In Pakistan, on July 27, around 200 climbers scaled the summit of the 8,611-meter-high K2, the highest mountain in the Karakorum, under adverse conditions. The Norwegian Kristin Harila set a world record: She managed to climb all 14 eight-thousanders in the world within 92 days. But the record is overshadowed by a scandal.
At least two avalanches are said to have occurred during the ascent. The Pakistani high porter Mohammad Hassan fell several meters vertically at 2.30 a.m. and got caught upside down with bare legs in a fixed rope that he and his colleagues had installed. This was reported by the cameraman Philip Flämig, who filmed the ascent with a drone, the Austrian ” Standard “. A new rope was attached to the crash site to enable the others to continue climbing.
Mann was still alive, but “about 50 people” climbed past him
Nevertheless, according to his research, it took around three quarters of an hour before Hassan was pulled up. Nobody seemed to have bothered to drag him into the valley.
Flämig learned from three eyewitnesses “that this man was still alive while around 50 people climbed past him”. This is also visible on the drone recordings. Hassan is then treated by one person while everyone else continues to climb. Nobody could have made the diagnosis on site that the mountain porter could no longer be helped. However, no organized rescue operation took place. “Some of the statements go so far that the people who came back from the summit still found someone alive,” says Flämig.
“He’s miserably crazy over there”
“He died miserably there,” says hotelier and mountaineer Wilhelm Steindl, who had already turned back prematurely due to the conditions, to the “Standard”. “It would have only taken three, four people to bring him down.”
For most, however, the summit attack had priority. According to Flämig, three climbers were aiming for a new record. “It was a very heated, competitive summit rush.” ”What happened there is a shame,” says Steindl. “A living person is left behind so that records can be achieved.”
According to Flämig, the fatality was “not properly equipped” and had no experience. He “was chosen for the first time as a base camp porter to a high porter. But he wasn’t qualified for that.”
The victim’s employer refused to pay his family wages
According to photographer Flämig, another reason for the failure to provide assistance could be the conflict between Pakistani high porters and Nepalese Sherpas. The Sherpas are very focused on their customers. Since they “see that the Pakistani high-altitude porters are getting better and better at moving around in the terrain,” they don’t want to “let anyone take the butter off their bread,” suspects Flämig.
After the terrible event, Steindl and Flämig visited Hassan’s relatives and gave his wife, who had diabetes, and their three children $2,500. Her deceased husband was only 27 years old, according to the widow. His employer is said to have refused to pay the Hassan family a salary after the accident because his work was not completed.
On the occasion of Harila’s world record, a celebration took place in the base camp, says Steindl. “I didn’t go, it disgusted me.”