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Climber Defends Ending K2 Climb After Discovering Dying Sherpa

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

The climber, Kristin Harila, turned one of many two quickest individuals — alongside together with her information, Tenjin Sherpa — to ascend all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter mountains in three months and slightly below a day, surpassing what was already thought-about an distinctive file 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 staff 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 achieve the summit relatively than abandon their climb to aim a rescue.

Mr. Hassan fell from a very harmful stretch of the climbing path on K2 often called the bottleneck and later died.

“There was no rescue mission,” Wilhelm Steindl, an Austrian climber who supplied video footage of different climbers stepping over Mr. Hassan on the slim mountain path, stated in an interview with Sky Information. “Seventy mountaineers stepped over a residing 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 area, 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 “satisfactory efforts had been made to rescue” Mr. Hassan, whom Ms. Harila stated was a part of one other staff.

The authorities stated they’d study the situations of Mr. Hassan’s climbing gear and “verify who approved him to climb with gear that may have been inadequate for such high-altitude expeditions and his degree of expertise.”

Folks often die summiting the tallest mountains on the planet, together with Mount Everest and K2. The treks are so harmful that the our bodies of fallen climbers are generally left behind, and some are by no means recovered.

Climate situations on K2 the day of Mr. Hassan’s dying had been so extreme that many climbers, together with Mr. Steindl, turned again.

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

“There’s a double customary right here,” Mr. Steindl stated. “If I, or some other Westerner, had been mendacity there, all the things would have been achieved to avoid wasting them. Everybody would have needed to flip again to convey the injured particular person again right down to the valley.”

Ms. Harila stated in a press release on her web site that she and her staff did all the things they may 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 staff spent hours making an attempt to rescue Mr. Hassan after discovering him hanging the wrong way up from a rope after he had fallen off the cliff.

Ms. Harila additionally stated that Mr. Hassan appeared to be “not correctly outfitted” 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 staff who helped to drag Mr. Hassan again on the path gave him his personal oxygen, Ms. Harila stated, and stayed with him till the staff 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 those who stayed behind and that had rotated, I believed Hassan can be getting all the assistance he might, and that he would be capable to get down.”

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

“You want six individuals to hold an individual down, particularly in harmful areas,” Ms. Harila stated. “Nonetheless, the bottleneck is so slim that you may solely match one particular person in entrance and one behind the particular person being helped. On this case, it was inconceivable to soundly carry Hassan down.”

Skilled mountaineers have complained in recent times 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 security internet 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 almost 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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