R.I.P. Hayden Kennedy(2017.10.07)

In early October of 2017, accomplished alpinist and climber Hayden Kennedy (age 27) and his partner Inge Perkins (23) died in an avalanche in a skiing trip.  According to related report, Hayden chose to take his life after he freed himself from the snow but could not locate his partner during the search for her.

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Both skiers are great climbers.  Hayden Kennedy has sent several renowned rock, alpine, and big wall routes. He climbed the southeastern ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia “by fair means” for the first time ever at the age of 21.  He is also the one first ascended the famous trad route “Carbondale short bus (5.14-).”  He kept a low profile, however, and, in his writings, one sees his deep understanding about the meaning of climbing, life, and death.

The following paragraphs are from his record of a certain big wall trip, written not long before his own death.  When he wrote the article, half of the partners of that trip had died in the mountains.

“I’ve never been a goal-oriented climber so I don’t really see the point in recording my climbs or hyping them up. I don’t really care that much about “sending” routes and I definitely don’t give a fuck if anyone knows when I do send something. I don’t have an 8a.nu scorecard. I don’t hashtag on Instagram. And I’m not on Facebook. I guess that makes me a shitty Millennial …

“I do, however, enjoy reading the “Day I Sent” series on Evening Sends. I’ve noticed many of these stories follow a similar storyline. It’s the classic “Hero’s Journey,” only with bolts and kneepads. The main climber finds the perfect project, battles both physical and psychological hurdles, comes to some kind of internal peace with the whole process, and eventually sends the motherfucker. End of story.
Part of what makes these stories enjoyable to read is that hard routes can bring out some really important, but not always obvious lessons. Routes ticked, cruxes overcome, and summits achieved can be super meaningful, but they’re also not the most important things in life.

“The true, lasting meaning, we like to say, is found in the friendships and partnerships that we build while pursuing our climbing goals.

“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.”

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Memorial video 

Climbing.com: Remembering Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins

Further reading: 沒有什麼話是心照不宣的,尤其是愛(by 小PO, in Chinese)

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