"Don't fear being different...Always follow your dreams."
Kai is a world-class competitive rock climber that finds inspiration in pushing his limits outdoors on natural rock, and in the gym on the wall. He started climbing at his local gym at age six and became the Open/Adult Lead Climbing National Champion at age 15. When he’s not climbing or thinking about climbing, Kai can be found at school or studying at home in Fayetteville, North Carolina. As a senior honors student, Kai’s favorite field of study is mathematics. Though one might think a climber of Kai’s caliber is hyperfocused on a single bouldering problem or that next handhold, he ALWAYS finds a way to mix fun in with everything that he does. Climbing, school, hanging out with friends, and exploring new music sums of the life of this seventeen year old climbing phenom. Kai is a kid at heart with a talented gift for scaling some of the hardest routes in the world.
Kai Lightner By The Numbers
Earliest Memories of Climbing:
I’m not sure if climbing the basketball hoop to eat lunch (sitting on the basket) at age 4 counts?!? If not, my first formal experience rock climbing was at age 6 at a climbing gym. My current coach was on staff at the gym and he tortured me by putting me on increasingly difficult routes. I climbed well at first, and then the routes got so hard that I couldn’t complete them. I came back to the gym every day until I conquered those climbs. After that, I kept finding new projects to get hooked on. That pattern still hasn’t stopped...
A funny experience:
My claim to fame was teaching some of the international competitors how to twerk (dance) at the 2013 Youth World championship. I enjoy singing and dancing.