In Brief

Tom Ballard: British climber whose mother died on K2 missing on Pakistan peak

Derbyshire-born mountaineer and his Italian climbing partner have not been heard from in more than 48 hours

A British mountaineer has vanished while climbing a peak in Pakistan, 24 years after his mother perished on the world’s second-highest mountain.

Derbyshire-born Tom Ballard, 30, and his Italian climbing partner, 42-year-old Daniele Nardi, set out to climb Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas, the ninth-highest mountain in the world, but have not made contact with base camp for more than 48 hours, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Nardi phoned his wife on Sunday, telling her that they were at an elevation of 6,300m on the 8,125m peak, nicknamed Killer Mountain. They have not been heard from since.

The pair are attempting to reach the summit via a ridge known as Mummery Rib. Planet Mountain describes the Mummery Rib route as “difficult, never-ending”.  

No climber has ever managed to scale the rib, named after British mountaineer Alfred Mummery, who died in an avalanche on the mountain in 1895.

Nardi had previously attempted to scale the ridge in 2013 with French climber Elisabeth Revol, but were forced to turn back around 1,500m from the summit, Deutsche Welle reports.

Weather conditions in the area are poor, and “as a result of the escalating military tensions between India and Pakistan, airspace is currently closed to all flights, making any helicopter rescue mission impossible”, says Planet Mountain.

Ballard is an experienced climber and “the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter”, the BBC reports.

In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of his mother, Alison Hargreaves - a pioneering mountaineer who was the first female climber to perform the same feat in the summer season.

In 1995, Hargreaves became the first woman and only the second person to scale Mount Everest without the aid of oxygen or sherpa guides.

She died in a storm while descending K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, just three months after her record-setting climb. 

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