Muhammad Hassan: K2 Porter Death That Ignited Mountaineering Community

An incident that blew the minds of the mountaineering community, along with people outside of it, is rather for the worst possible reason. Muhammad Hassan, who died on the way to Mount K2 in Pakistan, was stepped on by many climbers who were making their way up and down the mountain.

The shallow move of the climbers is perhaps not just shocking but a great question to humanity. With the help of an article from the Explorer’s Web, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan aided them in finding further details of the story. It is, however, unfortunate that not much has been known to either the people or the mountaineers who were all in rage after the incident. The inquiries, when put together, did not amount to clarity, but it led to a two-year ban.

Make sure to read till the end of this article to learn more about Muhammad Hassan and his death!

What happened to Muhammad Hassan?

What happened to Muhammad Hassan

Muhammad Hassan was a porter who worked for climbers in K2. The weather conditions, as well as the climate of the mountain, are known to all. It is one of the most dangerous mountains in the world, otherwise known as the Killer Mountain. The climbers either have to make their way back home midway, summit the peak, or straight up pass away there. The day of July 27, 2023, was not an exception. This was the time only Kristin Harila and Tenjen Sherpa had climbed the peak. Reports and warnings about avalanches were all around the mountain, and every climber was made aware of it. That was the time when they got a very sketchy report of the death of a porter named Muhammad Hassan at the Bottleneck, 8,600-metre up the mountain.

There were numerous questions regarding his death. However, the answers only summed up in these aspects: the bad weather and the avalanche. People were further concerned about whether the porter was saved or not and when the incident really took place.

Hassan was a member of the Lela Peak Expedition, and he had been assigned to assist the rope fixers by Alex Abramov’s Seven Summit Club. Recalling the incident, Abramov said in an interview with Explorer’s Web, “Before the summit push, all companies provide [workers] to join the rope-fixing team. We contributed to three Pakistani HAPs. Hassan was one of them. We don’t know what really happened because he was ahead of our members and sherpa group. Members only saw that something happened at the ropes in the traverse.”

Climbers who witnessed Muhammad Hassan’s corpse

Climbers who witnessed Muhammad Hassan’s corpse

Silvia Azdreeva of Bulgaria summited the same day as Hassan died. Apparently, he died in front of her eyes. She saw him collapse and claimed that he was alive before he finally succumbed to conditions that were unknown to them. Since he collapsed in the traverse, she says she had to get through him by jumping over his corpse. No one is there to save a climber for a day or two; this was the clarification the mountaineer gave as a justification for her and the other climbers not doing anything. Many of them focused on the final push rather than keeping the corpse in a safer space.

American mountaineer Lucy Westlake said in the same interview,

“At around 2:30 am, I was in an avalanche (luckily just thick powder) below the place where the Pakistani climber had fallen. The first avalanche triggered a second avalanche below us, but we were only hit by the first one. ”

How did Muhammad Hassan die?

How did Muhammad Hassan die

The claims that were made by people from the mountaineering community who were there or were not there to witness the incident are all contradictory. According to Lakpa Sherpa, the porter died because his Oxygen mask broke. Likewise, Mingma G says he fell and hit the rock, which led to his death. Lucy Westlake, on the other hand, claims to have seen him fall in a crevasse. Wilhem Steindl of Furtenbach Adventures says that Hassan died from the avalanche. It had been rather skeptical even for the government to believe the claims of all these people.

However, a statement that remained constant throughout the inquiries was that almost everyone who went through the Bottleneck that day claimed that they either had to jump over or step on him to reach their destination. As per the claims, not a single mountaineer confessed to having made an attempt even to save the porter. Instead, everyone discussed how difficult it was for them to save him, and they did not try to do so due to the complications and difficulties that stood in their way in case of them doing so.

But, there was another mystery that opened when drone footage suggested otherwise from what all the climbers had said. The drone footage showed that at the time of Hassan’s death, there was traffic at the exact same spot where he died for around 90 minutes to two hours. The climbers were all curious and now remained at the spot where they were for several minutes. That’s when a man rubbing Hassan’s face into the snow was found. Though there is still no evidence as to what exactly had happened, the drone footage made different suggestions as to what every other mountaineer on the mountain that day had said.

A 2-year ban from the government

Lela Peak Expeditions has been banned from conducting any expeditions on Mount K2 for the next two years by the government. This is for their negligence of the porters and how they did not provide enough expertise and equipment for Hassan to keep himself alive in the mountain. While the founders of the company are several international companies, this incident is a warning to every other company operating with porters and climbers, who are all, to a great extent, their responsibility.

Life left behind

Life left behind

Mountaineer Willi Steindl has raised over $170,000 in GoFundMe, while other climbers like Kristin Harila have shared the links to the funding account. Muhammad Hassan has a family of his own children, brother, wife, and sick mother. His wife shared that he had never gone up so high in his work life as a porter, and that was the very first time. Similarly, the late porter had been raising money from his earnings for his mother’s treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What happened to Muhammad Hassan K2?

According to the reports, which are yet not proven to be true, it is said that “Climbers noticed that late Hassan’s abdomen remained exposed in extremely cold temperature upside down the concentration of his body fluid caused his body faint restricted survivability.”

Is Hassan still on K2?

Hassan’s body remained in K2 while other climbers stepped on him.

Did Muhammad Hassan fall off a ledge?

It is only according to a claim that said Hassan fell off a ledge.

Was the porter named as Muhammad Hassan?

The porter who died and had other climbers step on him was Muhammad Hassan.

Who was the porter who died on K2?

Muhammad Hassan was the porter who died at Bottleneck on K2.

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