Western mountain climbers allegedly left Pakistani porter to die on K2

A Norwegian mountaineering team is accused of leaving an injured porter to die on Pakistan’s K2 mountain this past July, allegedly choosing to continue their record-breaking climb instead of trying to rescue him. 

The lead climber, Kristin Harila, along with her guide, Tenjin Sherpa, became the fastest two people to climb all 14 of the ‘eight-thousanders’ — mountains that are more than 8,000 meters tall. The pair’s feat, though, has been eclipsed by new allegations that Harila and her group left Muhammad Hassan, a 27-year-old Pakistani porter and father of three, to die on the world’s second-highest peak. 

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The accusations came from two other climbers, Wilhelm Steindl and Philip Flämig, who alleged that Harila, Sherpa, and more than 70 other total climbers bypassed Hassan, who had fallen from a dangerous portion of K2’s trail and would later die. “There was no rescue mission,” Steindl told Sky News in an interview, adding that there was “no attempt” to save Hassan. 

Steindl noted that Hassan fell at the front of the pack, and that “70 mountaineers stepped over a living guy who needed big help at this moment, and they decided to keep on going to the summit.” 

Steindl also told The Associated Press he believed there was less concern given to Hassan because he was Pakistani. “There is a double standard here. If I or any other Westerner had been lying there, everything would have been done to save them” Steindl told the AP, adding that “everyone would have had to turn back to bring the injured person back down to the valley.”

Harila has denied any wrongdoing, writing in a statement that Hassan’s death “was no one’s fault, you cannot comment when you do not understand the situation,” and that contrary to reports, they did try to help him prior to his demise.

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