Carbondale climber Hayden Kennedy remembered by hundreds at memorial |

Carbondale climber Hayden Kennedy remembered by hundreds at memorial

Hayden Kennedy, in his high school days at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, holds the "world's smallest cutthroat trout," in teacher Kayo Ogilby's words, during a flyfishing outing. (Kayo Ogilby / Courtesy photo)
Kayo Ogilby | Courtesy

More than 1,000 of Hayden Kennedy’s close friends and family came together at a Carbondale school Saturday for a memorial to remember the local climber who died along with his girlfriend last month in southwestern Montana.

Kennedy, 27, was remembered for his compassion, humble spirit and passion for the outdoors at the private service held at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, from where Kennedy graduated in 2009. A family spokesperson said the mourners included friends from around the country, CRMS graduates and those from the climbing and outdoor recreation industry.

The Kennedy family released a statement Sunday afternoon sending their thanks and gratitude for the well-wishes in the past month.

“On behalf of Hayden’s entire family, we would like to thank the community of Carbondale along with the wider climbing community across the world, who have shown us so much love and support over the last few weeks. The loss of our beloved Hayden — our son, cousin, nephew and friend — has been a great sorrow for us all,” his parents, Julie and Michael Kennedy, said in an email to The Aspen Times.

“Coming together at sunset last evening, under the beautiful backdrop of Mount Sopris, gave us a moment to celebrate Hayden’s life and his love for his friends and family, pursuits and passions. As a family, we very much intend to honor his spirit and legacy through the creation of The Hayden Fund, a fund that will support the fight for the preservation of public lands, a cause Hayden cared for deeply.”

The family asks people to donate in Hayden’s honor at ​

His friends have said the world-class climber touched many lives in his short time and held a high standard. He was a rising star who did not seek attention or believe in self-promotion of his accomplishments.

Kennedy died by suicide the day after his girlfriend, Inge Perkins, died Oct. 7 in a backcountry avalanche while the two were skiing in the southern Madison Range, which is about 20 miles from Big Sky, according to Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

Michael Kennedy said after the avalanche that Hayden could not survive “the unbearable loss of his partner in life.” According to Montana officials, Kennedy left an “incredibly detailed and well-thought-out note” that included exactly where the avalanche occurred to help searchers find Perkins.

Michael Kennedy said his son moved to Montana to work on his EMT certification. Perkins, 23, was working on a bachelor’s degree at Montana State.

“Hayden truly was an uncensored soul whose accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness,” Michael Kennedy, also a well-recognized alpinists, said after Hayden’s death.

A memorial was held for Perkins at the Bridge Bowl Ski Area on Oct. 18, and the Bozeman native was remembered for her playful spirit and her love for her family. The Perkins family has asked that friends consider a donation to the Wyoming Outdoor Council, which works on land conservation and wildlife habitat.

At the 2012 5Point Film Festival, where Hayden Kennedy spoke about his climb up Patagonia’s Cerro Torre, the then-22-year-old climber was humble and respectful when talking about his sport.

“There’s never been a democracy in climbing, and that’s why a lot of us climbers love it,” Kennedy said then. “It’s kind of a rebel sport in some sense.”