In 2006, six year old Kai Lightner walked into the Climbing Place in Fayetteville, NC and discovered the world of rock climbing. That year he began competing in the USA Climbing organization, and attended his first Sport Climbing Series National Competition in 2007. As an active competitor in the USA Climbing youth circuit, Kai has earned 7 National Championship titles, 3 Pan American Championship titles, and 11 US Team designations. In September 2014, Kai earned the gold medal for his age category (14-15) at the Youth World championship in Noumea, New Caledonia, becoming the first American Lead World Champion since 1995.
Kai has a passion for indoor competitive climbing and enjoys “pushing his limits” through outdoor sport climbing. In 2013, Kai reached new heights outdoors, climbing his first 5.14a route. Since that time, he has ascended 10 sport climbs 5.14a – 5.14d.
He aims to continue tackling new outdoor challenges, and one day compete in World Cup climbing competitions. Winter or Summer? Summer, definitely. I can barely function when I am cold. Every time I see climbing pictures with snow in the background, my hands get cold and I start to shiver.
What’s in your fridge right now? Chipotle. I LOVE CHIPOTLE. #chipotleislife
What did you do growing up that got you into trouble? Duh…… climb everything. When I was 5, my proudest ascent was my free solo climb from the 3rd floor balcony to the fourth floor balcony above, at my aunt’s apartment. I knew I could do it, and I was so proud of myself for making it happen. Unfortunately, no one else shared my excitement. I was grounded a long time for that one.