Dylan Pfohl has been doing crazy shit for most of his life. As a kid, this Denver native was ripping on BMX bikes and skateboards, hucking it off of huge jumps and conquering his fears, leaping madly out of his own comfort zones. 

But even for him, it took a lot of daredevil “baby-steps” before he started hanging from cranes hundreds of feet in the air, suspended only by his own will and physical strength.

“It just evolved over the years,” says the Youtuber, Instagrammer, thrill seeker (just don’t call him an ‘adrenaline junkie’). “The first time I did it, it was so crazy. It was just kind of like a spontaneous thing.”

He and a friend were in downtown Denver, waiting for an Uber some late Saturday evening after a night on the town. As they were standing there waiting, Pfohl looked up at the crane across the street and was struck by an idea. “I was just like ‘I've always wanted to try climbing those cranes,’” Pfohl recalls. “So we just went and did it and I was so scared the entire time … but nothing happened.”

That was his first crane climb, his first dip into the high-stakes adrenaline pool. Since then, Pfohl has climbed all kinds of tall things, from cranes to bridges and even the Elitch Garden’s “Tower of Doom.” It’s become a hobby for Pfohl. One that he wants other people to enjoy just as much as he does.

Which is exactly why he created a “How To” video guide detailing exactly what it takes to find, climb and hang from a crane:

Pfohl’s whole thing is to get people to step (or hang) outside of their comfort zones. That could mean baking something if you’re a non-baker, riding a motorbike, cliff jumping, or, of course, climbing something insanely tall and dangerous and hanging off it.

"I definitely don't like the term, 'adrenaline junkie,'" he says. "People call it crazy but really it is just fun."

Pfohl tries to pick times of day, or holidays to make his daredevil climbs, when he expects there to be the least amount of security around. Perhaps not surprisingly, climbing insanely tall structures and jumping on or hanging from them is not exactly legal in most cases and if you’re caught red-handed, there can be some pretty expensive consequences.

In fact, as Pfohl recently discovered, even if you aren’t caught in the act, those consequences can still find you. Shortly after our interview, Denver PD reached out to Pfohl. They wanted to talk about a little video of a crane they’d found online…

Regardless, Pfohl hasn’t run into too much trouble so far, largely in part because he’s so strategic about the timing of his ascents. When he climbed the Tower of Doom, he tells me, it was early on Christmas morning, a time and day when he anticipated everyone would be with their families. He came prepared that morning to scale the outside of the tower, like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible movie.

Luckily, he didn’t have to do that.

“I had no idea what to expect, what security would be like. But I thought that Christmas morning would be the best chance,” Pfohl says. His intuition was correct. “There was no security. And they were actually working on it, so there was a door wide open to get inside of it, and then there's just a ladder up the top.”

“Pretty proud of that one,” he says with a chuckle.

Dylan Pfohl, Denver's daring crane hanger

Despite the inherent dangers involved with his hobby and the videos he makes, Pfohl says that his biggest concern is that people who watch his videos stay safe.

“I definitely don't want people dying,” he says. “I don't want people to push that comfort zone so much that they follow this and fall. That is not my intent whatsoever.”

And indeed, at the beginning of his crane hanging video there is a clear warning: “For entertainment purposes only. Do not attempt.”

Of course, there’s nothing he can do to stop other thrill seekers from following in his footsteps if they choose to. Just don’t be like those other social media daredevils who are, for one reason or another, no longer with us. It only takes one sweaty palm and you’ve suddenly got an appointment to meet your maker.

Pfohl’s Youtube channel is full of different How To videos, that span the spectrum from “How To: get busted doing donuts in a parking lot” to “How To: survive getting trampled by a bull” and “How To: bake the best chocolate peanut butter cookies ever!”

But the How To’s are only one aspect of his social media exploits. His main thing, Pfohl tells me, is his Instagram account #ninjakickinnature, where, aptly, you’ll find tons of photos of Pfohl ninja kicking in nature. 

Dylan Pfohl, Denver's daring crane hanger

Dylan Pfohl, Denver's daring crane hanger