posted by dpm on 04/07/2013
Less than a week after a send of Proper Soul (5.14a) at the New River Gorge, Kai Lightner has sent Southern Smoke (5.14c) at the Red River Gorge. This is Kai's fourth 5.14 route and his first 5.14c.
Prior to March of 2014, Kai's hardest route was the Madness (5.13c) at the Red River Gorge. Over the past month, Kai and his mother have taken three separate climbing trips of three to four days. The first trip was to the Red in early March. Kai sent his first 5.13d (Ultra Perm) and his first 5.14a with Omaha Beach. Three weeks later, he visited the New and ticked off Proper Soul (5.14a). Then this past weekend he returned to the Red and sent Transworld Depravity (5.14a) and Southern Smoke (5.14c).
This is a remarkable one month tick list that puts Kai on par with the best young climbers out there. Kids these days... Just a few years ago, 5.14a was the new 13a. Now 14c is the new 14a. Well done Kai.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Proper Soul was Kai's first 5.14. It has been updated. Thanks to Constance Lightner for the info.
Kai Lightner on Southern Smoke (5.14c). Photo: Elodie Saracco. Elodie is a resident Red River Gorge photographer that is a great source for pictures from the Red and around the world. Check out more photos of Kai and follow her on Facebook at Elodie Saracco Photographic.