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Woman dies in avalanche; boyfriend survives, but then kills hims - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Woman dies in avalanche; boyfriend survives, but then kills himself

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An avalanche on Saturday killed a backcountry skier in the Madison Range.

The skier has been identified by the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office as 23-year-old Inge Perkins. 

The skiers were approaching the north couloir when the avalanche occurred. 

Perkins' body was recovered from the scene by Gallatin County Search & Rescue on Monday.

She was skiing with 27-year-old Hayden Kennedy, her boyfriend. Kennedy survived the avalanche, but then took his own life after Perkins body was recovered. 

Kennedy's family released a statement on his death on Tuesday. 

“Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life. He chose to end his life. Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision,” wrote Michael Kennedy.

Here is the full statement from the Kennedy family: 

Having lived for 27 years with the great joy and spirit that was Hayden Kennedy, we share the loss of our son and his partner Inge Perkins as the result of an avalanche in the southern Madison Mountains near Bozeman, Montana, on October 7th.

Inge Perkin’s body was recovered by the Gallatin County Search & Rescue at the base of Mt. Imp on October 9th. Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life. He chose to end his life. Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision.

Hayden truly was an uncensored soul whose accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness.

He recently moved to Bozeman to work on his EMT certification while Inge completed her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education at Montana State University.

Julie and I are on our way to Bozeman from Europe, as are Inge’s mother and stepfather. Memorial arrangements are still pending.

“Over the last few years, however, as I’ve watched too many friends go to the mountains only to never return, I’ve realized something painful,” wrote Hayden in Evening Sends just last month. “It’s not just the memorable summits and crux moves that are fleeting. Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too. This is the painful reality of our sport, and I’m unsure what to make of it. Climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse.”

A press release from the Gallatin County Sheriff's office on Tuesday states: 

Preliminary investigation indicates that Saturday morning, Oct 7th, Ms. Perkins and 27-year-old Hayden Kennedy hiked 6 miles from the Upper Taylor Fork trailhead to the north couloir of Imp Peak. Near the bottom of the couloir around 10,000’, they triggered an avalanche while ascending on skis with skins. The avalanche was 1-2’ deep at the crown, approximately 150’ wide, and 300’ long. The slope where the avalanche released was 38-45° steep with a north-northeast aspect.  Ms. Perkins was recovered by Rescuers after a probe pole search around 11:15 AM Monday.  

Due to the remote location of the mountain, a helicopter was used to access the search area.  According to Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson, Imp Peak is a rugged mountain with steep slopes that has received enough snow to create an early avalanche hazard.  Every year, outdoor enthusiasts are cautioned to be careful when exploring the backcountry in Montana since dangers like these exist throughout the fall, winter, and spring.

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