Free climber jailed for scaling The Shard conquers 36-storey Stratosphere Tower

·3-min read
Free-solo climber George King-Thompson walks along the top of the Stratosphere Tower building, a 36-storey residential tower block in Stratford, east London (PA) (PA Wire)
Free-solo climber George King-Thompson walks along the top of the Stratosphere Tower building, a 36-storey residential tower block in Stratford, east London (PA) (PA Wire)

A free climber who was jailed for scaling The Shard has conquered a second London skyscraper less than a year after his release.

George King-Thompson 21, said he climbed the 36-storey Stratosphere Tower in Stratford, east London, on Tuesday morning to draw attention to climate change.

The former personal trainer chose the residential block because it overlooked Pudding Mill Lane Tube station which flooded last week following torrential downpours in the capital.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Mr King-Thompson, from Oxford said: “I picked this climb because a couple of weeks ago I saw a photo go viral of a Stratford station under water because of a flood following the heatwave.

It was a stark reminder of how bad climate change is getting, so I thought: what can I do to help promote the message – me of not much power in this world?

“I saw one of the tallest buildings in Stratford so decided last week to climb it, and since then it has just been intense preparation to get me to that point.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

“I would urge political leaders to take drastic action as soon as possible to get this situation under control.”

Mr King said after starting his ascent at 5am it took him less than 30 minutes to reach the roof, but he did feel worried at one point when his grip began to slip.

“The night before, there’s always a lot of pressure when you know you’ve got to climb first thing in the morning, so the nerves were high, the fear was there, but I had it under control and by morning time I went and did it – and I’m alive,” he said.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

“But one of the things which I underestimated was how from eight floors right to the top the windows had lots of stuff on them and they were extremely slippery.

“That was the only fear and disconcerting thing about it.”

He added: “I gained a lot from this experience. I come away from each climb enlightened.

“It’s an indescribable feeling – it’s like trying to describe a colour to a blind person. The feeling I get from doing these things is just out of this world.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

When asked whether a six-month stay in Pentonville Prison deterred him from illegally scaling a second skyscraper, Mr King-Thompson said he resolved to complete the feat while still behind bars.

Mr King-Thompson, who shares his climbs on his Instagam as @shardclimber, said: “I decided to do it as I came out of prison to be honest, or maybe inside prison.

“I climbed with a roof below, so if I were to fall, I’d fall upon the roof,” he added.

“I was at zero danger to the public and caused no disruption. So all considering, I’m all good.”

Mr King-Thompson was sentenced after admitting breaching a High Court injunction by scaling The Shard, which is one of Europe’s tallest buildings at 310 metres (1,017ft), on July 8 2019.

Teighmore Limited – the owners of The Shard – brought legal proceedings against him for breaching an injunction designed to deter trespassers.

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