27-year-old Hayden Kennedy and his girlfriend Inga Perkins went on a ski tour together last weekend. Inga was spilled by an avalanche and died. One tragedy was followed by the next: One day later, American climber Hayden Kennedy took his own life.
Just two weeks ago, Hayden philosophized in the blog Evening Sends on the sunny and dark sides of mountain sports: "" I've realized something painful. It's not just the memorable summits and crux moves that are fleeting. Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too. "He adds:" This is the painful reality of our sport, and I'm unsure what to make of it. Climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse. "
Hayden Kennedy: More than just a talented climber
Black Diamond, sponsor of Hayden, yesterday published an extensive obituary.
To say Hayden what a talented climber would be an understatement. Hayden-or HK as we call him-really represented in our sport. Hey what, with all intents and purposes, a climber who transcended barriers. From high-end 5.14 sports routes at his home crag in Rifle, Colorado to 5.14 trad lines in the Creek, ascent of Cerro Torre's Southeast Ridge in Patagonia with Jason Kruk, or his first ascent with Kyle Dempster and Josh Warton on the south face of the Ogre in Pakistan.
Hard to capture the whole picture
Yet, even the run-on list of incredible achievements hardly captures the whole picture. In truth, trying to share the full breadth of HK's transcendental abilities in the vertical world, which effortlessly cultivated in a mere 27 years, is impossible.
But to be clear, he was by no means an elitist. In fact, as if born a different generation, HK was a staunch believer in walking the walk, not talking the talk. He clung to his malfunctioning, archaic flip phone as if it were a crucial piece to his rack. In short, HK climbed to climb, not to spray. And it was the moments in the mountains that mattered to him, not "instatweetingmyfacegram" as he would often joke with his friends.
Music was part of his life
HK's depth went well beyond climbing, however. In high school, he sax, and recently he used the musical theory to recover the guitar while recovering from a torn ACL in his hometown of Carbondale, Colorado. He diligently practiced during the length of that winter's recovery, and soon had a repertoire of songs that hinted at his eclectic tastes in music. From old school country to classic rock, to German electronica, he used it all with the same ease that he applied to his climbing. Alpine, sport, trad; country, metal, folk. To HK, it was all good.
Expeditions had a greater range
For someone so multi-faceted, just climbing was not enough. Whether he was talking at length about his latest reading list, or immersed in the finer points of baking bread, HK was constantly searching for new avenues of self-expression, and new ways to live. He often wrote about his expeditions to the greater ranges-frequent publishing pieces in Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Evening Sends and other mags and websites and his ability to weave a meaningful narrative through the trials and tribulations of climbing was innate. He thus incorporated this skill into his live presentations, where he would be in a life of climbing.
Inge was his source of dedication
What he had recently found, though, what Inge. Inge Perkins was every bit Hayden's equal. A brilliant climber, skier, and beautiful soul, Inge was HK's latest source of dedication-and his commitment was unwavering as always.
Early ski tour
Inge and HK had moved to Bozeman, Montana, together in the last few months. On Saturday, October 7, they headed into the backcountry of southwestern Montana for an early season ski tour. On Saturday Inge was killed in an avalanche. Unable to bear the loss of his partner in life, the following day, Sunday, October 8, Hayden Kennedy took his own life.
Credits: Picture Black Diamond