Layton Kor, the King has died


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Boulder, CO
Apr 22, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Credit: nature

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Apr 22, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
Thanks for posting that pic Werner!

... a classic of Layton and Pat. That and other photos posted on this thread bring the legendary into historical (and human) dimensions.

Social climber
Apr 22, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
nobody threw larger
Thanks Layton

Gold Canyon, AZ
Apr 22, 2013 - 08:28pm PT
I was very saddened to hear this. What a huge loss to the entire climbing community. As others have noted, reading about Kor's adventures played a big part in my personal development as a climber.

rick d

ol pueblo, az
Apr 22, 2013 - 08:28pm PT

Thanks for breaking so much new ground in the desert and especially leading that damn chimney pitch on shangri la.

I will try to keep up the good work.
the albatross

Gym climber
Apr 22, 2013 - 08:47pm PT
I had the pleasure of meeting Layton a few years ago. We climbed several first ascents together in western AZ and NV. Layton still had a perpetual enthusiasm for the sport despite being in miserable health. His memory of climbs done 40-50 years ago (with some of you folks posting) was incredible. That man loved to climb rocks.

On one little desert junkoid tower we climbed, my buddy free soloed 30' up the first pitch, placing some cams to help insure Layton had some decent gear. I still vividly recall Layton pounding in a wretched pin ('bong, bong, bong', instead of 'ting, ting'). Then him yelling down, "slack" (as he clipped in the lead rope up above). About 50' up, with no good gear for miles, Layton stepped out of his aiders and free climbed another 30' to a ledge. I'm watching from the ground below, fearing the worst, screaming, "LK get some gear in" when Layton yells out, "this is great, just like the Dolomites!"

I was honored to climb with Layton on one of his last climbs. Ron Olevsky had arranged a trip to a remote sandstone outcrop lost in the desert Southwest. We ended up camping in an area filled with spires and fins. Layton must have been psyched to climb because by sunrise we saw him a mile away, high up on the hillside. Heading directly for the tallest unclimbed spire in the area. The three of us quickly racked and met him at the base of the only line on the formation. The rest is history.

Layton Kor on Spire of Fire.
Layton Kor on Spire of Fire.
Credit: the albatross

We met to go fishing a couple of times. In one instance we met at the park entrance, my buddy and I got turned around and ended up canoeing a mile to meet Layton by the dock. It took maybe 20 minutes to get there. We pull up and ask him how we is doing. "oh, I've caught about 7". I think surely he's jiving with me. Soon enough he hooks one, Karen takes it off the hook and pulls up a basket full of Crappie fish.

Layton was always very grateful and amazed at the kindness and generosity shared by the climbing community. Many people helped out during his last few years and he was always quick to share his gratitude. I know he was especially thankful for Ron Olevsky and Stewart Green for doing so much for him.

Rest in Peace Layton Kor. Your legacy lives on in the hearts and souls of generations.



Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 22, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Just back from the desert and heard the sad news. A towering figure in American climbing who i didn't really know personally but whom i met on several ocassions. Kudos to Pat Ament and Ron Oleskey. Pat for putting his deeds into words and Ron, especially, for providing support and being Layton's best friend in his years of need.

climber's near nevada...
Apr 22, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. *Everywhere* you go in Colorado Kor was there ages ago and already took the proud line...Everywhere...

Matt Thomsen

Big Wall climber
Apr 22, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
True climbing icon! Did not know much about him until I did the Kor Roof in 2004. After climbing the south face I was psyched on wall climbing and started looking into the history of big walls in North America... Which Layton was a huge part of and inspires me to this day.

RIP, and thanks!

portland, Oregon
Apr 22, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
R.I.P. A legend and inspiration has passed.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 22, 2013 - 09:57pm PT

Layton, the GREAT ONE!

My condolences to his family and friends.
You'll be missed.

Trad climber
Joshua Tree
Apr 22, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
Kor was one of the biggest figures in North American climbing. When I was four years old I met Latyon at the base of El Cap. I vividly remember seeing a giant of a man with racks of bongs and coils of rope around his neck. He took the time to speak to me: That was when I decided that I would climb El Cap one day.

Throughout my formidable years as an aspiring climber in Yosemite I was repeatedly faced with some monstrosity that Kor had climbed when I was still in diapers. We used to cringe when his name came up on a FA list, as you knew the climbing would be the real deal. Over the years I had the pleasure of climbing a number of great routes that Kor had been on the FA of. Every one was memorable; great lines, spectacular climbing in amazing places.

A salute is due to one of the great heroes of American climbing!

The Warbler

the edge of America
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
Layton was a lucky man - he had the eye and the skills long before America caught on to climbing.
He obviously has the respect and affection of climbers in general - a life well lived.

The Naked Edge is one of my favorite routes anywhere and the name is one of the most classic in American climbing history along with Layton Kor's.

So RIP Layton - your spirit lives on the cleanest of lines.

julia kor

Social climber
makawao, Hawaii
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
I am Julia Kor Layton Kors firstborn daughter, I really appreciate all the respect and kind words regarding the passing of my father, I miss him already and I'm sad that he wasn't well enough to visit his grandsons Dorian and Atom, In Hawaii where me and my brother jaime live.
Layton also has a Wife Karen and a son 20 Arlan, any donations to help with funeral costs and helping with his wife and sons future will be greatfully appreciated.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
It is wonderful to read all the posts by those that climbed with and knew Layton.

Thank you for posting your personal and significant memories of a true American Climbing Legend.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
Thank you sir for all the great climbs you left for us.

Pat and Ron and the Kor family, I hope your memories are bringing more smiles than tears tonight.

I sit here in Bishop after two days of beautiful climbing. Getting back into the life I always loved. This just reminds me how special it all is.

RIP one of our .. words fail.

Layton Kor

the name says it all
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:51pm PT
Yes, thank you Ron for the help you gave Layton. And thanks to
everyone who helped him. There have been many individuals who have
played each an important part, and in many different ways.
And thanks to Layton himself for the strength he has given others, the
generosity when he was in no real position to be generous. Back when
Roger Briggs spearheaded that fundraiser for me, for which I remain
grateful and humbled, Layton sent me two hundred dollars. It's one
thing when you happen to have lots of money, and you give. It's another
thing when you have virtually nothing, and you give. An occasion
when I visited him in Arizona I tried to return the favor, to give
him a couple hundred, at a moment when things were a little better
for me. He would have no part of it and refused utterly, presumably
because he knew I was in a similar income bracket as he. The bottom
line of it all is that Layton was (and remains in our hearts and minds)
a very good person, the best of persons, so funny we laughed until our
stomachs ached, and so wild and terrifying at times we could only
muse at our survival. It is difficult to comprehend how some of my
best friends could be Layton, John Gill, Royal Robbins, Tom Higgins, and
such individuals. It's like an aspiring artist falling into the
company and care of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt... Layton
truly was at that order of greatness, a simple, humble, not-so-well-
educated, but brilliant spirit. Just look up at the sky at sunset and
imagine Layton's spirit filled the vast space of the world. He
touched people everywhere, came here for a few years, won our love,
and departed -- but not without leaving that spirit with us. Just
look up and into that infinite light and feel the expanse of
existence that was -- shall we remember at this moment -- inhabited
by one precious friend.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:51pm PT
Kor was in the pantheon of superheros of my climbing youth. He was part of the fabric of the climbing enterprise, a tapestry woven from legend and real deeds, and the news of his passing made me catch my breath.

Other than a brief introduction in the Gunks, I didn't know him. But we all knew him, all of us. I understood from his friends and partners that he was a force of nature, but didn't realize until this moment the extent to which his presence and his deeds were somehow a part of my life too, shaping my view of the world of climbing.

And so, not really knowing him and yet indelibly influenced by his character and his climbs, I guess I thought---even though I knew better---that he would always be with us. And now he is not, except in spirit, in the memories of those who really did know him, and in the legacy of climbs bequeathed to us.

And so we are reminded that even our superheros have their turn on the stage, and then the curtain falls. Most of us have had bit parts, but Layton was one of the Leading Men, and in his passing we suffer not only the loss of a man, but also the passing of an era, when walls were very big and we were very small and heroes ventured forth into the vertical unknown.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Apr 22, 2013 - 11:58pm PT
Ahh, Rich, so beautiful and eloquent as always. That image of
the "stage...." I think when we have the right perspective,
almost everyone has the potential to be someone we love, some
member of the great play, without whom the play would... fail. Of
course you too are one of those significant spirits, my dear Rich.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 23, 2013 - 12:00am PT
The Great One

Credit: TomCochrane
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