaling of Shanghai Tower, the world's second-tallest building, than we discover that they've also been testing the limits in another Asian city. It seems that shortly before their trip to the mainland for Chinese New Year, the pair first stopped off for a fortnight in Hong Kong late last month. As you'd expect, they weren't content to remain sidewalk-bound.

We're sure that by the standards of the Ukranian Raskalov and his Russian friend Makharov -- both of whom go by pseudonyms for obvious reasons -- the skyscrapers in densely-packed Hong Kong served as little more than a warmup for the main event in China. The still-under-construction Shanghai Tower, after all, has been topped out at a full third taller than the International Commerce Center, Hong Kong's current tallest building.

Vadim Makhorov (left) and Vitaly Raskalov (right).
Bank of America Tower (1975), 479 feet

Still, that makes their spectacular photos none the less stomach-churning for those of us used to remaining on terra firma. There's no disguising the fact that these shots, some of which were captured with a Canon EOS 6D digital SLR, were taken many, many hundreds of feet above street level, and with nothing in the way of safety gear -- just a great camera and a spectacular amount of courage. Not surprisingly, their daring shots have set the Hong Kong blogosphere alight.

118 Connaught Rd. West (1994), 532 feet

Earlier this week, Raskalov spoke with Chinese expat blog That's Online about the Hong Kong and China trip, which was appparently six months in the planning. The interview mostly covers the pair's exploits on the mainland, and their primary objective -- Shanghai Tower -- but it's no less interesting for it. In particular, we were amazed to read that the pair spent the best part of a whole day sleeping in a crane at the top of the tower, which took them over an hour and a half just to climb. The reason for the delay? A necessary break to wait for suitable weather -- and we're guessing here that the deciding factor was likely down to wind.

Nina Tower (2006), 537 feet

So with Hong Kong and Shanghai under their belts, where's next? The plan, appparently, calls for visits to Japan, South Korea, the United States and Australia. So if you happen to be near a tall building in any of the above, look up -- and if you see two tiny little specks performing a death-defying rooftop walk, give them a wave, and say a silent thank you. These guys do the stuff you and I would never dare to -- and through their spectacular videos and photos, they take us along for the ride.

Far East Finance Centre (1982), 574 feet

We don't know about you, but their creations are about as close to rooftopping as we'll ever want to get! Thanks to Vadim Makhorov for permission to share these photos on our site; you'll find much more on their website, ontheroofs, as well as on the LiveJournal pages of Raskalov and Makhorov and finally, on Raskalov's 500px account.

(via Hong Wrong)

Sino Plaza (1992), 640 feet

The Goldmark (1987), 320 feet

Best Western Harbour View (2012), we believe. Height unknown.
Photo courtesy of Tom Ryaboi.