New Italian book about Tom Ballard

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 David Rose 10 Oct 2021

Following on the recent BBC documentary, there is now a book about Tom Ballard by Marco Berti, although for now, it's only available in Italian:

According to Google translate, the blurb says:

Tom Ballard was "son of the mountain" in the deepest sense of the word. It is not a bold metaphor, but the synthesis of a relationship that was first genetic and then animated by an exclusive, irrepressible, absolute passion.
He was the son of Alison Hargreaves, "the strongest of female mountaineers," according to Reinhold Messner. And also one of the most controversial: she had climbed the Eiger three months before giving birth to Tom, raising a crawl of controversy. The temperament of his mother and his way of living the challenge seem to suggest all the mountaineering choices of Tom, who completes the first solo of the six great walls of the Alps in a single winter: it is the Starlight and Storm project, which his mother had completed, first ever, over the course of a summer. We do not know how much the memory of her also lingered in her decision, in many ways inexplicable, to face the 8000ers starting with the terrifying Nanga Parbat. Perhaps he intended to approach, ideally, K2, the mountain on which Alison had lost her life when he was just six, as Messner speculates? We will never know. Tom himself admitted that his relationship with the mountains was strongly shaped by a childhood spent in tents, in base camps, following his mother. This existence as an "alpine snail", who carries everything he possesses with him, in which there is nothing but the essential, was the only one in which he felt fully at ease with him. A way of living, of course, but also of climbing: mostly alone, with very few means, without too much publicity. A confidentiality, a search for the essential that made him a true heir to classic mountaineering like Walter Bonatti.
In this book Marco Berti, a close friend and climbing companion, tells us the story of the young British mountaineer to the tragic end: the expedition on the infamous Sperone Mummery del Nanga Parbat, with Daniele Nardi, which started at Christmas 2018. After 24 February , the silence that surrounds the two climbers is more eloquent than a scream. We relive the desperate hours spent looking for traces. Uselessly. The mountain, magnificent and terrible, has recovered his son.

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