Search Called Off; Nardi, Ballard Assumed Dead

The search on Nanga Parbat for the two climbers missing for the last 10 days has been called off. Daniele Nardi, 42, and Tom Ballard, 30, are presumed to have been swept away by one of the massive avalanches that have raked the Mummery Spur.

Several days of searching by helicopter, drones and on foot have turned up no trace of the pair, who were attempting a rare winter ascent of the 8,126m peak. Today, Alex Txikon explored the Kinshoffer route, but without result.

Others scanned the Mummery Spur through a telescope for signs of movement. There has been none, and no communication with the climbers since February 24 from around 6,300m, when Nardi made a brief satphone call home. “Now it’s over,” Txikon’s group said from Base Camp.

Daniele Nardi on Nanga Parbat during his 2012 winter attempt.

This was Daniele Nardi’s fourth attempt to climb Nanga Parbat in winter.

Tom Ballard, a world-class rock climber, is best known for being the first to climb all six major alpine north faces alone in a single winter. He is the son of renowned mountaineer Alison Hargreaves, who was the first woman to climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. She died in 1995, at age 33, while descending K2 after reaching the summit. Ballard was six years old at the time.

A young Tom Ballard and his mother, Alison Hargreaves, before her death on K2 in 1995.

Although several sources reported the end of the search, Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan, insisted several hours ago that it will resume on Thursday. We will cover any further developments.

Related stories:

Hope Fades for Missing Climbers

Txikon Searches on Foot for Nardi and Ballard

Alex Txikon & Co. en Route from K2 to Nanga Parbat

Weather Again Delays Search

No Sign of Climbers, Avalanche Risk Too High for Searchers

Wrecked Tent and Avalanche Debris Spotted on Nanga Parbat

Nardi and Ballard Missing on Nanga Parbat

Txikon Searches on Foot for Nardi and Ballard