Search for Nardi and Ballard is about to end

Tom Ballard (l.) and Daniele Nardi

Even ten days after the last sign of life of Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard from Nanga Parbat, there is still no trace of the two missing climbers. After three days of searching in vain for the 42-year-old Italian and the 30-year-old British in the area around the “Mummery Rib”, a striking  rock spur in the Diamir Face, and today also on the nearby Kinshofer route, the Spaniards Alex Txikon and Felix Criado as well as the Pakistanis Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Rahmat Ullah Baig returned to base camp. The rescue team had also used camera drones during their search.

On 24 February, Nardi and Ballard had last reached out from an altitude of 6,300 meters from the Mummery Rib, which they had wanted to climb completely for the first time. Afterwards the contact broke off. Daniele and Tom were probably hit by an avalanche. The search team reported clear traces of avalanches and a permanent danger of further snow masses to come down.

“Painful decision”

R.I.P.

Karrar Haidri from the Alpine Club of Pakistan declared the search in interviews with the news agencies AP and EFE already finished. Haidri spoke of a “very painful decision”. The rescuers had done everything that was possible, he said. Obviously, the helicopter that will take Txikon and his three team members back to K2 base camp on Thursday will fly once more over the Mummery spur to search for Nardi and Ballard for the last time. A realistic chance to find them alive doesn’t really exist anymore.

“Don’t give up”

Daniele had become father of a son only half a year ago. “I want to be remembered as someone who tried something unbelievable, impossible, but didn’t give up,” Nardi had told the Italian channel “Le Iene” before he left for Pakistan. “”The message I want to leave to my son if I do not come back is to not stop, do not give up. Get busy because the world needs better people to make peace a reality and not just an idea.”

Pivtsov and Co. on K2 at 7,400 meters

Position of Pivtsov’s team

Thanks and respect are due to all those who took part in the Nanga Parbat search and thus exposed themselves to the great avalanche danger on the slopes of this eight-thousander. Txikon and his three comrades in addition put their own ambitions on K2 on the back burner. On the second highest mountain on earth the climbers of the other winter expedition led by Kazakh Vassiliy Pivtsov today reached Camp 3 at 7,400 meters. About 1,200 meters difference in altitude remain to be climbed for them to reach the summit of K2.

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