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K2 and the Invisible Footmen

© Cultures of Resistance Films/Lara Lee

Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. For many climbers, it is an even greater prize than Everest, with limited routes, a steeper ascent, and a harder push to its summit. Nicknamed the 'Savage Mountain,' K2's peak juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers and porters to life-threatening weather conditions. Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters – whether they provide critical supplies to expedition base camps or take on higher-altitude tasks in support of ascending climbers – do some of the most difficult and dangerous work and these efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering.