Dan Goodwin

Dan Goodwin
Born November 7, 1955 (1955-11-07) (age 56)
Kennebunkport, Maine
Residence Lake Tahoe / California
Nationality United States
Other names SpiderDan
Known for Building Climber
Rock/Sports Climber
Skyscraper Defense Advocate
Cancer Survivor

American Dan Goodwin (born November 7, 1955) is a building, rock, and sports climber, as well as a stage-four cancer survivor, originally from Kennebunkport, Maine, United States, and living as of 2010 in Lake Tahoe, California.


Building climber

On November 21, 1980, Dan Goodwin witnessed the MGM Grand fire in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, including the inability of the Las Vegas Fire Department to rescue scores of hotel guests trapped inside. Believing he knew how to rescue the trapped people, Goodwin presented a rescue plan to the on-location fire boss. Goodwin's plan included his climbing up the building and connecting cables to the floors to enable rescue baskets to be ferried to and from helicopters. The fire boss responded by threatening Goodwin with arrest and then ordered him escorted from the scene. The following day, Goodwin approached the fire chief of a Las Vegas Fire Department sub-station and presented his rescue plan. The fire chief told Goodwin he needed to climb a building to learn of the dangers of high-rise firefighting and rescue. The following Memorial Day, Goodwin scaled the outside of the then-tallest building in the world, the then-named Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois, United States.[1]

History of Building Climbs[2]
Date Name of the building Location Height Tool
May 25, 1981 Sears Tower Chicago, Illinois 108 Floors Suction Cups / Camming Device / Sky Hooks
November 7, 1981 Renaissance Tower (Dallas) Dallas, Texas 56 Floors Suction Cups / Hands & Feet
November 11, 1981 John Hancock Center Chicago, Illinois 100 Floors Self-Made Climbing Device
February 7, 1982 Simon Bolivar Centre Caracas, Venezuela 30 Floors Hands & Feet
February 14, 1982 Parque Central Complex Caracas, Venezuela 56 Floors Suction Cups / Sky Hooks / Hands & Feet
May 30, 1983 World Trade Center - North Tower New York, New York 110 Floors Suction Cups / Camming Device
March 9, 1984 Nippon Television Tower Tokyo, Japan 10 Floors Suction Cups
February 27, 1985 Bonaventure Hotel Los Angeles, California 30 Floors Suction Cups / Hands & Feet
June 26, 1986 CN Tower Toronto, Canada 100 Floors Hands & Feet (scaled twice on same day)
September 06, 2010 Millennium Tower San Francisco, California 58 Floors Suction Cups / Hands & Feet

Notable building climbs

Willis Tower

On Memorial Day, May 25, 1981, wearing a Spider-Man suit and using suction cups, camming devices, and sky hooks, Goodwin successfully scaled the then-tallest building in the world, the 110-story Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, in Chicago, Illinois, United States. For seven hours Goodwin fought severe winds, slippery glass, and repeated attempts by the Chicago Fire Department to stop him. A few feet below the top Goodwin taped an American flag to the building to honor his father who fought in the Korean War. Chicago’s press dubbed him "SpiderDan". Goodwin stated the reason he scaled the building was to call attention to inadequacies in high-rise firefighting and rescue.[1][3][2]

Renaissance Tower

On November 7, 1981, wearing a Spider-Man suit and using suction cups along with his hands and feet, Goodwin scaled the 56-story Renaissance Tower (Dallas) in Dallas, Texas, United States. Goodwin stated the reason he made the climb was to keep a promise he made to a young Dallas resident stricken with Cystic Fibrosis.[2]

John Hancock Center

On November 11, 1981, wearing a wetsuit disguised as a Spider-Man suit and using a climbing device he designed for the building, Goodwin scaled the 100-story John Hancock Center in Chicago. To elude firemen that were descending toward him in a window-washing machine, Goodwin pendulum-ed across the building with a rope. The fire department responded by attempting to knock him off the building with water from a fire hose. When this effort failed, the fire department on the inside of the building used fire axes to shatter window glass near Goodwin and then, through the openings in the glass, attempted to dislodge Goodwin from the building with grappling hooks attached to long poles. Chicago’s Mayor, Jane Byrne, intervened, allowing Goodwin to continue to the top. Goodwin said he made the climb to call attention to the inability to successfully fight fires in high-rise buildings.[4][5][2]

North Tower of the World Trade Center

On Memorial Day, May 30, 1983, using suction cups for the first four floors before switching to a camming device he connected to the building’s window-washing track, Goodwin successfully scaled the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Goodwin attached an American flag, the same one he taped to the Sears Tower in 1981, to the upper-most floor of the North Tower in tribute to Americans who died in war. Goodwin said he made the climb to call attention to the inability to rescue trapped occupants from the upper levels of skyscrapers.[6][7][2]

CN Tower

On June 26, 1986, Goodwin successfully scaled the world’s tallest structure, the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. Using his hands and feet, Goodwin climbed one side, rappelled down then climbed the far side of the tower, followed by another rappel. Goodwin's climb was a sponsored publicity event celebrating the CN Tower's ten-year anniversary.[8][2]

Millennium Tower

On September 6, 2010, Goodwin scaled the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California, United States. In tribute to the United States, Goodwin attached a United States flag to the top of the Millennium Tower, the same flag he attached to the top of Chicago's Sears Tower in 1981 and to the top of the North Tower of New York's World Trade Center in 1983. Goodwin said he made the climb to call attention to the inability to conduct rescue operations in the upper floors of skyscrapers.[9] In addition, as a Stage Four cancer survivor, Goodwin wanted to inspire people throughout the world who have been diagnosed with cancer.[10] [11]

Rock and sports climbing

As a rock climber, Goodwin made several first ascents. Frequently, he broke with rock climbing tradition by climbing without a rope, performing acrobatic maneuvers including the one arm fly-off and flag maneuver. In response to those in the rock climbing community who called Goodwin's acrobatic moves "stunts", and therefore unworthy of recognition, Goodwin stated he was "sport climbing" and not bound by the rules of traditional rock climbing.[12][3]

Rock climber Jeff Lowe, along with Dick Bass, the owner of the Snowbird ski resort, invited Goodwin to build the climbing wall for the world's first International Sport Climbing Championship held at Snowbird, Utah, United States, in 1988. Goodwin did not participate in the championship, serving instead as a commentator for CBS Sports.[13]

History of First Ascents[2]
Date Location Climb Rating
January 1980 Joshua Tree National Park, California White Rasterfarie V3+
November 1980 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada Ixtlan 5.11c
February 1984 Joshua Tree National Park, California Apollo 5.12d
July 1984 Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah Fallen Arches 5.13c
August 1984 Quoddy Head State Park, Maine Maniac 5.13c
August 1984 Quoddy Head State Park, Maine Stiletto 5.12b
August 1984 Quoddy Head State Park, Maine Yellow Dagger 5.11c
August 1984 Quoddy Head State Park, Maine Triangulation 5.12b
November 1986 Tahoe Donner, California Neanderthal Man 5.12a
November 1986 Smith Rock State Park, Oregon Sign of the Times 5.12d

The Skyscraper Defense Act

Following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Goodwin wrote the Skyscraper Defense Act, calling for an agency within the United States government entitled "Skyscraper Defense" as well as teams of "Skyscraper Defenders", individuals trained in skyscraper defense, security, and safety protocol, to be stationed within major cities of the United States.[4]


His life story, titled Skyscraperman, was written by Dan Goodwin, co-written / edited by D. B. Guidinger, with a foreword by Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man. It was published on January 1, 2010, in an e-book format.[3]



  1. ^ a b "Builderers Wanted for the Skyscraper Defense Act". Buildering.net. August 12, 2006. http://buildering.net/letters/skyscraperdefenseact. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Skyscraper News, Videos, Statistics, and Forum". Skyscraperdefense.com. http://www.skyscraperdefense.com/building_climbs.html. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  3. ^ a b c "Skyscraperman". skyscraperman.com. http://skyscraperman.com. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Skyscraper News, Videos, Statistics, and Forum". Skyscraperdefense.com. http://www.skyscraperdefense.com/press.html. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  5. ^ "Skyscraperman a.k.a. SpiderDan scales John Hancock Center with Spider-Man's Stan Lee interview". YouTube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47cV5r_Iqzg. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  6. ^ "Kansas City Kansas City - High Times - News - page 1 - The Pitch". Pitch.com. November 10, 2008. http://www.pitch.com/2003-03-13/news/high-times. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  7. ^ "Skyscraperman a.k.a. SpiderDan scales World Trade Center with Spider-Man's Stan Lee interview". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNy1rofZh5U. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  8. ^ "CN Tower opens to the public". Archives.cbc.ca. June 26, 1959. http://archives.cbc.ca/economy_business/celebrations/clips/1024/. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  9. ^ "Police arrest man who scaled Millennium Tower". The San Francisco Chronicle. September 6, 2010. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/09/06/state/n165842D24.DTL. Retrieved 2010-9-6. 
  10. ^ Man scales S.F. tower to publicize his message
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Skyscraperman a.k.a. SpiderDan scales Mickey's Beach Crack without a rope for National TV". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PywRnBl7IE. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  13. ^ "First International Sport Climbing Competition in Snowbird, Utah". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwIemWO9JU0. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 

External links

See also

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