Tom Ballard, 30, was trying to reach the summit of the ‘killer mountain’ with a friend, Daniele Nardi, 42.
Tom Ballard, 30, and his Italian climbing partner, Daniele Nardi, 42, set out their journey on Sunday (Feb 24, 2019) from an altitude of about 6,300m (20,669 feet) to attempt the summit of the ninth-highest mountain in the world, but have not made contact with base camp, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
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 online magazine.
A statement from Mr Nardi’s team said the “situation was worrying” because bad weather is forecast for the next few days.
Sadpara, a veteran climber from Baltistan, who previously conquered the same peak in winter, said he is prepared to mount a search operation.
Permission to fly was eventually obtained following an intervention by the Italian ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo, but night had fallen before it could take off, according to the Italian climber’s team.
Ballard is a distinguished climber and became the first person in 2015 to ever complete a solo climb of all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter.
In doing so, he followed the footsteps of his mother, Alison Hargreaves, 33, — a pioneering mountaineer who was the first female climber to perform the same feat in the summer season.
She died on K2, the world’s second highest mountain, in 1995 in a devastating tragedy, when Ballard was only six years old. She had become the first woman to conquer Everest without the aid of oxygen or sherpa guides earlier that year.
Ballard had posted regular updates on his Facebook page and said last week that base camp was almost “like a holiday” as they waited for the weather to clear, reports daily Telegarph.
However, on January 31 he also wrote: “We’ve lost a lot of critical equipment involuntarily and two good friends voluntarily, it added.
It was a direction in life he had been set on since the age of 10 or 11, the British newspaper reported.
Nardi phoned his wife on Sunday, telling her that they were at an elevation of 6,300m on the 8,125m peak. They have not been heard from since.
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.
Nanga Parbat is a notoriously difficult challenge for any climber and earned the menacing “Killer Mountain” moniker due to the high number of deaths on its slopes.