In 2006, six-year-old Kai Lightner walked into The Climbing Place in Fayetteville and discovered the world of 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, he won his first sport climbing national championship and 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, Lightner became the Open/Adult Lead Climbing National Champion in his first year of eligibility.
Lightner has a passion for indoor competitive climbing and enjoys “pushing the limits” through outdoor sport climbing.
In 2013, he reached new heights outdoors, climbing his first 5.14a and has ticked Era Vella 5.14d in Margalef, Spain.