Controversy Surrounds Norwegian Climber’s Summit as Deceased Sherpa Identified

By | August 12, 2023



Norwegian climber Kristin Harila faced controversy after photos and videos showed her team stepping past a fallen sherpa while climbing K2. Harila denied the accusations and stated that her team did everything they could to help the sherpa, who was not part of her team. The fallen porter, identified as Pakistani Mohammed Hassan, reportedly died later. Harila shared a picture of Hassan on Instagram, expressing sadness and denying any blame for his death. An inquiry into the incident has been opened by tourism authorities in Pakistan. India Today World Desk reported

Kristin Harila, a Norwegian climber who recently achieved the impressive feat of being one of the fastest individuals to conquer the world’s 14 highest peaks, has found herself embroiled in controversy. Photos and videos circulating on social media show Harila and her team walking past a fallen sherpa on July 27th in order to reach the summit of the second highest mountain in the world, K2.

However, Harila vehemently denies any wrongdoing and asserts that her team made every effort to assist the fallen sherpa as they persevered in their conquest of K2. Situated on the Pakistan-China border and towering at a height of 8,611m (28,251ft), K2 is renowned for its treacherous terrain and high level of danger. The unfortunate fallen porter, later identified as 27-year-old Pakistani Mohammed Hassan, was not a member of Harila’s team. Tragically, he passed away a few hours after the incident occurred.

The incident took place as Harila was en route to the summit of K2 to secure a world record as the fastest climber to conquer all peaks above 8,000m (26,000ft). According to reports, Hassan fell from a perilously narrow pathway known as a bottleneck.

Images depicting individuals climbing over Hassan were shared by two other climbers who were also on the mountain that day. However, they had decided to cancel their ascent due to hazardous weather conditions and an avalanche.

Harila firmly denies the allegations that Hassan was abandoned to his fate. In an Instagram post, she shared a photo of Hassan and expressed her condolences, stating, “There is a lot to say about all that happened on K2.” She added, “My heart and thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Hassan, and I feel very saddened by this entire situation.” Harila further explained that she had been walking when she noticed the team Hassan belonged to a few meters ahead before the tragic accident occurred. She asserted that nobody should be held responsible for his death and clarified that she made her statement to prevent the spread of “misinformation and hatred.”

Harila admitted that she did not witness the exact sequence of events, but she recounted seeing Hassan hanging upside down on a rope between two ice anchors, with his harness positioned around his knees and his exposed stomach in contact with the snow. Her team made efforts for an hour and a half to secure a rope to the guide, provide him with oxygen and hot water, until an avalanche occurred nearby.

Meanwhile, the tourism authorities in Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan, responsible for issuing climbing permits, have launched an investigation into the incident.

(AFP inputs).