Anti-abortion activist arrested after free-climbing Phoenix’s tallest skyscraper

Feb 7, 2023, 10:37 AM | Updated: 6:39 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Troy Barrett, left, Instagram Screenshot/Maison Des Champs, right)...
(KTAR News Photo/Troy Barrett, left, Instagram Screenshot/Maison Des Champs, right)
(KTAR News Photo/Troy Barrett, left, Instagram Screenshot/Maison Des Champs, right)

PHOENIX — An anti-abortion activist was arrested after scaling Chase Tower, Phoenix’s tallest skyscraper, without ropes Tuesday morning.

Maison Des Champs, who bills himself as “The Official Pro-Life Spider-Man,” reached the top of the 40-story downtown building at Monroe Street and Central Avenue around 11 a.m.

The 23-year-old was taken into custody on the roof. The Phoenix Police department said he would be booked into Maricopa County Jail on counts of trespassing and criminal nuisance.

Des Champs represents a nonprofit called Let Them Live, which raises funds and awareness for women who seek an abortion because they cannot financially support a child.

When the Phoenix Fire Department responded the scene around 9:45 a.m., Des Champs was about 15 stories into his ascent, Capt. Todd Keller said.

Des Champs made the climb by pressing his hands and feet into each side of an approximately 3-foot-wide channel that runs up the building and scooting up bit by bit.

He posted a dizzying video of his view to Instagram while mid-climb.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Maison DesChamps (@prolife.spiderman)

Keller said crews were stationed in a stairwell behind the channel to stay in contact with him.

“If this person got fatigued or he needed help, we were ready to act and help this person off the tower,” Keller said.

Monday’s stunt drew plenty of attention with the Super Bowl and related activities in town, including the Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center just a few blocks away.

Keller, for one, wasn’t amused.

“This is highly dangerous,” he said. “This is absolutely not the thing to do. We totally frown upon this.”

Des Champs is currently raising money for a woman named Hope who has an abortion scheduled for Friday, according to Let Them Live President and CEO Emily Berning.

“He climbs and raises awareness and money to support the women that we help so they can choose life over abortion,” Berning said.

This is the seventh time Des Champs has climbed a building for the cause, according to Berning.

On his website, Des Champs says he’s an experienced climber and that skyscrapers are “significantly easier to climb than rock.”

The website also says he usually gets arrested for trespassing or disorderly conduct when he climbs buildings, but the “charges are either dropped or easily fought in court.”

The 483-foot-high Chase Tower was sold in 2018 and has been vacant since Chase relocated its Valley headquarters to Tempe.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Anti-abortion activist arrested after free-climbing Phoenix’s tallest skyscraper