World-renowned mountain climber Hayden Kennedy committed suicide shortly after his girlfriend died in an avalanche.
Kennedy, 27, and girlfriend Inge Perkins, 23, accidentally triggered an avalanche while skiing at Imp Peak in Bozeman, Mont. Perkins was buried 3 feet under the snow. Kennedy was able to dig himself out, as he was only partially buried. Unable to find Perkins in the avalanche, Kennedy was forced to abandon the search and left the area.
Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, reported that Kennedy left “incredibly clear directions” for searchers to find Perkins and returned to his home, where he took his own life.
“Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life,” his parents said in a statement.
Before Kennedy passed, he wrote a heartbreaking entry in the Evening Sends blog:
Over the last few years, however, as I’ve watched too many friends go to the mountains only to never return, 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. 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.