GILGIT: The last-ditch attempts on Monday to trace the two foreign climbers failed at Nanga Parbat, fading the hopes of survival of the Italian and British mountaineers who went missing on Feb 24.
Friends and rescuers believed that Daniel Nardi, 42, from Italy, and Tom Ballard, 30, from UK, who went missing at an altitude of 6,300 meters, had been buried by snow avalanches.
Army aviation helicopters flown over 6,300 meters through Mummery Spur route, but only tents of the climbers were spotted which were buried under snow.
Army Aviation helicopters on Sunday resumed the mission and picked four Spanish climbers, including a doctor from K2 base camp, to initiate drone search operation for missing climbers, however, the helicopters could not drop Spanish climbers at Nanga Parbat because of bad weather.
On Monday morning, two army helicopters took off from Skardu in difficult weather conditions, flew over Camp-I and spent 10 minutes up there to reconnoiter a landing spot at Camp-I.
Alpine Club of Pakistan, in a statement, said Alex Txikon, a Spanish climber involved in the search mission, reported from his satellite phone that no traces of their friends were found. “Great respect to Pakistani pilots, who managed to land helicopters in C1 - it’s very very risky,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ali Sadpara and his colleagues continued their foot search while staying at the base camp, despite deteriorating weather condition at the peak, but without any result.
Mr Sadpara, who has been at Nanga Parbat for last four days to assist the foreign rescuers, told Dawn that it was a fifth attempt of Nardi to scale Nanga Parbat in winter, and it was his dream to set world record climbing the killer mountain through new route in winter.
He said through Mummery Spur route no one had ascended Nanga Parbat so far, even during summer.
According to the foreign media, the girl friend of British climber Tom Ballard has said there is no hope left of him being alive.
Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2019