Seattle police arrested a 26-year-old man who climbed Aurora Bridge Tuesday night to get a good view of the Independence Day fireworks on Lake Union.

Share story

A man who was arrested for climbing Aurora Bridge says he did it to get an exclusive view of the fireworks show — and to test himself.

“I do enjoy climbing things,” Trevor Leong said. “It’s a sense of exclusivity when you’re up there. … You’re testing yourself every time.”

But before Leong could watch the fireworks show Tuesday night, police arrived arrested him on investigation of criminal trespassing.

A little after 9 p.m., Dutch tourist Justin van Schaick saw Leong climbing on the girders under the Aurora Bridge, which is more than 160 feet above Lake Union. Van Schaick snapped photos of Leong as he climbed the 160-foot-high steel underbelly of the bridge, illuminated by the sky nearing dusk.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

“He was carefully sliding from beam to beam and then finally stopped when he was far enough to be able to see the fireworks and took some selfies,” van Schaick said in an email recounting the incident.

Leong confirmed that he climbed the bridge, but said he wasn’t taking selfies — he was taking Snapchat photos of the view.

The Seattle Fire Department and police arrived soon after and told Leong to come down. Leong asked authorities whether he could wait until after the fireworks show to do so.

They said no.

Leong asked the police as he was coming down not to make a scene. He calls himself a thrill-seeker, and often posts photos of his urban climbs on Instagram.

He’s never had a run-in with the police, however, because he’s usually more careful: He almost decided against climbing the Aurora Bridge because it was still light out, people could see him and there was a heightened police presence in the area.

“I’m usually smarter about it,” Leong said. “I didn’t want it to be a big thing at all.”

Upon reaching the ground, Leong was arrested and booked into King County Jail on investigation of criminal trespassing, police said. He was released about midnight.