Hayden Kennedy (climber)

Hayden Kennedy (1990–2017) was an American rock climber and mountaineer who made difficult ascents in North America, Patagonia and in the Himalaya. He committed suicide in 2017 after the sudden death of his partner.[1][2][3][4] He was the son of renowned writer and mountaineer Michael Kennedy and he won the Piolet d'Or for his ascent of The Ogre in 2013.

Hayden Kennedy
DiedOctober 8, 2017
AwardsPiolet d'Or

In 2012, Kennedy came to prominence following a "fair means" ascent of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre during which he and his partner Jason Kruk chopped the bolt ladders left by Cesare Maestri on the first ascent. Kennedy and Kruk's actions created a local controversy in El Chaltén and they were arrested shortly after returning. Following their release from jail, their actions generated an ethics debate about bolting practices in the mountains in the international climbing community.[5] The environmental and ethical motivations of their actions during this climb were recognized by the Piolet d'Or council.

In 2013, Kennedy and his climbing partners Kyle Dempster and Josh Wharton won a Piolet d'Or for their alpine style first ascent of the south face of the Ogre.[6][7]

Kennedy was a regular contributor for Alpinist[8] and Rock and Ice magazines.[9]

On October 7, 2017, while skiing on Imp Peak in Montana's Southern Madison Range, Kennedy and his partner Inge Perkins were caught in an avalanche. Surviving the avalanche, Kennedy attempted to rescue the buried Perkins but failed to locate her avalanche beacon. Later the following day, Kennedy committed suicide.[1][10]

Notable ascentsEdit

  • 2008 - Onsight ascent of the Bachar-Yerian Route (5.11+, R/X), Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Valley, California[11]
  • 2008 - Free ascent of El Nino (5.13b/c, A0), El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, California
  • 2012 - First 'fair means' ascent of the Compressor Route, Cerro Torre, Patagonia with Jason Kruk
  • 2012 - First free ascent of Carbondale Short Bus (5.14- R), the most difficult traditional rock climb in Indian Creek, Utah[12]
  • 2012 - First ascent of South Face of Baintha Brakk (the Ogre), Karakoram Range, Pakistan with Josh Wharton and Kyle Dempster
  • 2012 - First ascent of East Face of K7, Karakoram Range, Pakistan with Kyle Dempster and Urban Novak[13]
  • 2014 - First ascent of Light Before Wisdom (ED+ 5.11 WI6 M6 A2, 1200m), Cerro Kishtwar, Kishtwar Himalaya, India


  1. ^ a b Gripped. "American climber Hayden Kennedy (1990–2017)". Gripped Magazine.
  2. ^ Canadian Press. "Renowned climber kills self after girlfriend dies in avalanche". Huffington Post.
  3. ^ Swenson, Kyle. "An avalanche killed his girlfriend. Then this world-class climber took his own life". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ CBS News. "Climber Hayden Kennedy kills himself after avalanche kills girlfriend Inge Perkins". CBS News.
  5. ^ "Kennedy Kruk Release Statement". alpinist.com.
  6. ^ "Hayden Kennedy, Kyle Dempster, The Ogre, New Route, South Face - Piolets d'Or 2013 Winners". Epic TV.
  7. ^ Solomon, Matt Skenazy and Chris (10 October 2017). "Climbers Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins Die".
  8. ^ Kennedy, Hayden. "Light before Wisdom". Alpinist Magazine. Height of Land Publications.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Hayden. "Facing the Monster". Rock & Ice.
  10. ^ Staff and agencies. "Mountaineer kills himself after girlfriend dies in freak skiing accident". The Independent.
  11. ^ Black Diamond. "Hayden Kennedy on the Bachar-Yerian (5.11c R/X)". Black Diamond Equipment.
  12. ^ "Hayden Kennedy on the first ascent of Carbondale Short Bus".
  13. ^ VanRoekel, Taylor. "Full Report: Two Attempts, Two New Routes in Pakistan". Alpinist Magazine. Height of Lands Publications.