/ NEWS: VIDEO: Kai Lightner on Southern smoke, 8c+
SInce early March, he has visited the area three times, resulting in four "8b or harder": Ultra perm, 8b, Omaha Beach, 8b+, Proper Soul, 8b+, Transworld Depravity,...
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67974
Yet he still pissed it and made the whole thing look like a walk in the park! Loads of potential left...
The sky is the limit as this youngster "learns to use his feet"
Great to see talent at a young age.
What a great video. No ghastly music, for a start. Strange style, with those gawky long legs. Like.....well, like a teenager growing into his body. Didn't like he was getting too pumped to me - clearly nothing he couldn't handle, anyway.
Nice to see a good young black climber, as well. Would this be the hardest black ascent ever?!
> What a great video. No ghastly music, for a start.
I would much rather have had ghastly music than listen to the bloke going "nice kai, nice kai, good job kai, nice kai, nice kai" etc.
He made the climb look easy. Brill.
He was black? Funny thing to notice.
Yep, he made it look far too easy, in fact I got a bit bored watching him constantly dipping :o/
Very impressive! The guy didn't even have the decency to appear to be straining. For me, the video would have been even better without the idiotic, and it seemed, completely unnecessary running commentary from half way.
I just play Bowie's Heroes over all vids these days. Seems to go with everything.
What an incredibly thrilling piece of news.
> He was black? Funny thing to notice.
I noticed this too, but the only thought that came to mind was that it's a shame our sport is not more diverse in this regard. Perhaps it's different in the states but here in the uk I've noticed a lack of diversity in most outdoor pursuits, would be interested to hear people's theories why.
> I would much rather have had ghastly music than listen to the bloke going "nice kai, nice kai, good job kai, nice kai, nice kai" etc.
I never understand people's problem with this. You go to any sports crag abroad, you'll hear people shouting encouragement. Given that by and large they're climbing approximately an entire number grade harder than we are, maybe we should give that a try ourselves instead of moaning about it.
> He was black? Funny thing to notice.
He was. In other news for you, Ashima Shiraishi is Japanese-American.
Kai L was to all appearances belayed by his mother, who rather resembled the late gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
I've climbed alongside Kai and his mother a few times. It's a very inspiring sight and gives me hope that there are still good parents in this world. I think it is so awesome that his mom travels with him EVERYWHERE and belays him on EVERYTHING! Such a great story.
Just FYI, Kai lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which is nearly three hours drive from the closest outdoor climbing. To get on a route harder than 8b, he has to drive 5 hours to the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Southern Smoke, which is an 8c+ at the Red River Gorge, is an 8 hour drive from his home town.
> Nice to see a good young black climber, as well. Would this be the hardest black ascent ever?!
You mean like those brits doing the hardest pink ascents in Greece ?
Will be really interesting to see how he grows up/develops his style. At 13 he already seems fairly tall, if he keeps growing will offer a very different body type to the top sport climbers (5ft 10 and shaped like a doritio)
*fingers crossed for a lanky sport climbing hero
We still have a lot of racism and the lingering effects of historic racism. In London, black young people are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites. Climbing is largely a middle-class sport these days, and our middle-class isn't particularly diverse, sadly. It probably also comes down to wider heritage and cultural issues. My family lived in villages and always liked walks in the outdoors and that got passed down. Conversely, some parts of 'black' culture in this country probably don't encompass investigation of nature. Again, the roots of all this are highly suspect. Why did black people feel the need to live together in insular urban communities? Well, having spent much time in one of the quieter Dales, where very little has changed in the last 30 years, I wouldn't want to move there if I was black. Yes, I think it is great to see a young black climber, although it's up to him whether, in time, he decides to make an issue of that (by actively encouraging other black young people into the sport etc) or leave it be and let his presence speak for progress. Good on him either way.
Did you check out the size of his feet? They must be UK 10. Looks like he'll be pretty tall. I haven't seen Kai since he was 10 or 11 so I'm sure he has changed a lot since then.
In terms of sport climbing - he's likely already done all of the sport climbing available to him within a 4 hour drive. He's already sent some of the hardest routes at the New, which is 5 hours away. Most of the climbing in NC is trad and his closest crag is nearly all trad. Some very hard and high quality lines there as well. You don't really grow up climbing in NC w/o learning how to place gear so I have to wonder, at what point will he start climbing the hard trad rotues at Moore's Wall?
Does his mother climb at all?
I find that kind of dedication to her child's endevours impressive too. Maybe this is in part because I don't have children and can't imagine wanting to make the necessary sacrifices (yet?).
> Does his mother climb at all?
I'm guessing not, judging by her physique and worried expression in the glimpse one gets of her on the video, but I may be doing her an injustice.
Agreed, though it's hardly unique. My wife qualified as a gymnastics coach and spent many, many hours at it because my daughter was a gymnast, and my son plays rugby where the coaches are all parent volunteers spending six hours or so a week in the freezing cold so their kids can play, also football.
As you say, just you wait!
> completely unnecessary running commentary from half way.
I quite liked the running commentary, wasn't over top and was just genuine encouragement.
He is 13 for Christ's sake, give him a break!
1. Awesome climbing, he made a hard route look easy.
2. He's got massive feet.
3. He must have some magic dust in his chalk bag judging how often he stuck his fingers in it.
4. The commentary sounds more like its been taken from a dodgy 'adult' video.
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