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Carrier Mohammed Hassan died on the K2: ‘A man abandoned for records’

It was dark and cold when Mohammed Hassan died after an accident on K2 on the night of 26/27 July. The accident on the K2, in the north of Pakistan, has become global news in the past few days. It was not Hassan’s name that made the headlines, but the name of 37-year-old Kristin Harila.

The reason: On the same night that Hassan died in the freezing cold on the second highest mountain in the world, the Norwegian mountain climber Harila set a world record on the same mountain. He and Tenjen Sherpa, an experienced mountain guide, were the fastest people to reach the top of the 14 highest mountains on earth.

To achieve this, Harila, like dozens of others who tried to reach the peak on July 27, would fail the Pakistani Hassan. After images were posted online showing dozens of climbers climbing a weakened Hassan without help, a storm of criticism followed, especially against Harila. What happened that night at K2?


Every year, people die on one of the “eight thousand” – 14 mountains on Earth that are more than 8,000 feet high. Climbers also regularly die on K2 due to avalanches, cold weather and falls. Hassan died “on the most dangerous part of the deadliest mountain in the world,” Norway’s Harila wrote in a post last week. Instagram.

According to Harila, Hassan fell and was caught upside down by a rope. He did not see the accident happen, because when things went wrong, Hassan was ahead of a difficult bottleneck on the road. The climber and his team tried to help Hassan, according to his reading. They managed to get Hassan, who was part of another team and was not wearing an oxygen mask or proper mountaineering gear, back onto the trail, the Norwegian climber said.

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After receiving news that an avalanche had occurred further up the road, Harila and another team member decided to continue climbing. Cameraman Harila stayed behind to help Hassan. But he eventually left Hassan behind because his own oxygen tank began to run empty, Harila writes.

The Pakistani carrier died several hours after he collapsed, lying on the trail. On the descent, Harila and other mountain climbers passed Hassan’s dead body. “It takes six people to bring one person down,” Harila wrote on Instagram. The narrow path and poor conditions made it “impossible” to lift Hassan’s body down the mountain, according to the climber.

‘Treated as a second class person’

Australian climbers who were on K2 at the same time released video of the incident. It shows that someone is helping Hassan. Meanwhile, a long procession of climbers passed on their way to the top. To continue on the narrow path, they climb on Hassan who is clearly weakened.

After the publication of the images, a storm followed on the Internet sometimes contradictory statements of climbing on K2 the night Hassan died. Hassan would die suddenly, or he would be alive just three hours after his fall. He would get caught in an avalanche, or maybe slip. He may have hit a rock and lost his oxygen mask as a result of the fall. The mountaineering organization Pakistan Alpine Club announced on Saturday that it would launch an investigation into Hassan’s death.

Austrian mountaineer Wilhelm Steindl, who posted photos of the incident online, expressed his outrage about the circumstances of Hassan’s death in the newspaper The standard: “He was treated like a second-class person. If he was a Westerner, he would have escaped immediately.”

“Somebody gave up on Hassan’s death so they could set the record straight,” Steindl said. Many people shared his anger, which seemed to be directed mainly at Harila. Harila defends his actions on K2, pointing to the extreme conditions during the climb: “At eight thousand meters, your survival instincts influence the choices you make.”

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