In Memory of Tom Ballard 1988 – 2019
On Thursday 7th March it was confirmed that British mountaineer Tom Ballard and Italian climber Daniele Nardi had lost their lives while attempting a first ascent of the Mummery Spur on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan.
Numerous parties including the Base Camp support team, other mountaineering groups from across the region and the Pakistan Army did everything they could to locate the team after they went missing on Sunday 24th February. Early on Thursday, 7th March, another expedition team lead by Spanish climber Alex Txikon identified the bodies of both men on the route they had been attempting.
During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and deepest sympathies go first to Tom’s and Daniele’s families and closest friends. Tom spoke highly of Daniele as a family man with a shared passion for the mountains, he was a highly respected climber and he leaves behind a young family. Tom had worked with us since October 2015, and so we at Montane want to offer our tribute to this unique and talented young man that we had the privilege to work with and know.
Tom was widely considered one of the best climbers of his generation, with the likes of Reinhold Messner and Sir Chris Bonington describing him as “the bright future of alpinism”, and he gained plaudits from all corners of the climbing world for his incredible “Starlight & Storm” project, where he was the first to solo all six great North Faces of the Alps in a winter season.
Tom began climbing and skiing at a young age and was at home in the mountains as anyone could ever wish to be; he had an infectious passion and drive that endeared him to everyone he met.
His personality and wit were equally brilliant – incredibly positive, polite, modest and passionate about what he did; he was a big part of our athlete team and mountaineering product direction and development. Tom’s input and imprint on the individuals at the company, cannot be measured. We will miss him.
On first meeting Tom at our offices in Northumberland, we asked him for a quote that best described why he climbed, and his response seems fitting;
“All men dream: But not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence
RIP Tom & Daniele