Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins

I’ve been reading about the tragic deaths of Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins today. The story, which involves an avalanche in Montana and a suicide, is just heartbreaking.

Kennedy wrote a powerful essay just two weeks before those events, and his words ring loudly in the wake of his and Perkins’ deaths. He wrote about a climb that took place several years ago, and about the passing of two friends.

There’s too much to get into right now, but it’s really worth a bit of time to read through his essay.

I see both light and dark in climbing. Through this recognition, true learning begins and a full awareness of the brevity of our time becomes clearer. It’s difficult to accept the fact that we cannot control everything in life, yet we still try, and maybe our path changes to something totally unexpected.

I am still in the process of finding my own path, and I’d be lying if I said these deaths haven’t affected its direction. How does climbing fit into “real life”? If we only take the surface level experience—endlessly chasing the next hardest project, the next most futuristic alpine objective—then, in my opinion, climbing becomes too much of a selfish pursuit.

Maybe the most genuine aspects of any tale are the sputterings and the silences, the acknowledgments of failure, the glimmerings in the dark. And maybe one genuine reason to try to share our stories about days we actually send something, when we are alive and at the height of our powers, is to try to bring back what’s past, lost, or gone.

Perhaps by doing so, we might find some light illuminating a new way forward.

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