A professional mountain climber in the US has taken his own life following the tragic death of his girlfriend, who died in an avalanche.
Hayden Kennedy was skiing on Mt Imp, Montana with his girlfriend Inge Perkins on Saturday when they were caught in a 45-metre wide avalanche in a steep gulley, The Sun reports.
27-year-old Hayden was partially buried and managed to pull himself free. But once he escaped, he desperately searched for his girlfriend.
23-year-old Inge, also a skilled ski mountaineer, was buried fully in the snow and died on the mountain.
Unable to bear the loss of his partner, Hayden sadly took his life the next day. He was found dead in his home on Sunday while authorities embarked to recover Inge’s body.
In a statement, Hayden’s father Michael Kennedy confirmed his son had “survived the avalanche,” but couldn’t bear “the unbearable loss of his partner in life”.
“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,” Michael wrote.
“He chose to end his life. Myself and his mother Julie sorrowfully respect his decision,” he wrote.
Hayden’s father described him as an “uncensored soul” whose “accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness”.
Before her death, Inge had studied math at Montana State University and worked as a climbing coach.
The Sun also revealed that Hayden wrote a haunting post on a climbing blog two weeks before his death explaining he had seen too many friends die in the mountains.
"I've realised something painful. It's not just the memorable summits and crux moves that are fleeting. Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too," he wrote on the Evening Sends blog.
"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."
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.