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
Weight: 155 lbs
Profession: Rock Climber
Highest Redpoint Grade: 5.14d+
"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
KAI LIGHTNER PODCAST
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."
KAI LIGHTNER VIDEOS
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."