Whether going to Chitral Valley for summer vacation or the Chilam Joshi festival, you’ll undoubtedly witness the magnificence of Tirich Mir, The Queen of Mountains. An elevation of 7708 meters makes it one of the tallest mountains in the Hindukush range.
Please read the following guide to learn more about Tirich Mir Chitral, its history, its importance, and how to visit its base camp.
Whether you want to trek to the base camp or stay nearby Chitral city, you’ll find all the relevant information below.
The Tirich Mir mountain is located in the Chitral district, KPK Pakistan, at 7708 meters above sea level. Also, Tirich Mir lies north of Peshawar at a distance of 249 km.
If you are visiting Chitral, you can witness the magnificent peak of Tirich Mir from the main bazaar. If you are in Mastuj, you can use a telescopic lens to view the snow-capped peak of Tirich Mir.
Chitral city is near the Chitral or Kunar river in KPK, Pakistan. It’s a small town with a total population of 20,000 people and lies at the foot of the Tirich Mir mountain range. Chitral has a total area of 57 square km and was first settled in 325 BC.
A population race known as Khows lived in this mountainous region, initially known as the Kohsitan (land of mountains). That’s why the native language is Khowar, while the locals speak Urdu, English, and Potohari.
The Tirich or Terich valley hosts several small villages with apple and apricot trees serving as the fence. It’s one of the most fertile valleys located at such an elevation. Tourists take the apricots and apples with them while visiting the Terich valley.
Besides Tirich Mir Chitral, you can visit other attractions, such as:
- Governor Cottage
- Koghazi and Goleen
- Chitral Museum
- Shahi Qila
- Shandur Pass
How Much is the Height of Tirich Mir?
Tirich Mir isn’t just the highest mountain in the Hindu Kush range; but also the highest mountain outside the Himalayas-Karakoram range. The Tirich Mir mountain range comprises different peaks. The upper glacier basin consists of the main Tirich Mir summit, west and north peaks, and Tirich Mir east. All these peaks form a semi-circle around Chitral valley. Conversely, the lower Tirich glaciers are dangerous and challenging to climb.
Tirich Mir is located at 7708 meters and is visible from Chitral. While trekking to the peak, you can also visit different summits on your way, including:
- Noshaq summit at 7492 meters
- Istor o Nal at 7402 meters
What to Pack for Tirich Mir?
If you are planning to trek to the base camp or the peak, it’s essential to make the desired preparation carefully, including:
- Camping gears
- Trekking pants
- Down jacket
- Tinned food
- Water bottles
- Survival kit
- Oxygen mask and flask
- Sun protection equipment, such as sunscreen, sunglass, hat, and long socks
- First-aid kit
- Personal hygiene kit
- Camping stove
- Sleeping bag
While ascending the Tirich Mir mountain ranges, the temperature decreases as you go higher. Therefore, you should wear different layers to protect against cold and harsh winds and frost. Also, you should place additional items in the backpack, such as energy bars, water bottles, and packed food.
Mountaineering equipment is also necessary, especially for the frozen section. You can use the Mastuj and 440 topographic maps Zebak for trek navigation. Also, it would help if you acquired all the trekking permits to ascend in the restricted zone.
When to Visit Tirich Mir?
It’s best to visit Terich valley from mid-June to mid-September when the weather is enjoyable. Since the valley is at an elevation and surrounded by mountains, the temperature isn’t too high during summer, while nights can be relatively colder. However, sunlight can be an issue, so you must apply sunscreen during the day.
Terich valley leads the mountaineers to the foot of the Hindukush peaks, including Tirich Mir, Noshq, and Istor o Nal.
Why is it Called “Queen of Mountains”?
Some call Tirich Mir Chitral the queen of the mountains, while others call it the jewel of Hindukush. Also, it’s known as the pride of Chitral, a fair of Hindukush, or the gem of Chitral. It’s because of the magnificent scale and majestic views.
The road between Gilgit and Chitral is treacherous, with dangerous turns. Nearly half of the route is the track you should cover by a jeep; however, many minibusses and trucks use the same route. However, large trucks and buses can’t go beyond Mastuj towards Chitral since the track is extremely steep. Also, there is a suspension bridge that can support only jeeps.
However, the panoramic mountain and lush green views are a treat for the eyes and soul. You’ll see the rice irrigation around 75 km before Chitral, which is surprising at such a height. It’s because most of Pakistan’s rice grows in the Southern area.
To trek the Tirich Mir glacier, you must first climb to the Babu camp. There are two possible routes to get to the base camp. For instance, you can either trek via the Zani pass or the Torkhow valley.
The mountaineers usually prefer the Zani pass to adjust to the climate before the final trek to the peak. Also, you can combine treks to other region mountains while ascending to the Tirich Mir peak.
First, you can drive to Uthul and trek across Zani pass at 3886 meters elevation. You can enjoy spectacular views of the Hindu Raj and Hindukush ranges.
The average temperature in the Terich valley is -5.25C degrees. January is the coldest month during winter, when the temperature can go as low as -17.5C degrees. However, the average temperature is around 6.5C degrees during July and August.
Chitral has a freezing winter and warm summer. That’s why it’s best to visit the city during the summer to visit the nearby attractions. But unfortunately, due to intense snowfall, the valley remained disconnected from the rest of Pakistan for almost half a year.
You can visit Chitral from Islamabad or Peshawar. Many tourists first visit Citral before going to Gilgit via the Shandur pass.
Tirich Mir Basecamp
Named after the veteran guide Babu Mohammad, Babu camp is the Tirich Mir basecamp located at a height of 4724 meters.
You can stay in Swat for a night to rest and relax before heading on a long journey to Chitral. From Swat, it will take around seven to eight hours to cover the distance of 254 km since the route is steep with sharp turns.
You can stay for a day or two in Chitral to visit the nearby attractions, including:
- Kalash Valley
You can drive to the Zani pass, at an elevation of 3840 meters, to enjoy the panoramic views of the Hindukush and Hindu Raj mountain ranges. Also, you should hire a local guide to accompany you to the base camp and the Tirich Mir peak. It will take roughly five to six hours to reach the Zani pass; however, the breathtaking mountain views make the route worthwhile. Once you get the pass, you can set up a camp and bonfire to enjoy a hearty meal amidst the mountains.
The next trek will be rough as you need to walk through the rocky terrain to Sheiniak for four to five hours to reach the altitude of 3540 meters. The trekking track is incredible, with pasture and willow trees along the Terich river.
Here, stay for a night in your camp and then get ready to trek to the Shugurbaisum for another five to six hours. Here, you’ll camp at an elevation of 4038 meters to enjoy the 360-degrees mountain views. Finally, you are set to trek to the Tirich Mir base camp, known as Babu camp, for six to seven hours.
While trekking for six to seven hours to the upper Tirich glacier, you can visit Istor o Nal base camp, Noshaq, and Tirich Mir.
Terich valley is renowned among mountaineers, trekkers, and tourists. It offers the desired camping facilities and local guides to help the tourists.
It’s best to spare some time for photography to capture the snow-capped mountains, lush green landscape, and flowing rivers.
The jeep rates vary for different routes from Chitral to other villages, such as:
- Zani pass
- Sarkari Ovirk
You can negotiate with the local guides or ask the Tirich Mir hotel to arrange for the jeep as the rates range from 9000 Pakistan rupees to 11000 depending upon the distance and track condition.
Also, the porter charges are fixed for different stages, including all the services. Therefore, it’s best not to hire at a higher price; you can later compensate by giving them a gracious tip. You can also ask the locals for guidance about porter charges and services offered. This way, you can have a rough idea before negotiating the price directly with the guide and porter.
The expedition to the Tirich Mir mountain range remained closed for some time; however, they are open now. Also, the provincial government is making policies to promote tourism within the area and make the entire expedition safe and secure. The Chitral scouts assist the travelers regarding the procedure and formalities before starting the ascend. There were two successful small expeditions to Tirich Mir in 2016.
Also, the royalty to the Hindukush peaks has significantly reduced, allowing the mountaineers to ascend the cliffs at a considerably lower cost. The royalty charges usually go to the government.
For instance, in summer, the royalty charges increase as the elevation increases. In addition, the costs are set for an expedition comprising seven people.
However, the additional members usually charge extra. However, these royalty charges are relatively lower during the winter. Usually, the expeditions can trek for free below 6500 meters.
While making the ascend preparation and arrangements, you can also take the help of the local guides regarding the permits and other logistics. The KPP provincial government now offers permits to ascend the Hindu Raj and Hindukush mountain ranges.
Chiral is home to fresh apricots and apples. Also, you’ll find several restaurants and eateries in the main bazaar selling local specialties.
If you plan to go to the summit, it’s best not to purchase tinned food from the main bazaar. It’s because most tins are outdated or expired and can lead to health issues during the expedition.
The best approach will be to stock the food from Islamabad or Peshawar if you want to ascend the peak. Alternatively, you must try the local cuisine if you are only visiting and staying in Chitral.
For instance, you can eat at the Golani restaurant in Dainin. Moreover, Afghani restaurants located on Krubisht and Goldoor roads offer delicious food. Finally, the chappal kebabs available near the polo ground are a must-try.
If you are staying in the Shogor village, the Terichmir guest house is a perfect and affordable option. Alternatively, there are local camping sites for the night stay if you have all the camping equipment.
Another great news for solo travelers or adventurers on low budgets is that Chitral offers clean and affordable hotels. For instance, mountain inn hotel Chitral provides exceptional services with free Wifi, parking, and 24/7 front desk service. Alternatively, you can stay at Legend hotel, a three-star Tirich Mir hotel in Jang Bazar, Chitral.
Finally, Chiral View Heights offers easy access to the Chitral Gol National Park for a morning or evening walk.
On the other hand, if you are on a budget, you can carry your camping kit and set it up in one of the camping areas in Chitral.
Since mountains surround Chitral valley, the pollution is minimal. Hence, you can breathe clean air, unlike busy and crowded urban areas.
The influx of tourists has increased for the past couple of years as the royalty charges have been reduced. Also, bikers and mountaineers look for convenient and affordable stay options such as camping sites. That’s why it’s the responsibility of travelers to keep the area and camping sites clean and don’t litter around.
Almost all the mountainous areas are associated with folklore and mystical stories. For example, locals will tell stories about witches, wizards, fairies, or Djinns that don’t allow human beings to settle in the area. Also, many legends say that Tirich Mir is the kingdom of wizards and witches.
The Chitirali people think that the fairies who live in the mountains don’t allow the people to trespass and kill those who do. Also, these fairies are commonly known as the stone throwers.
The Polytheist Kalash population considers the Tirich Mir mountain under the domain of the goddess Krumai. According to them, goodness appears in the form of a wild goat. Once, Imra chased Krumai as she disturbed the other gods, so Imra threw her into the river. However, she jumped out of the river and ran into the cliff. Finally, she prepared a feast for the other gods and revealed its proper form; hence, the other gods accepted her.
Some familiar stories locals tell are the trekkers and mountaineers falling prey to cold and death while ascending Tirich Mir Chitral. These unfortunate incidents can happen to anyone due to extreme Tirich Mir weather conditions and treacherous tracks. However, the adventurers understand the risk and make all the necessary preparations to avoid danger. Also, they practice crossing the glaciers to climb the Tirich Mir peak.
Tirich Mir Summit
If you want to climb the mighty Tirich Mir, you can travel by car, bus, or air to reach Chitral. However, there are limited flights between Islamabad and Chitral, so you must plan the trip accordingly. Similarly, there are flights scheduled from Peshawar as well.
It’s best to travel by car since it’s comfortable and flexible. You can make small stops and enjoy the lush green landscapes while traveling to Swat. It takes around four to five hours to cover 230 km. Also, you can visit Takht-e-Bai, a well-maintained monastery.
You can make small stops at the villages of Shogor, Bandak, and Atak to meet locals and enjoy snacks. Shogor is the last village serving as a gateway to the Tirich glacier. Therefore, we recommend you stay for a day to enjoy the mountain views before ascending the peak.
Also, you should dedicate a day to visiting the renowned Kalash, Alexander’s lost tribe, and learn about its culture, food, and locals. The good news is that it takes only two hours to drive to Kalash from Chiral so you can cover the city within a day.
While staying in Chitral, you can visit the Chitral mosque, initially built in the 1920s by the local Mir. You can also explore the Chitral Fort overlooking the river. Sadly, half of the fort is ruined and not maintained properly. The fort was initially the British garrison in the town with the remaining battery of guns.
Tirich Mir Facts
On 21st July 1950, a Norwegian expedition comprising Tony Streather, H. Berg, Arnes Naess, and P. Kvernberg successfully climbed Tirich Mir. Arness Naess, a renowned Norwegian philosopher, successfully led the entire expedition.
Later, another Norwegian group ascended Tirich Mir East in 1964. Also, the two members, A. Opdal and R. Hoibakk, successfully climbed to the peak of Tirich Mir East.
On 20th July 1967, a Czechoslovak expedition climbed Tirich Mir West through the northwest. Vladimir Sedivy. J. Cervinka, I. Galfy, V. Smida, and I. Urbanovic successfully rose to the peak. One of the most interesting facts about this expedition was that they didn’t have any oxygen flasks and didn’t fix ropes while climbing.
In 1967, Kurt Diemberger and Dietmar Proske climbed Tirich Mir West IV, the sixth peak of the Tirich Mir range, 7338 meters high. Not only that, but Dimeberger also circled the Tirich Mir range to conduct a geographical survey of the region.
Later in 1969, a British-Pak army mountaineer climbed the Tirich Mir little, which is 6550 meters high. Major J.W. Fleming of the British army led the entire expedition.
Next, in 1974, an Italian expedition with members named Beppe Re and Guido Machetto climbed Tirich Mir West II. They established the base camp and later set up two more camps to adjust to the climate and altitude. Interestingly, they ascended Tirich Mir and partly climbed Dir Gol Zom peak.
In 1974, Groupe Universitaire de Montagne et de Ski of France claimed Tirich Mir West under Bernard Amy and Guy Lucazeau.
One of the most exciting facts about the Tirich Mir range is that it has an unnamed peak at an elevation of 7100 meters. It’s located south of the primary Tirich Mir peak.
Can you climb Tirich Mir?
If you are a mountaineer, you can climb Tirich Mir, given the weather conditions. The trek route is quite risky and requires a local guide’s support. However, if you are an adventurer and a nature lover, you should trek to the base camp to enjoy uninterrupted mountain views. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to spend a night among the snow-capped mountains.
What is the highest peak of Hindukush?
Tirich Mir, with an elevation of 7708 meters above sea level, is the highest peak of the Hindukush range. Also, it’s the world’s highest mountain, excluding the Karakoram mountain range.
Who climbed Tirich Mir?
A Norwegian expedition consisting of four mountaineers submitted Tirich Mir in July 1950 for the first time. Later different trips climbed other mountain peaks of the Tirich Mir mountain range.
Visiting Chitral is a much-needed gateway you deserve from the hectic routine. Here, you can enjoy the pleasant sunshine and the sound of the water flowing in the river, complemented by the views of the snow-capped queen of mountains, Tirich Mir.
The key takeaway of the above guide is to highlight the history and importance of Tirich Mir and how to plan your visit to Chitral. After reading the above article, you must pack your bags to visit this natural wonder.