29 November 2023

Kai Lightner completes Life of Villains (9a)

Kai Lightner made his first headlines when he sent Southern Smoke (8c+) at age 13, in 2012. The next year, he won the Youth World Championship and completed Era Vella (9a). Life Of Villains (9a) at the Hurricave marks his first 9a since then and Kai says on Instagram. "After all these years, I had almost completely given up on myself…

"Completing Life of Villains means more to me than just sending a route. It represents a personal and psychological win I needed for myself. Recently something shifted in me. After graduating college and refocusing myself, I realized my body worked perfectly fine. I realized I was just as capable of pushing my limits now as I was as a gangly teenager with big hopes and dreams. I realized I could accomplish whatever I put my mind to, in whatever body God gifted me with. Sending Life of Villains is only the beginning of that dream being realized."
Newly release video: Reflecting forward

What have you been up to over the last months leading up to this ascent?
For the past couple months, I’ve been focused on raising my overall fitness for hard outdoor lead climbing. After spending the entire month of August pursuing a multi-pitch project, I reserved September and October exclusively for training and building up my power endurance. A normal day of training for me usually involves a light non-climbing morning session involving cardio, stretching, and a short workout. Then, I’ll do a 2-3 hr afternoon session of climbing, usually on a kilter or tension board. I also reserve a couple days a week for some hard lead climbing sessions! Luckily, my fitness was just enough by the time I showed up to Life of Villains! (c) Dizzyfilms
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