Another great Mountaineer passes on Layton Kor (RIP)

I have always had a few heroes in the World of mountaineering Layton Kor was one of them. Many of today’s climbers will know little of him but in his day he was one of the finest. I read about in the famous winter ascent of the Harlin Direct on the Eiger during the 60’s. It was after this when the fixed rope broke and John Harlin was killed that Layton gave up climbing and returned to his home in Colorado where his attitude toward climbing changed. Later that year Kor did reluctantly join Wayne Goss and Bob Culp to make the first winter ascent of the Diamond, but that was of his last major climbs and he quite the sport altogether in 1968 and became a Jehovah’s Witness. My brother met him in Bermuda in the 80’s  and had a long chat with him where he was presenting a lecture on mountaineering. He signed his book for me and I still have it. He wrote some kind words for me in it, not the usual but one I will cherish.

Layton Kor was  pre-eminent in American mountaineering. He was considered the best rock climber of his generation, and his list of first ascents of technically difficult rock climbs, both free and aid, is perhaps unmatched by any American climber. In this book Kor tells the story in his own words of these ground breaking and suspenseful climbs. Supplementing Kor’s narrative are twenty-three accounts written by other leading climbers of the 1960s and 1970s, describing ascents they did with Kor: Royal Robbins, Fred Beckey, Pat Ament, Chris Bonington, Steve Roper, Huntley Ingalls, and many more share their perspectives. Kor’s climbs have become some of the most famous routes in the world-the Naked Edge in Eldorado Canyon, the Diamond on Longs Peak, the Salathe Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite, the North Face of the Eiger in the Alps…the list goes on. Written in a straightforward and engaging style, and accompanied by stunning, historical colour photographs, Beyond the Vertical is a must-have for all rock climbers and armchair mountaineers alike.

Beyond The Vertical.

Beyond The Vertical.

Layton died of Kidney failure many of his climbing friends started fundraising for him in the USA. The fundraising effort started in late March, 2009 after Ed Webster, Stewart Green and Dennis Jump visited and climbed with Kor in western Arizona. Seeing that he was ailing and struggling to pay for his tri-weekly dialysis, hospital stays and medication, Green put together a small fundraiser to help offset medical costs. Initially, Green started selling signed photos of Kor on some of his historic climbs. The first two images he sold were of Kor’s 1963 first ascent of Monster Tower, just outside Moab, Utah. He died on the 23 April penniless  what a tragic end to an incredible man. How lucky are we that we have a National Health  Service in the UK, Illness is tragic enough without having to worry about paying for treatment.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
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3 Responses to Another great Mountaineer passes on Layton Kor (RIP)

  1. Dick Dorling says:

    C:\Users\lionel\Desktop\Climbing Video Steph Davis, Castleton and Diamond Free Solo — All Climbing.htm

    RIP Layton, You were a Giant in every way,

    The link above shows Steph Davis climbing the Diamond free solo.
    She was one of the early fund raisers for Layton.

    Dick

    Like

  2. Dick Dorling says:

    Sorry this link may work better

    Like

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