Tom Ballard was born in the Peak District of England in 1988 before moving to the Highlands of Scotland in 1995. Here he went to school in the sight and smell of Britain’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis 4406 ft. He has never had any other wish or thought than to be a climber. What set him apart was the pure enjoyment and satisfaction he found in being on his own. From boulders to alpine faces, he enjoyed it all. He was at his most content and happiest in solo alpinism. Although mixed climbing ran a close second. A creative climber he gained satisfaction in either creating new routes or making free ascents of climbs that formerly used aid. He was considered to be one of the best climbers in the world.
The winter of 2014/15 saw him attempt to solo the six great Alpine north faces, so eloquently defined in Rebuffat's ''Starlight and Strom''. He started with the Comici with the Constantini finish on the Cima Grande, had a windy time on the Matterhorns Schmid and a cold time on the Badile's Cassin.
Inspired on-sighting put away the McIntyre-Colton on the Grandes Jorasses whilst his eight hours on the Dru's Allain turned Chamonix heads when it turned out to be the first winter solo. Feeling more dead than alive he rounded off his sextet with perhaps the most iconic of all North faces with the 1938 route on the Eiger. Messner was so moved by his style and ethics that he generously said that he had thought that modern alpinism was moribund. Now he could look forward with good heart as it was alive and well - in the guise of Tom Ballard.
Expeditions and articles
Cerro Torre AKA 'Patagonia Horizontal
How to Be An Alien
A Line Above The Sky Rock and Ice - Tom Ballard Establishes World’s Hardest Dry Tooling Route
Desnivel - Tom Ballard resuelve 'French connection' D15- en Dolomitas
UK Climbing - World's First D15 for Tom Ballard
Planet Mountain - Tom Ballard claims world's first D15 dry tooling climb in the Dolomites
Gripped - Tom Ballard Sends New European D15
Planet Mountain - Tom Ballard and his plan B: Pizzo Cengalo and Pizzo Badile solo one winter's morning
The Telegraph - Tom Ballard: The new king of the Alps
The BMC - Climbing in his DNA: Tom Ballard ticks project Starlight and Storm
BBC - K2 climb: Tom Ballard plans to follow in mother's footsteps
Planet Mountain - Tom Ballard, climbing in his veins