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Kai and Era Vella

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Era Vella, one of Spain’s most popular and revered climbs, was established by Chris Sharma in 2010, and in 2015 young Kai Lightner got to climb the route with its creator. Sounds like something of dreams for new climbers, and the reality of the opportunity was not lost on Kai.

Kai was embarking on an adventure that was a first for him—

attempting a 9a and filming the whole thing. Cameras are present at most his competitions, but having the videographer catch the whole trip, from travel to strategy, failures to hopeful successes, was more than a few snaps of Kai on the rock. He had chosen Era Vella as the route to dedicate this first ascent to, and the time had come to conquer this feat.

“Climbing with Chris Sharma gave me renewed determination. He is amazing.”

“When I first saw Era Vella, the route was even more incredible than the pictures. It was huge and a little intimidating.” The first days of climbing did not pale to the intimidation Kai felt from his initial gaze upon the rock. He had moments of self-doubt and concern of his ability to make the send. But the guidance and positive affirmation from Chris, and lots and lots of hardnosed effort renewed his spirits.

The trip in its entirety was 10 days, and after 6 days of hard

climbing, battered hands, and a few disappointing near ascents, Kai was dialed in, focused, and determined. He moved with grace and control, and with the first go of the day, he conquered Era Vella.

“All of my frustration, the pain of my bloody fingers, and the doubt of accomplishing this goal, all went away the instant I clipped the anchors! Mission accomplished!”

-prAna Ambassador Kai Lightner