• Southern Smoke, 5.14C, at age 13
  • Era Vella, 5.14dmale to climb v14)
  • Youth World Champion
  • 5-time Youth World Championship medalist
  • 5-time Panamerican Champion (4 youth:1 adult)
  • 12 National Championship (10 youth;2 adult)

Kai Lightner

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 (the national governing body for competitive climbing) and attended his first sport climbing national championship competition in 2007. In 2010 Kai won his first sport climbing national championship. In September 2014, he 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. In 2015, at the age of 15, Kai became the Open/Adult Lead Climbing National Champion in his first year of eligibility. Overall, Kai has earned 12 National Championship titles (10 in youth categories; 2 in the adult circuit), and is a 5 time youth world championship medalist.

Kai has a passion for indoor competitive climbing and enjoys “pushing the limits” through outdoor sport climbing. In 2013 (at age 13), Kai reached new heights outdoors climbing his first 5.14a route (Proper Soul), followed by Southern Smoke (5.14c) two weeks later. Since that time, he has climbed numerous 5.14 graded routes, including his ascent of Era Vella (5.14d) in Margalef, Spain.