Accomplished Climber Takes Own Life After Girlfriend Dies in Montana Avalanche

Officials say the two skiers triggered slide on Imp Peak in Madison Range

By Tristan Scott
An avalanche was triggered in a wind-loaded zone low on Imp Peak in the Madison Range. Courtesy Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

BOZEMAN — A Montana woman died in a weekend avalanche and the family of her boyfriend said he survived the slide, but “not the unbearable loss of his partner in life. He chose to end his life.”

The Gallatin County sheriff’s office says 23-year-old Inge Perkins of Bozeman died Saturday in a slide on Imp Peak in the southern Madison Range. Officials say 27-year-old Hayden Kennedy of Carbondale, Colorado, was found dead Sunday at a residence in Bozeman.

Michael Kennedy said he and his wife Julie “sorrowfully respect his decision.”

Both were accomplished mountain climbers.

Hayden Kennedy’s family said he and Perkins had recently moved to Bozeman where he was working on his EMT certificate and she was completing her bachelor’s degree in math and education at Montana State University.

Officials say the two skiers approached on climbing skins a steep, narrow, wind-loaded gully below 10,100-foot Imp Peak in the southern Madison Range on Saturday, triggering a slide that fully buried Perkins and partially buried Kennedy, who hiked out alone to report the avalanche.

Gallatin County Search and Rescue recovered the Perkins’ body on Monday from the area about 20 miles southwest of Big Sky. Kennedy took his own life on Sunday.

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