Travel & Leisure

Roof Culture: High on Skies and City Lights

Roof Culture: High on Skies and City Lights

There’s almost always a term for things that people are afraid of. Nyctophobia for fear of the dark; claustrophobia for fear of small spaces; acrophobia for fear of falling or heights—heck, even people afraid of commitment has gamophobia.

But do you know what’s often challenging? Coming up with a name that gives justice to those who choose to smile at their fears every single day instead of letting it swallow them whole. So for the lack of a better term, let’s call them the daredevils.

Sometimes, you see them in the face of your significant other trying to give you their all despite “the-struggle-is-real” fear of commitment. Sometimes, you see their photos taken atop a 500-meter building that partly excite you on one hand, then make you question their sanity on the other.

What were they thinking?

Enter, the Roof Culture.

While there’s no formal or any accurate and politically correct way to define it yet, in a nutshell, Roof Culture is the practice of climbing rooftops, cranes, and the like that somehow requires Parkour skills. It’s also recently tagged as “Urbex” which is short for words urban and extreme.

For Alex Schadrov though, who goes by the nick DeLarge and has been into Roof Culture for several years now, labels do not really matter. He, however, quips “Police calls it trespassing to the private property, my mom calls it puerility and foolishness, followers in Instagram think that it’s awesome.”

Despite his fear of heights, Alex acknowledged early on how important it is to overcome his fears. “In my childhood, I liked to climb up to any highest spots as rooftops or radio mast. I was growing up in the small Russian city in the industrial area, so factory facilities and construction [sites] were my playground,” he shares.

What was done simply for curiosity and fun became serious business for Alex when he moved to Shanghai, China a couple of years ago stating, “This city is full of skyscrapers and only when you get to the top point you may see how huge and beautiful this place is.”

As the days go by, more and more people engage in Roof Culture and understandably so, it’s exciting and it gives you a certain kind of rush you can only get from standing on the edge a few hundred meters above the ground, savoring a breathtaking view all to yourself. Alex adds, “And also you can feel so unique, understanding that most of the people won't be able to be there.”

And true enough, Alex claims that he and his friends Ivan Kuznetsov and Vladimir Sidorov were the only ones who had reached the rooftop of the Shanghai Tower, China (630 meters), the tallest construction in Asia, and the second tallest building in the world next to Burj Khalifa, Dubai (828 meters). Alex didn’t even believe in success until that very moment.

“The first thing I realized: impossible is nothing! If you want to achieve anything, you must be insistent. When I started, a lot of buildings looked so inaccessible, but all of this was conquered. To see anything entirely, sometimes you need to change angle of view.”

Now we’re not saying you have to rush to your rooftop after you finish reading this. What we’re saying is, this is just one of the many ways to conquer your fears. So don’t hold back and keep yourself from exploring how else you can defeat yours.


 Photos by Alex Schadrov




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