It appears that Tom Ballard’s expedition to K2 is over for now. The Dailyrecord has reported that he will not be going to the mountain in December. Almost nothing has been heard from the family since he announced to the world that he wanted to be the first person to climb K2 in winter. In 1995 his mum, Alison Hargreaves, died in a storm on K2.
His grandmother confirmed that he will not be going. She has no contact with Tom’s father Jim these days because of a family feud. But she is in contact with Tom’s sister. She had heard that a few weeks ago that the trip was off.
Earlier in the year Ballard had moved with his sister and dad to Switzerland to prepare for K2. He had intended to climb K2 in an alpine manner without using oxygen. It was going to filmed as a documentary by Chris Terrill.
At the moment Terrill is filming hurricanes in the Caribbean and those who know him say that he has no immediate plans to go to K2. This may further confirm that the expedition to K2 is off.
Further than this, the food company that was supposed to have supplied food for the expedition have heard nothing. A spokesman for Westlers said that he had not heard anything since a photo shoot with Kate, Tom’s sister, in June.
Also a hotel manager in Switzerland where they have been staying said that they are no longer at the hotel. He said that they have not gone to Pakistan, but rather another place in Switzerland.
The attempt drew the scorn of climbers who thought that the task was too difficult for someone without any experience climbing 8000m mountains.
Alan Hinkes, who climbed K2 in 1995, had this to say when he first heard that Ballard was going to make a winter attempt, “I was gobsmacked when I heard. Good luck to him but this is barmy. Being on your own in winter doesn’t bear thinking about – the weather is just horrendous. To be honest, it’s pie in the sky.”
Of course, there needs to be an official announcement to confirm all of this.