Mountaineers accused of climbing over dying guide near K2 summit
Authorities are investigating claims climbers stepped over a dying porter near the peak of the world’s most treacherous mountain.
Mohammed Hassan, a 27-year-old father of three, slipped and fell from the trail in an area on K2 located between Kashmir and China known as the bottle neck on July 27.
Austrian climber Wilhelm Steindl and German Philip Flaemig had attempted to reach the summit earlier that day but aborted their climb due to adverse weather conditions.
Reviewing drone footage of their climb later on, they claim to have seen dozens of other mountaineers passing Hassan instead of attempting to provide him with help.
Steindl says the video does show one person attempting to keep Hassan alive. He said: ‘We know by now that this was his friend, also a Pakistani high altitude porter. And what you also see in the drone footage is a line of 70 climbers marching towards the summit.’
He went on: ‘There is a double standard here. If I or any other Westerner had been lying there, everything would have been done to save them. Everyone would have had to turn back to bring the injured person back down to the valley.’
In particular, the allegations have prompted hostility towards Norwegian mountain Kristin Harila and her Sherpa guide Tenjin, who on the day in question broke records to become the fastest climbers to scale the world’s 14 highest peaks in just 92 days.
Writing on Instagram on Friday, Harila said she was ‘angry at how many people have been blaming others for this tragic death’, insisting no-one was at fault.
Steindl said: ‘I don’t want to kind of directly blame anybody. I’m just saying there was no rescue operation initiated and that’s really very, very tragic because that’s actually the most normal thing one would do in a situation like that.’
In an interview with Sky News, Harila explained that members of her team did pull Hassan back onto the trail after he was found dangling from a rope with his head facing down.
She and another member of her team then decided to continue to the summit while a third remained with the injured man to provide him with warm water and oxygen from their mask.
Karrar Haidri – secretary of the Pakistan Alpine Club, which serves as the country’s governing mountaineering body – has confirmed that an investigation has been launched into Hassan’s death.
Steindl claims to have since visited Hassan’s family, setting up a crowd-funding campaign that has raised more than 114,000 euros (£98,400) as of Saturday.
He said: ‘I saw the suffering of the family. The widow told me that her husband did all this so that his children would have a chance in life, so that they could go to school.’
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