Date of birth: August 21,1999 (age 17)

Hometown: Fayetville, North Carolina

Education: Highschool (Junior)

Started Climbing: Age 6

Favorite Crag: The Red River Gorge

Home Climbing Gym/Team: Triangle Rock Club

Coaches: Emily Taylor/Shane Messer

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 155 lbs

Profession: Rock Climber  

Highest Redpoint Grade: 5.14d+ 

Status: Single 

"The thrill for me in climbing, is constantly pushing myself a little outside of my comfort zone and then fighting to rise to the challenge.  I'm less focused on the achievement of others, and more focused on how I progress in my own climbing."

Photo by Jacob Bodkin


Also Available on APPLE PODCAST

"I obviously knew going into it, I was doing something different, especially in my community.  

It was a big deal I was doing it because no one rock climbed.  

And the way out typically in an African American community is by being a basketball player.  Or a football player.  

Doing sports along those lines.  So by being a rock climber, I was definitely being outside the box."



Yosemite Legend Doug Robinson inspires L

Kai Lightner attempts his hardest route Erra Vella 9a/ 5.14d and sends it.

"When I first saw Era Vella, the route was even more incredible than the pictures. It was huge and a little intimidating. When I first began to climb it, I realized that the individual moves were not hard for me, but I knew it would be a beast to link the moves together. This was the first time that I had projected a route not knowing if I was capable of sending it. For 140 ft of climbing you have to stay 100% focused the whole time. Thre route is so sustained that I could only n1 or 2  good attempts a day. My strength diminshed with each attempt. There were times I made it past the crux moves on the route only to fall close to the top, on a jug, because my foot popped! I'm used to cameras at competitions, but having someone there to document my disaapointment, frustration, and failures, was incredibly difficult."

Climbers all have a story about thow they got started, and 14 year old Kai Lighter's introductionis particularly striking - and not only beacuse he's a brilliant climber. Much like Tiger Woods, he could change the demographics of climbing.  

Garbage Pail Kids 8c

2014 Ring of Fire

"I do the exact same routine everytime before I compete.  I listen to the same music.  I do the exact same exercise.  I do the exact same moves on the wall that pertains to how I warm up.  I schedule my warmup to the T.  So by the time I'm out, it feels exactly the same as I would do in a class.  I feel like by having a routine before you compete is the key to success."