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Fayetteville's Kai Lightner is a U.S. climbing champion at ten years old

Posted July 30, 2010

Nothing defines being a kid quite like climbing, whether it's a tree or a rock wall. But for one young man from Fayetteville, climbing is a competition.

Kai Lightner is one of the best competitive climbers in the country; he’s already a US national team member at the age of 10 and Lightner had an aptitude for climbing very early.

“I had a mother bring her kid in and uh she said she found him on top of a basketball goal,” Lightner’s climbing Coach Shane Messer said.

Lightner’s mother reacted quickly.

“She was like Kai get down!” said Lightner.

And it wasn’t just a basketball goal that Lightner went after. His climbing led his mother to cut down the trees in their yard.

“Yes she did,” exclaimed Lightner, “all of them!”

But what began in the back yard has now evolved into a real past time. Lightner’s a national champion, by winning the sport climbing division for his age group this year, and as a member of the U.S. national team, he’s headed for Ecuador this year.

And while Kai climbs for fun there is also another motivation.

“When you get close to the top of the wall everyone screams, ‘Come on Kai! You can do it! You can make it get to the top!’ and when you get to the top,” Lightner says with a big smile, “everyone yells ‘Yeahhhh’!”


  US Climbing Champion at ten years old US Climbing Champion at ten years old

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  • Gunnstigator Jul 30, 8:35 p.m.

    I saw this piece on the 6:00 news. He's a cute kid, and he can really climb. Good luck to him.

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