Finally the weather has cleared up again at Nanga Parbat, so that the search for the climbers Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard, who have been missing for eight days, has been resumed. With a military helicopter the Spaniard Alex Txikon, three of his team members and the Pakistani mountaineer Rahmat Ullah Baig were flown today to the ninth highest mountain in the world. “We have pitched up our Camp on the plateau between Camps 1 and 2 at an altitude of 4,850 meters,” Alex reported according to montagna.tv. “The weather is splendid”. But due to the warm temperatures the danger of avalanches is increasing, says the 37-year-old, adding that they reconnoitered the mountain by helicoptery very accurately – the Kinshofer route, then the Mummery Rib and finally the glacier area between Camp 3 and the spot where the helicopter landed. “We reached an altitude of about 7,100 meters. Unfortunately there are no visible traces of our friends.” Txikon wanted to climb up to Camp 2 with another mountaineer. The team will also search the area with camera drones.
Messner: Almost no hope
Since 24 February, there has been no sign of life from 42-year-old Nardi and 30-year-old Ballard. On that day they had reported from a height of about 6,300 meters from the Mummery Rib, which they had wanted to climb completely for the first time. There are many indications that they have been caught in an avalanche. This is also, what Reinhold Messner suspects. “Unfortunately, the hope of finding them alive is close to zero,” the 74-year-old legendary climber from South Tyrol said in an interview with the Italian news agency AGI. “They probably died in a big avalanche.” From the ice wall above the Mummery spur, avalanches went down repeatedly, said Messner: “The ice is constantly in motion, presses on the Seracs and then ice blocks are released from there.”
Pivtsov team in Camp 2 on K2
Alex Txikon has interrupted his K2 winter expedition to search for Nardi and Ballard. The climbers of the other K2 team from Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan, led by Vassilij Pivtsov, are now on what they call their “last summit bid” on the second highest mountain on earth. Today they reached Camp 2 at 6,700 meters on the Southeast Ridge.