A world-renowned hiker committed suicide Sunday after his girlfriend was killed during an avalanche the day before.
Hayden Kennedy, 27, and Inge Perkins, 23, triggered an avalanche while they were hiking up to Imp Peak, a mountain in Montana’s Madison Range, on October 7.
Deadspin reports that both hikers were swept up in the slide – which was 300 feet long and 150 feet wide – and were forced down to the bottom of the slope. Kennedy was only partially covered and was able to free himself. He searched for Perkins, but the 23-year-old was fully buried. After failing to locate her, Kennedy returned home and took his life the next day.
Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, said Kennedy didn’t alert anyone to the incident before he committed suicide, but he did leave a note with “incredibly clear directions for where to find [Perkins],” according to Outside.
Chabot said that Perkins did had an avalanche beacon, but it was turned off and in her bag.
After Kennedy committed suicide, his father released a statement calling his son an “uncensored soul whose accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness.”
“He chose to end his life. Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision.”
The 27-year-old was known as one of the world’s best climbers.
Many friends took to social media to honor both Perkins and Kennedy’s lives.
In Memory of Hayden Kennedy It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our friend, Ambassador and true brother of…
Black Diamond Equipment took to Facebook to honor Kennedy, and the couple’s loving relationship.
“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.”
The two had recently moved to Bozeman, Montana while Perkins worked on her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education at Montana State University and Kennedy earned his EMT certification, according to PEOPLE.
Kennedy wrote an essay for the climbing blog Evening Sends just weeks before his death that talked about the many friends he had lost to the sport over the years.
“Over the last few years, 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.”
[Feature Photo: Instagram]