A Musical Tribute to Nardi and Ballard

They perished pursuing their passion on a high, menacing mountain, “one of the 14 legends”, up the most difficult route, in the full flower of their youth. Indeed, Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard’s sad end on Nanga Parbat last winter is an epic story. So it makes sense that it has inspired a hard rock ballad.


The Italian black metal band, Nero or The Fall of Rome, has penned a song to the late climbing duo, lost on the Mummery Spur in February 2019. The piece, called Graves Above, will be the second single off their debut album, Beneath the Swaying Fronds of Elysian Fields.

The music is a matter of personal preference, and the quality of execution is not ours to assess. We’re not music experts at ExplorersWeb, so I will refrain from commenting on the lead singer.  The official video shows the lyrics in gothic letters on a mountain background. Strangely enough — and this we are qualified to point out — the video shows European mountains, some Karakorum footage with a couple of beautiful views of K2, but no trace of Nanga Parbat.

The lyrics themselves might seem a bit gruesome, with gory mentions of blood freezing in their veins and lethargy relieving the pain of frostbite. There isn’t the slightest attempt to make the verses rhyme, but hey, their intentions were surely good. Most importantly, Nardi’s family seems pleased and have shared the video on the late climber’s Facebook page, thanking the band for “having turned into immortal notes the memory of Daniele and Tom, and their shared dream.”

To form your own opinion, check out their video below:


Despite the allure of mountaineering, few songs use specific climbing events as their theme. While the words “climb” and “mountain”  occur in thousands of songs, it’s mainly in the metaphoric sense of challenge, achievement or struggle.

Other forms of adventure aren’t much better served, though arctic exploration does have the famous Stan Rogers ballad, Northwest Passage, about Sir John Franklin’s last expedition.


On the other hand, many songs about courage, adventure and dreaming can be retrofitted to mountaineering. Below, a nice tribute to Everest legends Mallory and Irvine, posted by a fan, over a definitely beautiful 2012 song by The Killers. (Admittedly, I have a soft spot for The Killers.)