There was a lot of buzz today but followers of the search for Nardi and Ballard on Nanga Parbat were left unsure what the communications means. On K2, the Russian lead K2 team made slow progress and stopped for the night below Camp 4 but are still hopeful they can summit soon.
“Objects” Sighted on Nanga
The Italian ambassador based in Pakistan, Stefano Pontecorvo, tweeted that Alex Txikon and his team spotted two figures or “silhouettes” low on the Mummery Rib late yesterday. Txikon was using a high-powered telescope from the base camp to make one last visual survey of their route. To be clear, its unknown of the objects are bodies, or even Nanga Parbat climbers Tom Ballard and Daniel Nardi, and if so, were they moving at all.
Tixkon and team were schedule to be picked up by a Pakistan military helicopter and flown back to K2 to continue their summit ambitions. However, once the sighting was made, a call for the helicopters to come immediately was made but the conflict with India stopped that opportunity for March 7. Pontecorvo is saying the choppers will pick up Txikon tomorrow morning, weather permitting, and fly to the location of the object sighting for further inspection.
In a move that signals an end to the overall search effort, the base camp of tents, cooks, etc used by Ballard and Nardi was taken down and the entire staff along with Txikon and teammates, went down Valley to the tiny village of Ser. This is where the helicopters will pick Txikon up tomorrow.
If the objects are the climbers, that would help bring closure for their families. The two have now been missing for 11 days.
K2: Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan Team – Near C4 established
Part of the Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan team climbed a bit higher today to 7,400-meters a bit short of their traditional Camp 4 location objective around 7,600-meters. If the weather holds, they may make a summit attempt from this location but closer would be better.
K2: Spanish/Galician Team – Still on Naga, Sherpas on K2
Four members of the K2 team lead by Alex Txikon’s , Alex Txikon, Felix Criado, Ignacio de Zuloaga and Dr. josep Sanchis, are all at the village of Ser waiting for the helicopter tomorrow. Txikon and one or two other searchers will take a helicopter tour where the objects were sighted. I assume, they will return to K2 for their attempt once there is clarity on the objects.
Memories are Everything