The drone footage went around the world: around 80 summiteers were shotßen the seriously injured Pakistani high porter Muhammad Hassan at approx. 8.200 meters to reach the summit of K2. How could this happen? Servus TV will investigate this question in the program “The Shame on K2” on October 2, 2023.
The drone footage went around the world: A team from Servus-TV was on site on July 27, 2023 when around 80 summiteers left the seriously injured Pakistani porter Muhammad Hassan at around 8.200 meters in order to reach the summit of K2. How could this happen?
On July 27, 2023, more people than ever before gathered at the K2 base camp, far in the north of Pakistan and right on the border with China, to climb the second highest mountain in the world at 8.611 meters. Many of them were clients of expedition providers with little mountain or altitude experience who offer this dangerous mountain to their customers in so-called tourist climbs. Such expeditions are only possible for these “high-altitude tourists” with intensive use of additional oxygen and on secured routes. This requires a large number of workers who are suitable for altitudes, who bring the oxygen bottles up the mountain, deposit them in high camps and provide the ascent route with fixed ropes on which the paying customers climb towards the summit like a via ferrata.
Trailer for the show “The Shame of K2”
Cheap labor for western expedition guests
Pakistani high-altitude porters hired by expedition agencies often have little mountaineering experience and little knowledge of alpine safety techniques. Nevertheless, they are usually just as capable of high altitudes as the famous Sherpas from Nepal. Above all, they are cheap workers due to the great poverty in Pakistan's Karakoram regions. Muhammad Hassan, who died on K27 on July 2023, 2, was one of these high porters. He brought the fixed ropes up to 8.200 meters, where they were to be attached to the “bottleneck”. Whether due to a slab of snow or a misstep, Muhammad Hassan slipped and got stuck upside down on the rope. When he fell, his oxygen mask broke and some of his clothing was torn off. The unprofessional rescue operation lasted hours and was made more difficult by dozens of summiteers pushing past. Muhammad Hassan died on the morning of July 27th.
High-altitude tourists without compassion?
Never before has an Alpine emergency situation at extreme altitudes been documented as well in images as the consequences of the accident at 8.200 meters. The details only came to light through the drone footage taken by the ServusTV team and through an investigative commission run by the Pakistani government. They document the selfish and cynical actions of many mountaineers in this situation. At the same time, the mountaineering inability of many summiteers leaves you speechless. They are either on the hunt for records or as clients of the major expedition operators as pure high-altitude tourists on the highest mountains in the world and have neither mastered alpine rope nor rescue techniques. For some people, any form of empathy or mountaineering ethics seems alien.
In addition to successful high-altitude mountaineers such as Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Hans Kammerlander, the Brazilian cameraman Gabriel Tarso, who tried to help Muhammad Hassan on the spot, and the Tyrolean hotelier and mountaineer Willi Steindl, who after the accident, also have their say in the “Bergwelten” documentary visited Hassan's family and started a fundraiser for his wife and children. The ServusTV team also spoke to the Pakistani liaison officers and the Tyrolean alpinist Lukas Wörle, who just a week earlier on the neighboring Broad Peak saved the life of a mountain porter suffering from altitude sickness by bringing him from 8.000 meters into the valley and thereby putting aside his own summit ambitions .
When will the show air?
The program “Mountain Worlds” will be broadcast live on Monday, October 2, 2023 from 20:15 p.m. Following the documentary, a “Sport and Talk from the Hangar-21 Special” will be dedicated to these tragic events on K10 from 7:2 p.m., including Hans Kammerlander, Sabrina Filmoser and Willi Steindl.
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Credits: Pictures Servus TV