Layton Kor, the King has died


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John Ely

Trad climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Credit: John Ely

Credit: John Ely

My very first big wall was the south face of washington column when I was 17 with my high school buddy John Middendorf in 1978. He was already over 6 feet tall and got to do the kor roof. Here's a shot of him rapping after fixing that and the next pitch, and one of two happy people who have finished their first big wall. Layton Kor did routes that can provide that much pleasure for young adventurers. His spirit will continue to live. Unless this fantastic route someday goes the way of the Bonatti Pillar, I predict that his spirit will live for as long as humans remain on this earth...

Sonoma, CA
Apr 24, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
Layton in action in the Bugaboos, 1960
Layton in action in the Bugaboos, 1960
Credit: pix4u

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Apr 24, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#205080
the albatross

Gym climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Great pics everyone!

Layton on the sharp end 1/2010
Layton on the sharp end 1/2010
Credit: the albatross

Note the tag LK had sewn on his beanie.  It says "BOLD"
Note the tag LK had sewn on his beanie. It says "BOLD"
Credit: the albatross

Trad climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
So sad...

Mountain climber
Superior, CO
Apr 24, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
I really need to dig through my photo archive - Dave Dornan passed me some shots of Layton he took in and around Eldo. I think they were taken in 1960 or thereabouts. Dave had been guiding in the Tetons for a few years and moved to Boulder to attend CU, where he met Kor. Kor didn't really understand rope management according to Dave, so Dave mentored him. (and made him get rid of his lightweight nylon "climbing rope") Realize that at that time, Dave was very proud of his own abilities, so when it only took Layton "a couple of months" to surpass him, it took some ego adjustment on Dave's part. Dave liked to tease Layton for whining at the crux of the Yellow Spur.

The last time I saw Layton, he was down-soloing a pitch I was having trouble getting the nuts up to lead. We all play different roles in this existence.

Rest in peace.
Allen Hill

Social climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
In his favorite chair at my house. Many a climbing book was read in it...
In his favorite chair at my house. Many a climbing book was read in it.
Credit: Allen Hill

Trad climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
What a bad ass...he will always ROCK!
Erik Vance

Trad climber
Mexico City, DF
Apr 24, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
Rest in peace, Mr. Kor. I only knew you from doing your routes. I suppose that's the best way, though. Keep climbing.

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Apr 24, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
Those photos are very special. In particular Cameron, I really enjoyed the ones with Dave Rearick. How is he doing? I worked for him when I was majoring in math at CU in the Module Dept. and haven't seen him in years.

Another question for anyone that knows. I'm ashamed to say (as a long-time admirer of Boulder climbing legends) that I don't know if Larry Dalke is still around. I haven't seen his name or picture here. Does anyone know. Certainly if he is, he would be interested in the news.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Apr 24, 2013 - 03:15pm PT
Off belay, Layton. You left us a legend. Well done.

Mountain climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 03:38pm PT
1964 FA of Burkett Needle.

If today's climbers have achieved greatness it is because they stood on the shoulders of yesterday's giants, such as Layton Kor, truly a giant among men.

Trad climber
new paltz, ny
Apr 24, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
rip laton. i enjoyed reading about your adventures from back in the day

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 24, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
There are some nice longer tributes to Layton on

Two of them come from cousins of his. Kordeen Kor whom I heard much about from Layton in recent years, fills in many of the missing years when Layton was away from climbing and living in the Phillipines and Guam.

Both cousins touch on something not mentioned about him yet.

Kordeen Kor noted,

"He never wanted to flaunt his accomplishments and often spoke to me about how he was not interested in making his life and climbing into a spectacle."

and third cousin Barry Johnson wrote:

"The thing I learned from Layton over the brief 4 ˝ years I knew him was to never stop exploring. Don’t rest or brag about what you’ve already done. Always look for the undone and do it. Keep your mind active with learning new things. Take time for other people. And “Getting old is no fun”. "
JU Vegas

Las Vegas, NV
Apr 24, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
I'm glad to see Layton's family writing about the non-climbing side of him. His legendary status in alpinism has taken on a life of its own, and has spun into something very grand. But it shouldn't be forgotten that his super human drive was also directed at love and devotion for his family. I met Layton only about seven years ago, and had the great fortune to rope up with him a couple of times, on virgin rock, of course. Due to kidney failure, walking winded him in minutes, but he came alive on the vertical terrain, navigating with grace over cracks and choss alike. Then the months and years robbed his body of the strength to hike and climb. He was pale and struggled to be comfortable, even confined to home. What irony for this great mountain man to be challenged in this way! But he answered me that he continued to live for the love of his wife and son. The valor that drove him to outrageous vertical places, was now directed toward places of the heart.

Jorge and I were blessed to have an afternoon with Layton, hours before he passed. He slept some. He talked some, and was conscious to the end, I'm told. He refused to be drugged up because he wanted every precious minute with his wife and son. Let us send our thoughts and prayers to Karen and Arlan, for Layton is irreplacable.

Joanne Urioste

Big Wall climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Apr 24, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
I will never forget reading an article about a climb Layton did with (Pat Ament I believe) that captured his essence. That amazing inspirational spirit of his...never forgot it. Layton catalyzed a new mindset for my approach to climbing..after that. Focus and get the hell up that pitch.. Attack it, no wasted energy over thinking it...dawdling..especially big walling...focus and go, now! Thank you improved my life

Trad climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Condolences to family and friends. The Kor stories are legend.

As others have said, Ron O went the distance.

Peace to you Layton.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 24, 2013 - 10:17pm PT
Well, I haven't quite gone the distance yet until I see that Arlan and Karen have the resources that they need to go on.

A friend of hers is coming out from CA tomorrow to help her. Some elders from her church came by. They will have a service, but Karen told Jody today that she wants there to be a climbers memorial service at some point in the future, and that he and I should plan a good location.

So for those who were anticipating a trip shortly in order to pay your respects, hold off.
I'll back and forth with Jody and some friends in Boulder. Well put something special together.

For now Karen is a bit overwhelmed, but she has people helping her.
Allen Hill

Social climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 10:53pm PT
Great photos Albert!
the albatross

Gym climber
Apr 25, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Allen your photos are equal treasures. As are Camerons' and all the other photos, letters and memories posted. It is incredible how many lives and hearts over so many generations that Layton touched. And his spirit lives on in the countless cliffs Layton sought out all over the world.

Joanne that was special roping up with you and Layton and Kevin on that lost desert fin. I wish I had some pics to share. Even with his debilitating health challenges Layton wanted to keep climbing as long as he could which is what he did. That man sure loved to climb rocks.

Layton was far more than just simply a climber. We spent hours discussing fishing which seemed every bit as much a passion. He told me about spear fishing in Guam. He talked about frying fish in the Black Canyon and in the Wind Rivers at the base of those mighty walls. And of course we yucked it up about the local fishing. We got out fishing a couple times, once with great success another with a strike out, such is the sport.

Layton would always comment on any fancy masonry we drove near. Having seen the brickwork on his front porch one can only imagine the sort of masterpieces he created.

I miss that man, he sure was one of a kind.

Ron please keep us posted on any sorts of ceremonies. And let us know what we can do to help Karen and Arlan.

Albert Newman

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