Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hayden Kennedy: A Celebration of Accomplishments

by Brian Wright

Colorado Mountaineering was sickened to learn yesterday about the deaths of Hayden Kennedy and his partner/girlfriend Inge Perkins. 

Screenshot from an interview where Kennedy describes his
decision to chop bolts off the Compressor Route on
Cerro Torre in Patagoina
Hayden Kennedy was a living legend in my mind, and a climber I looked up to as someone I could only dream of emulating. I first met him when he was still a young teenager learning how to whitewater kayak. I was an instructor at the local whitewater paddling shop at the time, and remember being impressed by Hayden and his entire family. I never got to know Hayden very well. In fact, he probably wouldn't have remembered my name if I saw him on the street. But I remembered him and I always felt a bit in awe of his understated skills and humility.

I was very touched by a poignant article he wrote for eveningsends.com just a few weeks ago. I read it last night after hearing the news of this terrible sequence of events. Some of his incredibly well-written words are even more moving in retrospect, knowing what was looming unknown in his near future. His article can be read here.

The details of this tragedy have been reported on by numerous news outlets. One informative article can be found on Climbing Magazine's website. The purpose of this post, however, is to celebrate some of Kennedy's accomplishments and share a few videos that highlight his tremendous success and skill as a mountaineer and a person.

Kennedy and Kyle Dempster discussing their climb on the South Face of the Ogre in Pakistan for which they won the Piolets d'Or, the most prestigious award in climbing. (Note: Dempster also died in a climbing accident in 2016 on a remote mountain in China)



Hayden dropping some cliffs during a telemark extreme skiing championship


Hayden discusses his decision to cut bolts of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia


I was not able to find a video of Hayden making the first ascent of Carbondale Shortbus in Indian Creek. The old video I had linked in several posts has since been taken down. I have however linked a video of Nick Martino working this route, so you can get an idea of the challenge and skill this project required.


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