Fans who swarmed Phoenix almost a year ago to watch the Philadelphia Eagles face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII witnessed an unusual pregame show: a man free-climbing the city’s abandoned 40-story Chase Tower. While it doubtless made no difference to harried local authorities, the perpetrator of this dangerous stunt claimed a motive more noble than an adrenaline rush or social media clout. According to 23-year-old Maison DesChamps, he undertook the death-defying feat to raise money for the anti-abortion charity “Let Them Live,” which supports women in crisis pregnancies.
It was not DesChamps’ first climb for the cause, nor was it his last. In October, the self-proclaimed “Pro-Life Spiderman” ascended Chicago’s Accenture Tower. Align recently spoke with DesChamps about what prompted his unusual activism, how he overcomes fear, and why he feels justified in risking his life. This interview has been edited for clarity.
Align: Let’s start with the backstory.
Maison DesChamps: So the first one I climbed was the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. And I was sitting at home scrolling on my phone, and I saw this photo of a dead baby, right? This was a baby that was killed by abortion. My friend AJ Hurley and a couple of girls found this baby outside an abortion clinic in D.C. They found a box. They had gotten it from the medical waste truck driver.
And they brought this box home and there were five, I mean just 8-month-old, full-grown babies ready to be born that were slaughtered and ripped apart by this doctor. So I saw that photo, and I don’t know, something just came over me, and I felt as though if I didn’t do something about what was happening, then what kind of man am I, right? Like my salvation is in jeopardy if I don’t do something about this. So I had raised all this money and bought plane tickets out to San Francisco. And the funny thing was that I didn’t even know if the building was gonna be climbable. Like I just looked at photos of it online and I’m like, ah, you know, I think it’s good. And I was really nervous. There are these horizontal fins that run across it. And I was nervous that I wasn’t gonna be able to reach around it. So I had worn, they’re called Skwamas. It’s a type of climbing shoe, but it has rubber on the toes, on the tops of them. So that if I needed to climb foot-first and do what’s called a toe hook, I could literally throw my whole body around this thing because I figured my legs are longer than my arms are. But luckily, it was very climbable. And the crazy thing was, I had prepared to climb this building for about a month. I had fundraised, bought the tickets, paid the drone pilots, and everything. And the morning we woke up to go out to San Francisco and climb the tower, that just happened to be the morning that the
Dobbs draft was leaked that would overturn Roe. No planning of that; couldn’t have predicted that; it was just sheer coincidence or providence, if you will. It bumped the story to the top of the news, which is kind of cool.
Align: So tell me about how you got hooked up with Let Them Live and how that’s kind of driven you.
DesChamps: Yeah, so Let Them Live is awesome. They are based around a statistic that 73% of abortions happen because of financial circumstances. So what they do is they try to financially support these women because a lot of times, a sidewalk counselor — they’re the people who stand outside the abortion clinics and try to talk women out of abortions as they’re on their way to get one. They’ll plead with these people, like please don’t go in there and kill your baby and … they’ll just be ignored. But sometimes it all comes down to, “You know, what if we paid your rent, would that help you, would that make you want to have this baby?” and so we pay these women’s rent, their medical bills, really whatever they need, and we try to provide job counseling and services like that so that they’re independent once they have the baby. But I just saw what they were doing and really loved it.
So I had climbed, I think, three or four buildings for them, raising money for them. And eventually they found out about it when they got a big check in the mail, and they loved what I was doing. So Nathan Berning, the CEO, he calls me on the phone and he says, dude, I want to hire you so that you can do this full-time. And he said, I want to pay you to do whatever you want to do. Just go save babies. I don’t care who for, I don’t care how. Just go save babies from being murdered by abortion, which is really cool because it’s allowed me to partner with other orgs and go out and do other kind of activism as well. So it’s been kind of a blast.
Align: Tell me about some of the sponsors.
DesChamps: So these are the new sponsors. I’m very thankful for these companies that are supporting me because, like I said, one of my fears is that, you know, we do these climbs and the media narrative goes sour or we don’t end up getting the story out there, so we don’t raise enough money. And luckily, these companies have been willing to sponsor me and donate a bunch of money to the charity, which has been really cool. You know, we’ve got the water, Freedom2o, and then Make America Gospel Again, which is my buddy’s company. He makes these hats. I met him at one of the Turning Point events, and this guy, he’s selling hats at this booth, and I go over to buy one, and it’s the last one, so he gave me one. But then the rest of the weekend, because it’s like a three-day event, he just turned his booth into a prayer booth. So he’s sitting there praying for people, and he’s a real neat guy and a good message because, you know, I truly do believe that the way we’re going to fight this issue is through Christ and through Christ alone. And you read 2 Chronicles 7:14, right? It says that God will restore our land if we turn to Him, we humble our hearts, and we turn from our wicked ways and call out this sin. And so often in this movement, you see compromise time and time and time again. And again, I blame the church, I blame the pro-life movement for the reason why abortion still exists. The Bible gave us the directions of how to deal with these issues. And we have been ignoring that for years.
I went to a gala in D.C. at the March for Life. I’m not going to say which one, but they started it by congratulating everybody for coming to the 51st fancy dinner night, you know, and it made me sick to my stomach because I’m like, guys, if it takes 51 of these and we still haven’t even made a dent, we’re doing something wrong. We’ve got to sacrifice more.
We’ve got to, I mean, really even follow God’s word, but you see this trend in the pro-life movement of, you know, making exceptions, right? Like putting out heartbeat bills, which, you know, if one comes on the ballot, of course I’m going to vote for it. I want to save babies. But if you say abortion starts at conception and then you put out this bill that says it starts when the heart beats, it’s just inconsistent.
You know, we make a difference when we speak the truth and we speak it fully and all the time. And unless we’re doing that, we’ll never accomplish anything. It’s funny because when I started in this movement, I was really scared to speak the truth as far as talking about the danger of what I do. And this is just an example of how speaking the truth works in your favor. I was kind of brushing it off, right? I’m like, ah, you know, most of these buildings are pretty easy. You know, I’m a really good climber and I can handle it, which is partially true. But also, I could fall. I could die. I could slip. But the truth is that what we’re fighting for is worth risking our lives over. I mean, like I said, this is a Holocaust — over 70 million babies murdered. It’d be a shame to die of old age.
It really would. So yeah, the same sort of thing applies with the pro-life movement because as soon as I started accepting it, as soon as I started speaking the truth and saying no, this is worth fighting over, people wanted to talk to me. I started getting all these interviews. My page started blowing up. And people are attracted to that. They want something to fight for. They want to see passion, they want to see this conviction. And this sort of soft, ashamed speech is not going to get us anywhere.