Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
I didn’t have the heart to write this. Still don’t, really. I know some of you were being incredibly gracious during past hours, avoiding comments and allusions to this avalanche accident situation until we published something. I owe it to you to do so now, but I’ll keep it brief. Thanks for being gentle.
Our son Louie, Lisa and myself are devastated beyond what words can convey. As many of you’ve probably heard by now, our good friend and well known alpinist Hayden Kennedy was skiing with his girlfriend Inge Perkins, herself an accomplished mountaineer, in the Montana mountains. Inge perished in an avalanche, Hayden subsequently took his own life in despair over the loss of his loved one.
Hayden was of course the son of our longtime close friends Michael and Julie Kennedy, with whom we have shared many fine days in the hills.
It’s too soon for me to get into more detail than that (I’ll let the media do it anyway — no need here), and I’m too close to this for any analysis to be appropriate. We of course offer our love and support to Michael and Julie in every aspect of this desperate turn of events. Our hearts go out to them…
From Michael’s family statement via Facebook:
“Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life. He chose to end his life. Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision.”
I’m tempted to disable comment, to encourage all of you to leave condolences to Michael and Julie via social. I’ll leave comments open for now as I know it would be comforting to many people to see your kind words here in our WildSnow community, but please if you comment here also do so directly to MK and Julie. Their Facebooks are easily found, and so forth.
We will eventually do more in the way of tribute to the deceased, as well as tracking memorial services and such. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, embrace your loved ones, friends and families. Our sport is most often a blessing, but sometimes becomes something quite dark. Community and love help us see the light when the clouds gather.