Body of British climber Tom Ballard is found on Himalayan peaks of K2

Italy‘s ambassador to Pakistan has confirmed the deaths of two missing European mountain climbers on Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth-tallest mountain.

The search for Briton Tom Ballard and Italian Daniele Nardi ended after an aerial search team confirmed that silhouettes spotted at a height of about 5,900 meters (6,455 yards) were the bodies of the two climbers.  

Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo tweeted the news on Saturday, after Pakistani army helicopters with four rescuers had searched the mountain for days.

Ballard, 30, was the son of British climber Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to scale Mount Everest alone. She died at age 33 descending the summit of K2 in 1995. 

Tom (pictured above) from Derbyshire, is an experienced climber and the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter 

Tom (pictured above) from Derbyshire, is an experienced climber and the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter 

Tom (pictured above) from Derbyshire, is an experienced climber and the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter 

Ballard (pictured) and Nardi were trying to climb 'Killer Mountain' in Pakistan, the ninth highest in world

Ballard (pictured) and Nardi were trying to climb 'Killer Mountain' in Pakistan, the ninth highest in world

Ballard (pictured) and Nardi were trying to climb ‘Killer Mountain’ in Pakistan, the ninth highest in world

Ballard, 30, (right) was the son of British climber Alison Hargreaves (centre) who died climbing in the same region in 1995

Ballard, 30, (right) was the son of British climber Alison Hargreaves (centre) who died climbing in the same region in 1995

Ballard, 30, (right) was the son of British climber Alison Hargreaves (centre) who died climbing in the same region in 1995

He was a skilled climber, in 2015 becoming the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter.

Nardi, 42, from near Rome, had attempted to scale Nanga Parbat in winter several times. 

Mr Nardi and Mr Ballard set out on the climb on February 22, making it to the fourth base camp by the following day.

The pair last made contact on February 24 from an elevation of around 20,700ft (6,300m) on Nanga Parbat.

The bodies of Tom Ballard (pictured left) and 42-year-old Italian Daniele Nardi (right) were found on Nanga Parbat

The bodies of Tom Ballard (pictured left) and 42-year-old Italian Daniele Nardi (right) were found on Nanga Parbat

The bodies of Tom Ballard (pictured left) and 42-year-old Italian Daniele Nardi (right) were found on Nanga Parbat

Ballard, 30, had not made contact since February 24 when he was 20,000ft up Nanga Parbat

Ballard, 30, had not made contact since February 24 when he was 20,000ft up Nanga Parbat

Ballard, 30, had not made contact since February 24 when he was 20,000ft up Nanga Parbat 

Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo tweeted: ‘With great sadness I inform that the search for @NardiDaniele and Tom Ballard is over as @AlexTxikon and the search team have confirmed that the silhouettes spotted on Mummery at about 5900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom. R.I.P.’

He said the bodies are in a place that is difficult to reach but that everything possible will be done to try to recover them.

Mr Ballard was born in Derbyshire but moved to the Scottish Highlands in 1995, the year his mother died on K2 after becoming the first woman to conquer Everest unaided.

A rescue team confirmed that silhouettes spotted at a height of about 5,900 meters (6,455 yards) were those of the two climbers

A rescue team confirmed that silhouettes spotted at a height of about 5,900 meters (6,455 yards) were those of the two climbers

A rescue team confirmed that silhouettes spotted at a height of about 5,900 meters (6,455 yards) were those of the two climbers

A map of the Nanga Parbat mountains in Pakistan (pictured above) which shows where Tom went missing and where his mother went missing in 1995

A map of the Nanga Parbat mountains in Pakistan (pictured above) which shows where Tom went missing and where his mother went missing in 1995

A map of the Nanga Parbat mountains in Pakistan (pictured above) which shows where Tom went missing and where his mother went missing in 1995

Despite being dubbed ‘Killer Mountain’ because of its dangerous conditions, the summit of Nanga Parbat has long drawn climbers.

Located in Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan area, it is the ninth highest mountain in the world at 26,660ft (8,126m). 

Pakistan dispatched search helicopters last week despite the closure of its airspace amid tensions with neighbouring India over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Mr Pontecorvo said the search team involving the Spaniards this week captured photos of the silhouettes and analysis confirmed that they were the missing climbers. 

Mr Nardi’s team posted a tribute on their offical Facebook page.

They wrote: ‘We’re heartbroken; we inform you that the research of Daniele and Tom has ended. A part of them will always remain on the Nanga Parbat.’

Tom Ballard and his girlfriend Stefania Pederiva

Tom Ballard and his girlfriend Stefania Pederiva

Tom Ballard and his girlfriend Stefania Pederiva

Mr Ballard was born in Derbyshire but moved to the Scottish Highlands in 1995

Mr Ballard was born in Derbyshire but moved to the Scottish Highlands in 1995

Tom Ballard's mother mother died on K2 after becoming the first woman to conquer Everest unaided

Tom Ballard's mother mother died on K2 after becoming the first woman to conquer Everest unaided

Pictures from Tom’s Instagram account detail his various training efforts for his climbs where he seems to be having a great time getting to grips with different heights

They added: ‘The family remembers Tom as a competent alpinist and brave friend of Daniele. Our thoughts are with him.

‘Daniele will remain a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a friend lost for a dream that we have always accepted, respected and shared.

‘We like to remember how you really are: in love with life, adventurous, scrupulous, courageous, loyal, attentive to detail and always present in times of need.’ 

Karrar Haidri, the secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, said the search team, headed by Spaniard Alex Txikon and experienced Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara familiar with the peak, went on foot and used drones to search for the climbers. 

In an interview with the Telegraph newspaper published before the news of Tom broke, his father Jim Ballard said Alison would have watched their son go into mountaineering ‘with gritted teeth’.

‘But she would have been – no, she is – proud of what he has acheived,’ he added.  

‘I hang on to that idea that Alison loved so much. “It is better to live one day as tiger than a thousand years as a sheep”,’ 

With Alison, as soon as I knew there had been a problem above 7,000 meters, I knew she was not coming back. This was different at first. All we knew was Tom and Daniele’s satellite phone had failed and that we had lost contact. 

 

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