Winter of Our Discontent – K2 and Nanga Parbat 2018 Winter Climbs End in Failure, Tragedy

http://jayflemma.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/k2-in-a-storm.jpgWinter of Our Discontent – K2 and Nanga Parbat 2018 Winter Climbs End in Failure, Tragedy

MIGHTY K2, 28,251 FEET STRONG

Winter has ended in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas, and once again it will be a mournful spring. Drone footage confirmed that two silhouettes on Nanga Parbat’s slopes near Camp 3 are the bodies of climbers Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi. The search and rescue has been called off, and earlier today memorials were scheduled in remembrance of Nardi. According to his Facebook page:

“In Memory of Daniele There will be some initiatives in sezze and the monti mountains. In the next few days we will communicate the details of

We invite you to participate in the following events with friends and family of Daniele:

23 March, 11:00 pm, gym of the upper institute sezze (LT), via cappuccinos.
23 March, 21:00 pm, torchlight, departure from the amphitheatre of sezze (LT).
31 March, 8:30 pm, walk on the semprevisa, Monti Mountains.”
[sic]

Meanwhile, tragedy has struck twice in the same family, as Ballard is the son of famous climber Alison Hargreaves, who was killed in a storm on K2 on her descent after successfully reaching the summits of K2, Everest and Kenchenjunga, the three highest mountains on Earth, and she did it all without supplementary oxygen.

Nanga Parbat has still never been climbed in winter.

Meanwhile the winter ascents of K2 have also concluded unsuccessfully. First the Russian-Kazakhstani attempt was called off shortly after Nardi and Ballard went missing on Nanga Parbat. Simultaneously, expert rescuer Alex Txikon interrupted his K2 climb to try to rescue Ballard and Nardi, and then called off his final attempt two days ago when windy weather and interplanetary-cold-like temps foiled a last ditch effort to summit before spring. According to ExplorersWeb.com:

“As it often does, the wind ultimately decided success or failure in the mountains. Today, Alex Txikon, Pansang and Chappal Sherpa waited as long as they could for conditions to improve on K2, but they didn’t. Finally, the climbers decided to retreat “all happy to be together,” as they put it….They climbed down K2’s Abruzzi Spur to Advanced base Camp and then onto Base Camp before nightfall.”

Even if Txikon had been successful, the feat would forever have an asterix next to it: winter officially ends in the Karakoram on February 28

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Jay Flemma