Climber Whose Mother Conquered Everest Solo Disappears on Pakistan’s ‘Killer Mountain’ – The New York Times

A British climber whose mother was the first woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest in a solo climb has disappeared with his Italian counterpart while climbing Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, the ninth-highest mountain in the world.

The last time the Briton, Tom Ballard, and the Italian, Daniele Nardi, were heard from was on Sunday morning, when they had reached about 6,300 meters, or more than 20,600 feet, Mr. Nardi’s team wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

“Every hypothesis and possibility is not overlooked,” the post said.

An aerial search-and-rescue operation for the two men was delayed after tensions between Pakistan and India flared into a military confrontation and Pakistani airspace was closed. But the Pakistani Army eventually sent a helicopter to the men’s last-known location on a reconnaissance flight on Thursday. Rescuers found no trace of either climber, Mr. Nardi’s team said.

A helicopter was expected to undertake a second reconnaissance flight later on Thursday.

Mr. Ballard and Mr. Nardi are both experienced mountaineers. Mr. Ballard was dubbed “King of the Alps” by the British news media after he became the first person to climb the notoriously perilous six great north faces of Europe’s highest mountain range solo in a single season.

The pair began climbing Nanga Parbat’s western side in January.

Standing higher than 26,600 feet, Nanga Parbat is one of the highest mountains in the world — and one of the deadliest to climb. Many climbers have died on its slopes, earning it the nickname “Killer Mountain.” The route that Mr. Ballard and Mr. Nardi chose to scale has never been successfully completed.

Image
Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second-highest mountain, stands higher than 26,600 feet.CreditGohar Abbas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“They will be hoping to climb the infamous Mummery Spur — named after Albert F. Mummery, who in 1895 led the first attempt to climb the mountain,” Montane, a British outdoor clothing brand that sponsored Mr. Ballard, wrote in a media release in December.

After reaching around 20,013 feet in 1895, Mr. Mummery died while exploring the northeast face of the mountain. “His intended line remains unclimbed to this day,” according to Montane.

In a Facebook post in January, Mr. Ballard described his latest climb with Mr. Nardi as “no picnic.”

“Well, what did you expect,” Mr. Ballard wrote in a caption of a photo of a man climbing an all-white, rocky slope, almost indiscernible against the mist. “It is winter on the ninth highest peak in the world.”

Mr. Ballard was born in the Peak District in central England in 1988. His mother was Alison Hargreaves, a pioneering climber who died in 1995 while descending the world’s second-highest peak — K2 in Pakistan. Just three months earlier she had become the first woman, and second person, to reach the peak of Mount Everest alone and without bottled oxygen. She was 33.

Mr. Ballard, who was 6 at the time, said that the only thing he ever wanted to do was climb.

“Since I was 10, all I wanted to do was to climb,” Mr. Ballard said, according to Montane’s statement. “Even before I was born I climbed the North Face of the Eiger,” he added, referring to July 1988, when his mother scaled the north face of Eiger while six months pregnant with him.

Mr. Nardi, who recorded their experience in blog posts on his website — writing about retrieving their tent from under “a ton of snow,” having a hard time swallowing and sleeping at 18 degrees Celsius below zero, among other things — had been to Nanga Parbat four times before his expedition with Mr. Ballard.

Powered by WPeMatico

Antiques

AdSense