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Rope-free climb up skycraper to be live TV stunt

A top free climber is making plans to scale one of the world's tallest buildings, in the latest daredevil stunt to be telecast live around the world.

The National Geographic Channel didn't identify the skyscraper Alex Honnold would go up, but it said it would air what it called a "two-hour unprecedented television event" this fall.

Honnold, 27, is one of the world's top free climbers. He gained international fame with a solo ascent of the 2,000-foot (610-meter) Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in 2008 with no ropes or other safety gear.

"I've admired the aesthetics of skyscrapers my whole life," Honnold said in a National Geographic Channel news release late Wednesday. "It's great to be able to climb one."

Nine of the 10 tallest buildings in the world are in the Middle East and Asia, according to a list compiled by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The record-holder is the 163-floor Burj Khalifa in Dubai, followed by the 120-story Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel in Mecca and the 101-floor Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

Live telecasts of death-defying stunts is becoming something of a trend on global television.

Last month US daredevil Nik Wallenda, 34, became the first man to cross a Grand Canyon area gorge on a tightrope, completing his record-breaking feat -- shown on the Discovery Channel -- in under 23 minutes.

National Geographic Channel scored both high ratings and an Emmy nomination when it carried Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner's successful attempt in October 2012 to free-fall through the sound barrier over New Mexico.

French free climber Alain Robert, 50, is famous for tackling tall buildings -- he counts Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101 among his conquests -- but he typically does so without prior notice, let alone live TV coverage.

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