"I can't describe it in words … It was really unbelievable for me. It was absolutely amazing." That's how 18-year-old Andrej Ciesielski describes his incredible, yet illegal, climb to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza in broad daylight on Jan. 18. The German tourist, who writes about the experience on his blog, says he first visited Cairo before hiring a taxi to take him to Giza. Though climbing the oldest and largest of the three pyramids could result in a three-year jail term, or something far worse if he lost his footing, "I thought the photos would be worth it," Ciesielski says, per the Telegraph. Armed with a GoPro camera, "I just started climbing." He took the first few steps quickly "so nobody would follow me and take me down," he tells Business Insider. It wasn't until he was about halfway up the 455-foot structure that police finally spotted him.
Ciesielski kept climbing and reached the top in about eight minutes. Spectacular images on his blog show the surrounding pyramids and ancient dwellings. The view "was really, really amazing," he says. Ciesielski took his time with his descent for safety reasons and was back on the ground in about 20 minutes, he writes. He was then taken into police custody. "At first, they wanted to take me to the German Embassy, but after a while I was released without anything further happening," Ciesielski says. Officers declined to press charges on the condition that they delete all photographic evidence of his climb. Unbeknownst to police, Ciesielski had software that allowed him to recover the deleted images. "Some people were really angry, but I don't care," Ciesielski says of his climb. "I didn't destroy anything. I didn't hurt anyone." (Giza's pyramids may house secret passages.)