About Kai

Kai Lightner is a professional rock climber whose climbing journey began at the age of 6. At 14, Kai became Lead Youth World Champion, becoming the first American in 25 years to win a lead world championship title. By 15, he had won the Open National Championships in his first year of eligibility. To date, he has won 12 national titles, 5 Pan-American titles, and 5 Youth World Championship medals. Kai’s impressive resume extends to outdoor climbing as well; at 15, he climbed his first 5.14d route and in 2024 accomplished a 5.15 first ascent with Death of Villains (5.15a/9a+).

In addition to climbing, Kai is a freelance writer, public speaker, and has been featured in numerous documentaries. He also enjoys working with organizations focused on minority outreach in outdoor spaces. In 2020, Kai founded the nonprofit organization, Climbing for Change, which aims to connect underserved communities with individuals and organizations that seek to increase minority participation in rock climbing and the outdoor adventure industry.