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with Stefan Nestler

Their goal: Nanga Parbat in winter, on a new route

Daniele Nardi (l.) and Tom Ballard in Islamabad

Daniele Nardi can not keep his hands off Nanga Parbat yet. Already for the fifth time the 42-year-old climber from Italy tries his luck in winter on the 8125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. Nardi and his 30-year-old British climbing partner Tom Ballard arrived in the capital Islamabad, from where they travel on to the north of the country. The team will also include Pakistani mountaineers Rahmat Ullah Baig and Kareem Hayat. Their goal: a new route to the eighth highest mountain on earth via the so-called “Mummery Rib”. In 1895, the British pioneer Albert Frederick Mummery had dared the first serious attempt on an eight-thousander via the rock spur in the Diamir Face. With the Gurkha Ragobir he had reached an altitude of 6,100 meters. Nardi tries this route for the second time: In winter 2013, he had climbed with the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol up to about 6,400 meters.

“A dream, not an obsession”

Mummery Rib in the Diamir Face (arrow)

Last time Nardi had been at Nanga Parbat in 2016, but he had been hopelessly at odds with the other climbers who where attempting the mountain that winter. After his premature departure, Italian Simone Moro, Spaniard Alex Txikon and Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” had succeeded the first winter ascent of the eight-thousander. “Has Nanga become an obsession for me?,” Daniele asked himself recently in a radio interview. “No, I say that quite frankly. My thoughts concentrate much more on the Mummery spur, on this innovative path. It’s my big dream, not an obsession. Rather, it is the passion for an idea, and even more for a style, to understand the mountain and life.” According to Nardi, Ballard and Co., they want to ascend in Alpine style, i.e. without a chain of high camps and without bottled oxygen.

The six large north faces of the Alps in winter

Ballard (l.) and Nardi on Link Sar

The Italian and the British had been together on their first common expedition to Pakistan in summer 2017. On the still unclimbed 7041-meter-high Link Sar, they had reached an altitude of 5,700 meters in the Northeast Face. After an avalanche had hit their tent, they had abandoned their attempt. Tom Ballard is the son of British mountaineers Jim Ballard and Alison Hargreaves. In 1995, his mother had scaled Mount Everest without bottled oxygen and three months later also K2. On the descent from the second highest mountain on earth, the 33-year-old – like five other climbers who had reached the highest point too – had died in a storm. In 1993, Hargreaves had been the first person to climb the six large north faces of the Alps (Eiger, Grand Jorasses, Matterhorn, Petit Dru, Piz Badile and Cima Grande) in the same summer. In 2015, her son Tom was the first to repeat this feat in winter.



21. December 2018 | 0:44