This paper proposes a nonlinear optimal control approach for mulitple degrees of freedom (DOF) brachiation robots, which are often used in inspection and maintenance tasks of the electric power grid. Because of the nonlinear and multivariable structure of the related state-space model, as well as because of underactuation, the control problem of these robots is nontrivial. The dynamic model of the brachiation robots undergoes first approximate linearization with the use of Taylor series expansion around a temporary operating point which is recomputed at each iteration of the control method. For the approximately linearized model, an H-infinity feedback controller is designed. The linearization procedure relies on the Jacobian matrices of the brachiation robots’ state-space model. The proposed control method stands for the solution of the optimal control problem for the nonlinear and multivariable dynamics of the brachiation robots, under model uncertainties and external perturbations. For the computation of the controller’s feedback gains an algebraic Riccati equation is solved at each time-step of the control method. The global stability properties of the control scheme are proven through Lyapunov analysis. The new nonlinear optimal control approach achieves fast and accurate tracking for all state variables of the brachiation robots, under moderate variations of the control inputs.