Climber and solo alpine specialist Tom Ballard joins Montane as a sponsored athlete
One of Europe’s most exciting young climbers has become a Montane sponsored athlete. Tom Ballard, 26, joins the company off the back of a remarkable achievement to become the first person to solo climb all six major faces of the Alps in one winter, a feat known as ‘Starlight and Storm’.
Tom enjoys most of his climbing alone, and especially in the Italian Dolomites where he is currently based with his father. He has completed more than 250 routes in the area, including many winter ascents. But it was his upbringing in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, where he learnt to climb, as well as ski and snowboard.
Tom has been climbing since he was a young boy. His mother is Alison Hargreaves, one of Britain’s best and well known mountaineers. She even climbed the North Face of the Eiger while six months pregnant with Tom.
Tom Ballard said: “Since I was 10 all I wanted to do was to climb. Even before I was born I climbed the North Face of the Eiger. So I think it’s not much of a surprise what I do now.
“I’m delighted to join Montane as an athlete alongside the likes of Andy Kirkpatrick. It is a company that shares my ethos of climbing and, of course, the clothing and packs are superb – perfect for my needs.”
He certainly needs the best gear. As well as the ‘Starlight and Storm’ in winter, other recent highlights include second ascents of ‘Ironman’ D14+ and ‘Superman’ D13+ in Eptingen, Switzerland, and the first free ascent in winter of the 250m 8a Olimpia-Going for Gold in the Dolomites.
Terry Stephenson, Marketing Manager at Montane, said: “It’s wonderful to have one of Europe’s greatest climbing talents join Montane’s athlete team. When the likes of Reinhold Messner declares modern alpinism is no longer moribund after seeing Tom climb, you know he is something special.
“His style of ‘done-in-a-day’ alpinism perfectly suits Montane’s ethos of producing lightweight clothing but not at the expense of quality or the ability to stand up against the harshest of conditions and we are already developing exciting new products with him.”
Tom has also been the subject of the recent Kendal Mountain Festival 2015 film entry entitled TOM which won the Best Mountaineering Film category and was directed by Angel Estaban & Elena Goatelli , the film explores Tom’s history and his passion for climbing. Next for Tom is the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup in Bozeman, Montana, where he’ll compete in the first round in early December.