The Lovely Inge

White was Inge’s favourite color.  Mommy wedding dresses, fresh milk and snow were the beautiful pure white she loved. Snowflakes on her lashes made her smile. When she could walk, Inge was on her skis, playing in the snow. She danced on snow like a ballerina, gliding on the corduroy. The sparkle in her eye was breathtaking. She floated downhill on her alpine skis like a gentle wind. Her mother will always remember her wearing a dress under her ski suit. She’ll always remember Inge with her little skis and a thirst for the mountains.  

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Inge skiing with her younger sister, Katrina.
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Inge with her mother, Heidi

While skiing in Norway, she was a superstar, but another passion emerged. The land of rocks and trolls tickled her curiosity, calling her into the possibilities climbing offered. She climbed any rock she saw along the fjords and loved ringing the bell at the top of an indoor wall. While in Trondheim, she watched a movie filmed in Bozeman called “Wolf Summer.” When they returned to Montana, she wanted to climb.

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Inge with her mom, sister, and older brother, Gunnar.

She and her brother, Gunnar spent days learning climbing moves and they created a small gym in the attic of the garage. Gunnar was her idol, her best friend, climbing star and brother. When Katrina came into the world, Inge stepped into her role as older sister with fierce love. As the middle child, Inge would always be the cream in the cookie sandwich, giving her siblings unconditional support. When her mother remarried, Inge found a new adventure partner in her stepbrother, CJ, and her stepfather, Jim, made her laugh and encouraged Inge alongside her mother and father. 

 

 

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Inge, Katrina, and Gunnar in Norway.
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Inge with her dad, Steve
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Inge and Gunnar

 

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Inge and Katrina
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Inge with her mom, Omi, stepdad, Jim, Opa, brother, sister, and brother, CJ

In Bozeman Inge continued to shine and she spent all her free time in ballet, skiing, climbing or playing the violin. She ran cross country from sixth grade until late in high school when she decided to focus on climbing. Running, though, would always be a refuge for her, one she returned to again and again on marathon-length jaunts into the mountains. She would often put her headphones in, turn up the volume on some trance jams, and escape into the folds of canyons and basins between classes and homework sessions.

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Resting after a run.

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After graduating from Bozeman High School, she attended Fort Lewis with academic scholarships. She took a year off of college to nanny for a very active and healthy family in Germany. The mother, Isa and Inge ran the a race together, where Inge set a record. The family would often go climbing together on the weekend, bouldering and sport climbing at the many world-class destinations around Europe.

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Inge running with Isa.

Inge came home from Germany stronger than ever. She kept in good contact with her friends back in Bozeman, and when she returned to continue with college, this time at Montana State University, she easily folded back into the community. She often went climbing with her friends, taking weekend trips to Idaho and summer trips to Wyoming.

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Inge climbing in Ten Sleep.

Skiing also remained a constant in Inge’s life alongside running and climbing. She and her father would tour together, sharing their love for the mountains with one another as they skinned up peaks and carved through powder. She took many backcountry trips, sometimes skiing entire mountain ranges in one day. Some days she would go up to Bridger Bowl, carefully guiding her mom through ridge shoots and forays into the side country.

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Inge with her dad

Snow and white proved to be a thread throughout her life. Smillia’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg was Inge’s favorite novel. A quote she savored from the book reads, “Do you know what the mathematical expression is for longing? … The negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you are missing something.” Inge loved complexities of math. She found the abstractness yet precision of mathematics a way to find peace with everyday struggles. At Montana State University, she was following her mom’s path by studying mathematics and teaching.  

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Inge with her mom and stepdad, Jim

Inge lived her life deeply, connected to people and her family and nature.  She found a summer home in Lander, Wyoming, where worked at a restaurant in town. She spent her days running on the many trails or climbing in the canyons. In fall 2016, she took a trip to the Southeast of the United States, where she folded into communities and appreciated a new landscape.  

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Inge climbing in Lander. Photo by Ben Herdon.

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Wherever Inge traveled, she made good friends. She internalized the words from Hoeg that read, “Nothing in life should simply be a passage from one place to another. Each walk should be taken as if it is the only thing you have left. You can demand something like this of yourself as an unattainable ideal. After that, you have to remind yourself about it every time you’re sloppy about something.” Though Inge was never sloppy about anything, she lived this truth daily: every place she visited, every person she befriended, she was present for, and she always made sure to express appreciation for the people that she met while traveling across the U.S. and world.

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Hayden Kennedy arrived in Inge’s life with letters and unbounding love. When he heard Inge would be climbing in the Fins one weekend, he finagled a friend to drive up there from Colorado to “accidentally” run into her. Their relationship blossomed from there, and they spent over a year taking trips together.

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“When you’re young,” Hoeg writes, “you think that sex is the culmination of intimacy. Later you discover that it’s barely the beginning.” Hayden and Inge shared passionate love, but, both being old souls, they seemed to have moved from the beginning rush to the deep middle within that year of creating a life together. They were truly best friends, adventurers, lovers, and life partners. While they prioritized climbing, skiing, and general prancing around the world together, they also relished simple moments at home, baking bread and cookies.

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With love and support from Hayden, Inge’s eyes sparkled blue like the Adriatic Sea and her smile was electric. She radiated in his presence. They enjoyed trips to France, Slovenia, Germany, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana in one another’s easy company. They shared a common dream of a simple life, one where friends and family came first above all else.

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The weekend of October 8th, the sky was blue and the mountains were white. Inge and Hayden carved out time away from the city to be with one another in the mountains they both loved. In the presence of their fierce love alone, an avalanche of white snow engulfed Inge and Hayden forever. Their spirits transcended bodies that had carried them through the world with joy and rigor.

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