December 7, 2023

A Norwegian climber defended her resolution to proceed a record-breaking collection of climbs final month after encountering an injured porter who later died throughout her ascent of K2, the second-highest mountain on the earth.

The climber, Kristin Harila, turned one of many two quickest folks — alongside together with her information, Tenjin Sherpa — to ascend all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter mountains in three months and just below a day, surpassing what was already thought of an distinctive document of six months and 6 days set by the Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja in 2019.

However two different climbers who had been on the mountain on that day, July 27, stated that Ms. Harila, her group and different climbers ignored an injured man — Muhammad Hassan, a 27-year-old father of three from Pakistan — as a result of they needed to succeed in the summit slightly than abandon their climb to aim a rescue.

Mr. Hassan fell from a very harmful stretch of the climbing path on K2 generally known as the bottleneck and later died.

“There was no rescue mission,” Wilhelm Steindl, an Austrian climber who offered video footage of different climbers stepping over Mr. Hassan on the slender mountain path, stated in an interview with Sky News. “Seventy mountaineers stepped over a dwelling man who wanted massive assist at this second, they usually determined to maintain on going to the summit.”

The authorities in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, the place a portion of the mountain is situated, recognized Mr. Hassan as a “high-altitude porter.” They stated they had been investigating whether or not “sufficient efforts had been made to rescue” Mr. Hassan, whom Ms. Harila stated was a part of one other group.

The authorities stated they might study the circumstances of Mr. Hassan’s climbing gear and “confirm who licensed him to climb with tools that may have been inadequate for such high-altitude expeditions and his stage of expertise.”

Individuals frequently die summiting the tallest mountains on the earth, together with Mount Everest and K2. The treks are so harmful that the bodies of fallen climbers are typically left behind, and some are never recovered.

Climate circumstances on K2 the day of Mr. Hassan’s loss of life had been so extreme that many climbers, together with Mr. Steindl, turned back.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Steindl stated that Mr. Hassan might have been saved if Ms. Harila and others had deserted their climb.

“There’s a double commonplace right here,” Mr. Steindl stated. “If I, or some other Westerner, had been mendacity there, every little thing would have been carried out to avoid wasting them. Everybody would have needed to flip again to carry the injured individual again all the way down to the valley.”

Ms. Harila stated in a statement on her website that she and her group did every little thing they might to avoid wasting Mr. Hassan. She added that “it’s actually tragic what occurred, and I really feel very strongly for the household.”

Ms. Harila stated she and her group spent hours making an attempt to rescue Mr. Hassan after discovering him hanging the other way up from a rope after he had fallen off the cliff.

Ms. Harila additionally stated that Mr. Hassan appeared to be “not correctly geared up” to climb the 28,251-foot-tall mountain, noting that he had no gloves, no oxygen masks and no down swimsuit after they discovered him.

In Ms. Harila’s account, a bunch of Sherpas forward of them informed her that they had been turning round, and “as we understood it that meant there was extra assist going to Hassan.”

One other member of Ms. Harila’s group who helped to tug Mr. Hassan again on the path gave him his personal oxygen, Ms. Harila stated, and stayed with him till the group member himself started to expire of oxygen.

“We determined to proceed ahead as too many individuals within the bottleneck would make it extra harmful for a rescue,” she stated. “Contemplating the quantity of people who stayed behind and that had rotated, I believed Hassan can be getting all the assistance he might, and that he would have the ability to get down.”

She added that her group handed Mr. Hassan once more on the way in which down. By then, he was useless however her group was “in no form” to get well the physique, she stated.

“You want six folks to hold an individual down, particularly in harmful areas,” Ms. Harila stated. “Nonetheless, the bottleneck is so slender you can solely match one individual in entrance and one behind the individual being helped. On this case, it was not possible to securely carry Hassan down.”

Skilled mountaineers have complained in recent years that overcrowded mountain paths in Nepal — with too many inexperienced climbers — have contributed to avoidable deaths.

Climbing guides are additionally more and more leaving the trade, pushed off by the hazards of the job and a scant safety net for the households of these guides who die or who’re left disabled.

In June, Gelje Sherpa and different guides rescued a Malaysian climber on Mount Everest at an elevation practically as excessive as K2’s peak, abandoning their very own climb and taking turns carrying the climber again to camp in a five-hour descent.

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