Final moments of sherpa who died on K2 summit: Father-of-three, 27, couldn’t ‘talk or hear’ in hours before death

11 August 2023, 22:44

The final moments of Muhammad Hassan have been revealed.
The final moments of Muhammad Hassan have been revealed. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The final moments of a sherpa who died on the world’s second-highest mountain have been revealed.

Muhammad Hassan, 27, was said to have “slipped and stayed hanging” with a rope as he waited for help in the hours before his death.

Hassan, who was a father to three children, was on his first expedition with the group Lela Peak Expedition.

Anwar Syed, of the group, said 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 told the MailOnline it offered to pay porters to retrieve his body, but “everyone said that it’s impossible to bring him down”.

It comes after a top mountaineer was forced to defend herself after facing claims that her team climbed over Hassan as they raced up the summit of K2 to secure a new world record.

Pictures showing climbers clambering past the injured father on the same day that Norway’s Kristin Harila ascended were slammed by fellow mountaineers.

They claimed a Western climber would not have been left to die and said the scenes would be unthinkable in the Alps.

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Mohammad Hassan who died on K2.
Mohammad Hassan who died on K2. Picture: Social media

Harila, 37, climbed Pakistan’s K2 on July 27, securing her 14th highest peak in just over three months to become the world’s fastest climber to scale all peaks above 8,000 metres.

During her ascent, porter Mohammed Hassan fell off a sheer edge at the top of the area known as the bottleneck, some 8,200 metres high. Ms Harila said her team did everything they could to save Mr Hassan but conditions were too dangerous to move him.

Austrian climbers Wilhelm Steindl and Philip Flämig who were also on K2 say drone footage they later recorded hours after Harila and her team had passed the ridge showed climbers walking over his body instead of trying to rescue him.

“It’s all there in the drone footage,” Mr Flämig told Austria’s Standard newspaper.

“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.”

Among those who passed him was Ms Harila.

Top mountaineer Kristin Harila denied claims she stepped over Hassan.
Top mountaineer Kristin Harila denied claims she stepped over Hassan. Picture: Alamy

Mr Steindl added: "Such a thing would be unthinkable in the Alps. He was treated like a second-class human being. “If he had been a Westerner, he would have been rescued immediately. No one felt responsible for him.

“What happened there is a disgrace. A living human was left lying so that records could be set."

Ms Harila told The Telegraph: “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.

“Given the conditions, it is hard to see how he could have been saved. He fell on what is 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.

"We did all we could for him."