Mountaineer Kristin Harila defends walking past dying Sherpa on K2 = records over people


Amidst a world record-breaking ascent of K2, a prominent mountaineer finds herself defending her actions against disturbing accusations. Allegations have surfaced that her team disregarded an ailing Sherpa on the treacherous path to the summit, sparking condemnation from fellow climbers. They argue that such a scenario would be unthinkable in any other mountain range, raising concerns about the treatment of local Sherpas in the Himalayas.

Norwegian climber Kristin Harila, aged 37,  conquered Pakistan’s K2 on July 27, completing her 14th ascent of a peak above 8,000 meters in just over three months. Her remarkable accomplishment, however, was marred by an incident involving porter Mohammed Hassan, who tragically fell from the daunting precipice known as the bottleneck, situated at a daunting elevation of approximately 8,200 meters.

Harila has adamantly stated that her team made every possible effort to save Hassan, but the hazardous conditions made it impossible to safely relocate him. Despite her claims, a duo of climbers present on K2 that day, Wilhelm Steindl and Philip Flämig from Austria, have cast doubts on the priorities of their fellow mountaineers. They argue that the pursuit of records appeared to overshadow the preservation of life, as evidenced by drone footage captured hours after Harila and her team had traversed the ridge. This footage purportedly shows climbers passing by Hassan’s body without making a concerted rescue effort. The situation has ignited a fiery debate, prompting reflection on the treatment and role of local Sherpas within the Himalayan mountaineering community.

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