Want to improve your climbing?

Consider this book written by my good friend Dr. Michael Layton:

It can be purchased here. It is an amazing collection of training and climbing tips.

I also was privileged to be able to write the foreword to the book.


by Wayne Wallace

Few authors are capable of capturing in words that passion that can come from the experience of climbing. Writing is one of the last things that I think of when I am exposed to this truly amazing game.  For me, writing is much more difficult than climbing. Yet it was reading the great books on climbing that shaped my early interest, and in what would soon become a big part of my life-long story. Learning from books as an elementary student taught me vital techniques, and sparked further interest in what seemed like an unreachable subject. Later, when I began viewing myself as an athlete, books helped target and refine my efforts. I learned that if you are smart, you don’t have to be as tough. Unreachable goals could be reached if you had the knowledge. The more knowledge you have as a climber, the harder you can climb. The more you can break down unimaginable tasks into pieces, the simpler they appear. To most, this was learned the hard way – through trial an error.

As the Northwest climbing scene ramped up in the new century after a decade of stagnation, it became apparent with each new climb, that Mike Layton was not just a lucky climber. In fact, after a huge amount of failures (he once approached a climb with a two day approach SIX TIMES!), his abilities, knowledge and passion have carried him and anyone associated with him to the top of what the climbing life can offer. His relentless success on big, new routes has hit legendary status. It is not easy to find a partner with as much hunger for such tough, wild climbs. It is also almost impossible to find someone who can endure such willingness to admit defeat, suffer endlessly, carry more than his weight, push himself further than his body should allow, and yet care more about the friendships that are created.

I remember once when we were fully beaten – I mean whipped – and he cracked a smile and made a joke so stupid that we both forgot what horrible mess we were in. Instead of giving up, he suggested we start again….after eight hours of bushwacking through thorn bushes in the rain, and wading in and out of a freezing river. Together, we made an impossible situation possible. And together, we free-climbed a big wall on the most remote peak in the lower 48 after a full day horrific false start. This is someone you ought to at least take a few notes from….

The alter ego of Mike’s personality is his profession in the field of medicine. As a patient of his, I have seen his depth of care he has for all people truly interested in helping and improving their bodies. I can’t think of anyone more suited to the task than a person as devoted as Mike (although if you met him in the mountains you would never guess to call him “Doctor Layton”).

You are about to read a thesis that will condense decades of climbing experience soaked in by one of the great teachers of climbing. Each chapter is really its own book. My favorite aspect of this book is the “geekery” of climbing tips and tricks that have never been in a climbing book (until now!).

Climbing is the best opportunity to do the truly amazing for the average person. It is a diverse sport that openly accepts all genders, ambitions, and backgrounds. It offers exotic travel, adventure, fitness, and a vast social network. A primitive void is satisfied in this modern and convenience oriented society.

This sport may or may not hold as much of your attention as it has mine, but either way, it is in your best interest to learn as much as possible about it if you are going to play this somewhat dangerous and eclectic pursuit. Being a more savvy and fit climber is not only safer, but success is greatly increased without the added struggle of being out-of-shape.

It is not easy to recognize opportunities at the time they are granted. They are usually clouded by the emotions that come from looming change. Careful thought is required. Haunting questions must be answered. Do you really want to do the upper echelon climbs? Are you up for the drudgery of a fitness routine?  I hope you make a few positive choices while reading ahead. I hope you choose to make the highest commitment to the safety and well being to yourself and the people that make your life possible. I hope you make the personal commitment to reach out and grab the highest and best that is available in this short life.

This book will assume a few things. You have not only answered yes to the questions above you are salivating over every word you are reading! You have already learned the basics. You intend to honor your time invested here and be accountable for it. You are ready to do the climbs that most can only dream about.

You are about to equip yourself with the final tools that can make these dreams come true. I enthusiastically support sharing your stories with us along the way!

Wayne Wallace.

Seattle, Washington. June 9, 2009

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