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Tom Ballard - UK

He is a visionary who found his way and is following it solo, without compromises. Tom Ballard was born in the Peak District in 1988, he was raised in the Scottish Highlands and now lives in Val di Fassa, in the Dolomites. The mountains were thus part and parcel of his childhood, and he dreamt of becoming a mountaineer just like his mother, the unforgotten Alison Hargreaves. He accomplished astonishing, often unknown routes, and became famous with his Starlight and Storm project, where he solo climbed the six north faces of the Alps in winter, celebrated by Gaston Rébuffat. Among his Dolomites feats, Tom especially remembers the first free climb of Olimpia (8a) on the Catinaccio and the free solo of the Vinatzer-Messner on the Marmolada. “Climbing is like a cut diamond” – he explains – “with many extraordinary facets, from bouldering to big walls. But climbing a big wall alone, relying only on ourselves, is the most incredible experience. It is truly special, though exciting and frightening at the same time.”

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