East London skyscraper climber reveals why he did death-defying stunt without ropes

The daredevil who climbed The Shard has told how he feared his own death before scaling a 36-storey Stratford building this week.

George King-Thompson stunned residents when he scaled Newham’s Stratosphere Tower at 5:30am on August 3.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting service, George said that he attempted the feat to raise awareness for climate change in the wake of the London floods.

The 21-year-old first hit the headlines in July 2019 when he climbed The Shard without ropes. He served six months in jail for the stunt.

George describes how the exhilaration of his astonishing climbs sweeps him up in the moment, but that he is always conscious of the danger they present.

He explains: “There is a little voice in the back of your head thinking, is this the last moments on this planet? And that’s not just a throwaway comment, you genuinely do consider your own death.

“There are nerves, there’s intensity and I love that, I f****** love that. I love stepping into the fray.

George said he felt nerves and intensity on his death-defying climb

“Normally what I do is I look over the building, I just spread my arms aside and take a deep breath and just go for it.

“That’s why I do it – you’re grounded to the moment, so you can’t be thinking about what you did yesterday or what you’re doing tomorrow, or were police cars turning up, or what if I go to jail again, what’s my mum going to think?

“All you’re thinking about is survival and that’s the purest form of being grounded to the moment.”

George says that while he has attempted many stunts before, the Stratosphere Tower climb was inspired by the recent flooding in London which made him consider the impact of climate change and what he could do to raise awareness of it.

He says that the viral video of extreme flooding at Pudding Mill Station near the tower was the inspiration for the climb.

He says: “I’m no expert but I don’t think you have to be an expert on this to appreciate how obvious it is.

“I was in London a couple of weeks ago and there was a heat wave, it was f****** hot, and then a week later I was in Stratford and this Stratford station was under f****** water. And I was like, this is unbelievable.

“When I saw that flood I thought, what can I do to help raise awareness?

“So instead of trying to fully funnel all that publicity into myself, throughout my social media, and through all the interviews which I’ve had, I’ve spoken about the climate change and the contrast between the heatwave and the flood.

“Even if it persuades one person in this world to think about it a bit more, I think I would have done a job well done.”

King-Thompson shared the nerve-shredding video of his ascent of Stratosphere Tower to his 26,000 followers on Instagram, @shardclimber, where he regularly posts videos and photos of his climbs and other extreme stunts.

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