In a surprising update to the Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard Rescue operation, Alex Txikon identifies two Silhouettes on Nanga Parbat from Base Camp. The search is continuing.
On Thursday, 07 March, the rescue operation team searching for Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi on Nanga Parbat revealed that “two silhouettes” had been identified. The identification was made by Alex Txikon, who has been running the ground operation for over a week.
According to reports, the identification was made at dawn; and helicopters are scheduled to arrive soon to continue the exploration of the mountain. The report stated that the search would continue along the Mummery Spur route. The team hopes to get closer observations of images they witnessed through a telescope.
UPDATE: As of 09 March, the rescue operation for Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi has been officially called off. The two silhouettes were identified as the bodies of Tom and Daniele. (Read our article in remembrance of Tom Ballard.)
Since 24 February, Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi have been missing on the infamously dangerous mountain Nanga Parbat. Both climbers were attempting to scale the Mummery Spur, which since its creation, has remained unclimbed.
Most climbers who shared their opinions of the expedition claimed that attempting the Mummery Spur in winter was especially dangerous. According to reports made by the initial reconnaissance team, the pair is believed to have been victims of an avalanche.
The Dangers of Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat is a notorious mountain coveted by many. It was here that the legendary Reinhold Messner lost his brother, Günther, in 1970. Prior to, and since then, the mountain has claimed the lives of many climbers over the years.
In 2017, we reported on Alberto Zerain and Mariano Galván going missing during their summer expedition on Nanga Parbat. The two were later declared dead after an exhaustive search revealed they had been killed by an avalanche.
The Revol rescue became a controversial one later.
Over the years, the media has dubbed Nanga Parbat the “Killer Mountain” because of the dangerous nature of its avalanches and death ratio.
Rescue Operation Delays
Nardi and Ballard’s rescue operation was delayed by weather and politics. It was noted that the Italian ambassador to Pakistan was instrumental in the effort to gain permissions for the rescue helicopters to fly to Base Camp. During the first day of the operation, Pakistan imposed an airspace closure due to a national emergency. Tensions between Pakistan and India caused a costly delay the rescue operation in its most crucial hours.
The next day, the helicopter was allowed to take off with Ali Sadpara leading the ground effort. During the initial flyby, traces of an avalanche were found.
Afterward, a series of bad weather reports plagued the operation for an additional two days. A Russian team of climbers aiming to attack the mountain from K2 Base Camp was unable to make headway in their search effort. The risk of avalanches forced them to call off their search. By this time, Alex Txikon was set to lead a four-man team including a doctor in a ground rescue effort from K2 Base Camp. However, the weather did not allow their helicopter to take off and for them to proceed for at least two days.
We are following this story and will have updates when they become available. Base Camp Magazine is only sourcing from the official Daniele Nardi team reports to ensure the accuracy of the events.
Donate to the Tom Ballard & Daniele Nardi Rescue Campaign
In their last report this morning, the team thanked the mounting support they have received through donations to their GoFundMe campaign. The Campaign was set up to raise €150,000 for the rescue effort, which costs over €50,000 per day in helicopter expenses and more. They also thanked the climbers and volunteers involved with the effort.
At the time of the writing of this article: The following update was made on 06 March: UPDATE: As of 06 March 12:33 PM EST, the operation has been postponed. The helicopter scheduled for departure to Nanga Parbat was recalled and is currently being used for military operations in the ongoing Pakistani-Indian conflict.