Ball was a New Zealand Antarctic Division field guide and instructor in survival training at Scott Base in 1976–77 and a field guide in northern Victoria Land for the GANOVEX expedition in 1979–80. He also climbed Aoraki (Mt Cook) 26 times, at that time a record.
In 1989 Gary Ball tried unsuccessfully to climb Mount Everest. In 1990 Gary Ball summited Mount Everest with Peter Hillary and Rob Hall. They made a call from the summit to a New Zealand television station for an on-air talk during prime time. On return to New Zealand they appeared in parades and gained corporate sponsorships for additional climbs. With Hall, Ball climbed the Seven Summits in seven months in 1990. Together, Ball and Hall founded Adventure Consultants in 1991, and were among the pioneers of guided tours of Mount Everest. Hall and Ball had climbed 16 mountains together and were celebrities in New Zealand for their climbing exploits.
Ball died in October 1993 after coming down with high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) while climbing Himalayan mountain Dhaulagiri with Hall. Hall buried Ball's body in a crevasse on the mountain, and it was rediscovered ten years later. In 2004 his family members planned a trip to re-bury the body.
Ball Glacier is a 7 nautical miles (13 km) long glacier in Victoria Land, Antarctica named by the New Zealand Geographic Board after Ball. Ball climbed Mount Lister with an Italian field party in 1976–77, and camped on this glacier; he was field assistant with R.H. Findlay’s New Zealand Antarctic Research Program party to this area, 1980–81.
Ball Peak is a mountain named by the New Zealand Geographic Board after Ball. This was related to his time as a New Zealand Antarctic Division field guide and instructor in survival training at Scott Base in 1976–77 and as a field guide in northern Victoria Land for the GANOVEX expedition in 1979–80. Ball peak is a mountain 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) tall at the head of Loftus Glacier in the Asgard Range, Victoria Land, Antarctica. It stands in proximity to Mount Hall and Harris Peak, with which this naming is associated.
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- "Ball Peak". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- Edwards, Grace (27 March 2004), "Brother in mission to lay past to rest", The New Zealand Herald
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- "The background and history of Adventure Consultants New Zealand, co-founded by Rob Hall and Gary Ball, now directed by Guy Cotter". Adventureconsultants.com. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Wilson, John (18 December 2013), "Mountaineering - New Zealand climbers overseas: Hall, Hillary and Ball", Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, retrieved 16 May 2016
- Gary Ball, climber, dies on mountain, Reuters, 11 October 1993, archived from the original on 11 September 2016
- "Death Zone". Books.google.com. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 54. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.