'This is the painful reality of our sport, and I'm unsure what to make of it. Climbing is either a handsome gift or a curse'.
Hayden Kennedy survived the avalanche that claimed the life of his girlfriend, Inge Perkins, 23, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. He was able to dig himself out from the 150-foot-wide slide and left a note with "incredibly clear directions for where to find her" when he couldn't.
As a rescue team set out to look for Perkins on Sunday, Kennedy committed suicide at his home in Bozeman, according to the Denver Post.
It's understood Kennedy desperately searched for Perkins before leaving the area and taking his own life.
Doug Chabot, director of the avalanche center, said Kennedy did not call 911 to report the slide.
Perkins had an avalanche transceiver in her backpack, but it was turned off, Chabot said.
Kennedy's family released a statement on his death Tuesday. Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life.
In September - only a week before his death - he wrote for the blog Evening Sends about the loss of friends in the wilderness. Reflecting on his ascent of Logical Progression in Mexico alongside Chris Kalous, Kyle Dempster, and Justin Griffin, Hayden remarked: 'There's no easy way to say this, but half that team is now dead.' Hayden wasreferring to Griffin, who died in Nepal in 2015, and to Dempster's disappearance in Pakistan's Ogres previous year.
Hayden Kennedy, who famously climbed Cerro Torre of Patagonia in South America in 2012, was remembered by his family as an "uncensored soul whose accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness". Justin died in Nepal in 2015.
"He chose to end his life", Michael Kennedy wrote on Facebook after his son's death. "Their absence from this world is felt by so many who are left in a wake of confusion, anger, and frustration".
He was well-known within the sport for, among other feats, climbing the Southeast Ridge in Patagonia's Cerro Torre in 2012 and removing numerous bolts placed there more than four decades earlier by Italian climber Cesare Maestri, according to the Associated Press. "Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision", Michael Kennedy wrote. I see both light and dark in climbing.
Kennedy was working on his EMT certification and Perkins was working on her bachelor's degree in mathematics and education at Montana State University before they passed.
Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins were the outdoorsy and adventurous couple you love and hate a little because you're the type of girl who would rather eat a meal and watch Netflix than go rock climbing.