Tirich Mir like Rakaposhi and Nanga Parbat to the east, is known for being the home of ‘Peris’ called “fairies” in english. The Tirich valley parallels the Turikho Valley and is separated from it by a 15 mile-long flat-topped ridge which averages about 12,500 feet in elevation. The ideal way to reach this ridge, for its unsurpassed views of the high peaks in the Hindu Kush, is to climb Zani An (12,500). Zani An is situated between Shagram and a mile higher than Drasan, thus it is most easily approached from the Tirich valley, because the climb is 2,000 feet less from this side.The ridgetop in both directions from the pass is quite level, inviting you to stroll along it and view the spectacular Hindu Kush peaks from Tirich Mir to Saraghrar and north.
Tirich Mir Route
The traditional route to the peak passes through Chitral – Reshun – Kuragh – Khosht – Drassan – Zani pass – Shagram and Shaikh Naik. After a two-hour jeep drive on Chitral-Mastuj road one has to take a direct route from Perpish to Barum village and then through the glacier of the same name (Barum) to the peak. This route is, however, recommended for those who have already acclimatized themselves with high-altitude-climbing; otherwise there is a great danger of high altitude sickness.
Tirich Main peak (7,708m/25,288ft) was climbed for the first time in 1950 by a Norwegian expedition which was lead by Arne Naess. The other members of the expedition included P. Kvern berg and H. Berg. The expedition was also accompanied by Professor Hameed Beg of the Karakoram Club (Pakistan) who reached an altitude of over 6,096m/20,000ft quite a feat in those times. Captain Tony Streather of Chitral Scouts tagged alongwith the expedition from Drosh and eventually climbed Tirich Mir.
The first major attempt by Pakistanis was the Karakoram Club’s expedition to Tirich Mir in 1951. The expedition was led by Mian Abdul Rauf and consisted of Daud Beg, Arshad Munir and Captain Shaukat Malik. It set up three advance camps and reached 6,553m/21,500ft before abandoning the attempt due to shortage of supplies.
It was in 1982 that a German by the name of Fritz Stammberger tried to climb, all alone, a subsidiary peak of Tirich Mir (7,701 m/25,267ft). He could go up to (6,096/20,000ft) when he was hit by an avalanche and sustained minor head and face injuries. Upon returning to base camp he met an American expedition of Knauth, Peter Newell and Dr. Bill Bartlett from whom he received medical treatment. Tirich Mir (E):- It has a height of 7,692m/25,236ft and was climbed in 1964 by a Norwegian expedition which was again led by Arne Naess, who had headed the successful 1950 Tirich Mir (Main) expedition. Two members, R. Hoibakk and A. Opdal, reached top of Tirich Mir (E). Tirich Mir (West II):- It is about 7,500m/24,607ft high, and was climbed in 1974 by Beppe Re and Guido Machetto of an Italian expedition. After establishing base camp, the party set up two additional camps. In order to acclimatize itself with high altitude climbing, the party also climbed an already-climbed Dirgol Zom peak.
Tirich Mir (West I): Its height is 7,487m/24,563ft. The peak was climbed in 1967 by a Czechoslovak expedition led by Vladimir Sed ivy. It is, however, doubtful whether this was the first ever climb on the peak by this party. The party is stated to have climbed it by the north-west col. J. Cervinka, I. Galfy, V. Smida and I. Urbanovic reached the top. In addition to the above climb, the party made quite a few climbs on other mountains. Some of them were the first-ever climbs.
The fifth highest peak in the Tirich Mir range is Tirich Mir (West Ill) which is 7,400m/24,278ft high. It was climbed in 1974 by Groupe Universitaire de Montagne et de Ski of France and was led by Guy Lucazeau and Bernard Amy. The sixth peak of the Tirich Mir range is Tirich Mir (West IV) – 7,338m/24,075ft. It was climbed in 1967 by Kurt Diemberger and Dietmar Proske through the very difficult north face. Diemberger also made the first circle around the Tirich Mirs. The purpose was to carry-out geological survey of the area. His route passed through Shagram (above Zani pass) Atak Banduk – Shaikh Naik – Tirich glacier – Ano glacier – Lower Gazikistan glacier – Arkari valley – Owir pass – Barum -Lethzom – Atak and back to Shagram.
Another interesting peak in the Tirich Mir range is un-named with a height of 7,100m/23,294ft. This peak is situated to the south of Tirich Mir (Main) peak. It is therefore better to call it Tirich Mir (South). Yet another interesting peak of the range is northern spur of Tirich Mir which is stated to be 7,056m/23,149ft high. It was climbed in 1965 by Kurt Diemberger, Herwig Handler and Fritz Lindner of a German – Austrian expedition.
Tirich Mir (Little) (6,550m/21 ,489ft) can be considered as the last peak in the Tirich Mir range. The peak was attempted by Pak-Karakoram Club expedition in 1951 but was eventually climbed in 1969 by the British-Pak Army Mountaineering expedition which was led by Maj. J. W. Fleming of the British Army. Captain Mumtaz Khan and Lieutenant Azhar Hussain represented the Pakistan Army. The party approached the peak from Chitral via Shogor, Beshgram, Susum, Lasht and Owir pass, Awi and South Barum glacier. Captain M.W.H. Day, Captain R.A. Summerton and Corporal J. Anderson were able to climb the peak. The party indicates its height as 6,361m/20,869ft. Tirich Mir still holds its attraction and lure for enthusiastic climbers….