Man in Wheelchair Pulls Himself 800 Feet Up Skyscraper

Hong Kong man raised $700K for spinal cord patients
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2021 1:25 PM CST
Man in Wheelchair Climbs 800 Feet Up Skyscraper
Lai Chi-wai scales Nina Tower in Kowloon.   (Ignite Community Services)

Lai Chi-wai is disappointed that he didn't finish his climb Saturday—but since he managed to climb most of the way up a 1,050-foot skyscraper in a wheelchair, raising more than $700,000 for charity in the process, most people consider it an incredible success. Lai was considered the best climber in Asia and had won numerous championships when a car crash a decade ago left him paralyzed from the waist down. On Saturday, the 38-year-old pulled himself—and his wheelchair—up ropes along the glass exterior of Nina Tower. He had to abandon the climb after 10 hours at around 800 feet because strong winds were tangling the ropes and causing the wheelchair to spin, the New York Times reports. He says he feared for his life and battled the winds for an hour before calling it quits.

"Climbing up a mountain, I can hold onto rocks or little holes, but with glass, all I can really rely on is the rope that I’m hanging off," Lai tells Reuters. On the fifth anniversary of his accident, Lai climbed Hong Kong's iconic Lion Rock peak in a wheelchair. He says the Saturday climb, which raised money to support the recovery of people with spinal cord injuries, was also intended to send a message. "Some people don't understand the difficulties of disabled people, some people think that we are always weak, we need help, we need assistance, we need people's pity," he says. "But, I want to tell everyone, it doesn’t have to be like that. If a disabled person can shine, they can at the same time bring about opportunity, hope, bring about light, they don’t have to be viewed as weak." (Read more climbing stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.