Just two climbers tried to help a dying sherpa on the world’s second highest mountain as fellow mountaineers edged around.
Muhammad Hassan, 27, lay seriously injured 1,300ft from the summit of K2 after slipping in a bottle neck area of the mountain on July 27.
The father of three was said to have ‘slipped and stayed hanging’ with a rope and couldn’t ‘talk or even hear’ as he waited for help.
The expedition was his first working with the group Lela Peak Expedition though it isn’t known whether it was his first as a climber.
Anwar Syed, of Lela Peak Expedition, told Mail Online that two climbers ‘tried their hardest to bring him down but they couldn’t do it and he passed away after two hours’.
The expedition group claims it offered payment to other porters to retrieve the body but ‘everyone said that it’s impossible to bring him down’.
Mr Syed said that Mr Hassan was much higher up than three climbers whose bodies were previously deemed unrecoverable from the mountain in Pakistan.
Fellow mountaineers have accused climbers of being more interested in setting records than saving the life of the porter.
Instead of helping him, fellow climbers went up the side of the mountain and past him
Muhammad Hassan lay dying after he slipped at a dangerous point on the mountain
Footage shows dozens of fellow climbers carefully edging towards him, risking their lives as they clung to the side of the narrow ledge.
They then clambered around the stricken 27-year-old as they continued up the mountain.
A mountaineer’s code of ethics: What should Hassan’s fellow climbers have done to help him?
The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) warns that all climbers practice their sport at their own risk and are responsible and accountable for their own safety.
Providing advice for mountaineers, the group – considered the international governing body of climbing and mountaineering – warns that ‘all participants in mountain sports should clearly understand the risks and hazards’.
While the organisation does not explicitly state how or if the fellow climbers should have helped Hassan – especially considering they may have put themselves at risk – they are advised to be ‘ready to help others in the event of an emergency or accident and also be ready to face the consequences of a tragedy’.
Kristin Harila, a Norweigian mountaineer who passed by Hassan, said she and her team had done everything they could to help him but the conditions on K2 were too dangerous.
Norway’s Kristin Harila and her team who passed by Hassan are among those who have been criticised.
She is also accused of holding a party shortly after clinching the record that saw her climb 14 of the world’s highest peaks in just over three months – despite Hassan’s death.
She has claimed that she and her team did everything they could to help Hassan but the conditions on K2 were too dangerous to move him.
But mountaineer Philip Flämig, an Austrian who was climbing with Wilhelm Steindl, said footage the two recorded using a drone shows a trail of climbers walking over the stricken body instead of helping Hassan.
‘He is being treated by one person while everyone else is pushing towards the summit.
‘The fact is that there was no organised rescue operation although there were Sherpas and mountain guides on site who could have taken action.’
He called the death a ‘disgrace’ and said ‘such a thing would be unthinkable in the Alps’ – referencing the ongoing debate about how Sherpas are used in the Himalayas.
‘If he had been a Westerner, he would have been rescued immediately. No one felt responsible for him,’ he told the Austrian publication.
‘A living human was left lying so that records could be set.’
Harila defended her actions to The Daily Telegraph, saying ‘we did all we could for him’.
She added: ‘It is simply not true to say that we did nothing to help him. We tried to lift him back up for an hour and a half and my cameraman stayed on for another hour to look after him. At no point was he left alone.’
She said that given the conditions it was unlikely he could be saved as he had fallen on to what was ‘probably the most dangerous part of the mountain where the chances of carrying someone off were limited by the narrow trail and poor snow conditions’.
Norwegian climber Kristin Harila (pictured) said that she and her team did everything they could to help Hassan but the conditions on K2 were too dangerous to move him
Climbers were just 1,200 ft from the summit of K2, the second tallest mountain in the world
The footage of the fatality last month shows people physically climbing over Hassan as he lies helpless in the deep snow.
The video then pans over to show clouds several thousand feet below them, revealing just how high they were when the footage was taken.
The air is so thin at this elevation that all people seen in the video were wearing oxygen masks.
It appears that just one person ended up helping him, an unknown rescuer who managed to keep him conscious for a while before he died of his injuries. There was no rescue operation to help the young man.
Steindl, who participated in the climb but had returned to the base camp earlier due to the dangerous conditions, also told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he was sickened by the inaction of the fellow climbers.
‘It was a very heated, competitive race to the top. What happened there is scandalous.
‘A living person is left behind so records can be set. It only took 3 or 4 people to save him. Had I seen it, I would have climbed up to help the poor man.’
Despite these strong claims, differing accounts of the tragedy have circulated, leading to uncertainty over exactly what took place all the way up K2.
Lakpa Sherpa, a mountaineer who was on the climb and took the video, told MailOnline that the footage doesn’t capture what actually happened:
‘Some of the climbers and Sherpas tried to save his life although he passed away.
‘The climbers have all spent a lot of money to do this climb and there is the value of time too for the climb. Hundreds of climbers tried to save him but they cannot give up their mission.
‘The reality is they have tried to save the life and this is below the great serace bottle neck, where it’s impossible to cross without rope so it’s a very difficult situation.
‘Many climbers and sherpas told him to go back as he had very poor equipment and was not well equipped and also there was very bad weather during the summit window but he did not listen and then he fell down.
‘It was very difficult to bring the body down. They have to summit the mountain. There’s only a little chance for them.’
Bulgarian climber Silvia Azdreeva, who was on the trip when Hassan died, said in a Facebook post that climbing K2 is not for the faint-hearted: ‘On K2 there is no one to save you that fast, you’ll have to wait for days if something happens to you.
‘This mountain is not for everyone. K2 has a very heavy character.’
Bulgarian climber Silvia Azdreeva said: ‘This mountain is not for everyone. K2 has a very heavy character’
K2 – pictured from overlooking town Askole in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan – gained notoriety as the ‘Savage Mountain’ after American mountaineer George Bell descended from the peak in 1953
Shockingly, Wilhelm Steindl claimed that a party was held shortly after Mr. Hassan died in celebration of Kristin Harila, a Norwegian woman who set a new world record after she climbed the 14 of the world’s highest peaks in just over 3 months.
‘I didn’t go, I was disgusted. Someone had just died up there,’ the furious climber said.
He revealed in a GoFundMe set up for Mr. Hassan’s family that he leaves behind three children and a wife, as well as an elderly grandmother.
At time of publication, the page has already raised £63,000.
The newly-crowned world record holder Kristin Harila said of the tragedy: ‘My heart and thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Hassan and I feel very sad about this whole situation.’
K2 is considered to be the world’s most dangerous mountain as it has a fatality rate of around 19 per cent compared to just 6.5 per cent on Everest, according to estimates.
For every 20 people who summit Everest, only one summits K2 and there are inherently more risks.
Routes on K2 are not as defined or well laid out with the climb being much more technical with a combination of rock, ice and alpine climbing – and avalanches are also much more common.
The mountain gained notoriety as the ‘Savage Mountain’ after American mountaineer George Bell came down from the peak in 1953 where he nearly slipped to his death.
‘It’s a savage mountain that tries to kill you,’ he observed following his traitorous climb.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.