Hayden Kennedy was a bright light among the new generation of young alpinists. He was progressive in the sport of climbing, creating cutting-edge new lines on K7, the Ogre, and Cerro Kishtwar, establishing 5.14 on gear in Indian Creek, and making the first “fair means” ascent of Cerro Torre’s Southeast Ridge. Hayden earned praise for, and sometimes stirred controversy with, his idealistic approach to climbing, navigating the ethical considerations of the sport with a rare honesty and thoughtfulness. When he and Jason Kruk removed over 100 bolts on Cesare Maestri’s infamous Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, they were confronted by angry locals and even spent a night in jail for their actions. The statement the two released about the de-bolting stands as record of an uncompromising vision of alpinism.
Hayden was gifted, bold, humble, accomplished, and philosophical about his life in the mountains. At the same time, he had little interest in self-promotion or the accolades that came with his accomplishments, a testament to his depth of character and love of climbing for climbing’s sake. For those that loved him, for those whose lives he touched with his kindness, with his climbs, and with his words, his passing comes far too soon. Still, we take inspiration from the mark he leaves behind. We carry on and strive to live up to the high standards Hayden embodied while he was with us.
This video was released following the November 4th memorial for Hayden Kennedy, held in his hometown of Carbondale, Colorado. It also contains a section on Inge Perkins.