ExplorersWeb.com has a terrific two-part interview with Alex Txikon, the expert climber and expert rescuer who was sent to try to find Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi after they went missing on Nanga Parbat two months ago. From the interview:
“At first, I didn’t worry too much: I thought their lack of contact was some communication issue. Nardi had an old Thuraya satphone which often failed. Two days later, I did get worried. By the time we set off, we knew that hopes were really minimal. But we kept alive a spark of hope deep inside. I thought, or made myself think, “What if they are trapped somewhere but with enough fuel to survive for over a week? What if they are clinging to life by a thread?” It would have been a miracle, but a miracle we hoped for.“
It’s one of climbing’s great tragedies, we lost two great lights. Ballard was the son of Alison Hargreaves, the great British climber who died on K2 in 1996 while trying to descend in a storm. Both men had made several impressive first ascents on difficult climbs, and were regarded as members of the climbing world’s Pantheon of greatest alpinists.
The tale of search and rescue was made more harrowing by the rising tensions between India and Pakistan. Their rescue attempt had to be executed though a no-fly zone between the two belligerent nations.
She made one poor, impatient decision, and the price she paid was her life.