King-Thompson climbing the building

Free climber scales London skyscraper in climate stunt

A free-climber who was imprisoned two years ago for climbing the U.K.'s tallest skyscraper scaled another building on Tuesday, this time to draw attention to climate change.

George King-Thompson climbed up the 36-storey Stratosphere Tower, a residential block in Stratford in east London.

It took him less half an hour to reach the top.

The former personal trainer, who's 21, said he chose the building because he was shocked by flash floods that recently hit the area.

Pudding Mill Lane, a subway station in Stratford, was one of eight stations that were closed because of flooding on July 25, when almost a month's worth of rain fell in central London.

"I wanted to raise awareness to the seriousness of climate change at the moment, because only a week before that, there was a heat wave throughout London," King-Thompson said.

"I hope to raise awareness by climbing this building to urge political leaders to take action immediately."

The young climber said he spent a week preparing for the climb, studying every aspect and surface of the 147-meters (482-feet) building and trying to climb a few floors overnight in secret.

But there was one thing he wasn't prepared for.

"First eight floors, the windows were sticky. They had grip. But eight floors and above, they didn't. So, it's very slippery, which I underestimated," he said.

King-Thompson admits climbing buildings is a dangerous exercise but stressed he planned the climb so he would not be a danger to the public or cause disruptions.

He also made clear that he was not encouraging people to climb buildings.

Police said they dispatched a helicopter to search the area Tuesday after they received a call that a man "was spotted at height" in Stratford.

They said officers attended but did not locate the climber.

King-Thompson was arrested after scaling the Shard in London - the U.K.'s tallest skyscraper at 310 meters (1,017 feet) tall - in 2019 after the owners of the building pressed charges against him for trespassing.

He was sentenced to six months in prison in October 2019 and served three.