Ghizar,

Naz Bar An

Naz Bar An Yasin Valley
Duration 4 days
Distance 53.6km
Standard very demanding
Season July-mid-September
Start Batakushi
Finish Chashi
Zone and Permit open, no permit
Public Transport finish only
Summary This challenging route takes adventurous trekkers through wild and rugged scenic alpine country via a high pass with plenty of opportunity for exploration and peak bagging.

Naz bar An (4980m) links Naz Bar, a south- west tributary of the Yasin Valley, to the Bahushtaro Gol, a northern tributary of the Ghizar River. This steep route is infrequently trekked and is not used by local people. The pass isn’t glaciated, but has a brief Class 2 section at its top and a permanent cornice on its east side. It also receives strong winds. This trek is not for novice trekkers, nor for organized trekking parties. Rather, it’s a challenging alternative route west from the Yasin Valley through rarely visited country.

Mountaineers heading for the 5000m peaks around Mashpar Gol and Kano Gol in upper Bahushtaro Gol may choose the Naz Bar An approach for acclimatization. Naz Bar An is often crossed in conjunction with Zagaro An (P), northern Pakistan’s two most difficult non-glaciated passes.

Planning

Maps

The US AMS 1:250,000 topographic maps Mastuj (NJ 43-13) covers the trek. It indicates the general route, but without sufficient detail to help with route- finding. The pass appears fairly level, but the map’s scale causes this deceptive aberration.

Guides and Porters

Guidance from Batakushi herders, who know the not- straightforward route over the Naz Bar An, is essential. Yasin porters seem happy to work for a flat rate Rs 200 per stage, including payment for food rations.

Stages

It’s four stages total from Batakushi (1) Naz Bar High Camp; (2) Ano Gol Huts; (3) Dedero Shal; and (4) Chashi.

GETTING TO/FROM THE TREK

To the Start

A daily NATCO Gilgit- Taus bus (eight hours) departs from Gilgit’s Punial Rd at 8am. Get off the bus at Yasin village, from where most jeeps to Naz Bar depart. Jeeps only go up Naz Bar as far as Baltaring (2682m), where the last stores are and the electrical line ends, although the jeep road goes as far as Batakushi. It takes 2½ to three hours to walk 8.5km from Baltaring to Batakushi. (If you walk from Yasin village, it takes a full day to reach Batakushi). If you aren’t previously acclimatized, avoid driving directly to Batakushi, but start walking from a lower elevation. When combing this trek with the Thui An trek, Nialthi Baltaring special hires.

From the Finish

Jeeps sporadically pass through Chashi, on the Gilgit- Chitral road east of Phundar, en route to Gupis and very occasionally to Gilgit.

The TREK

Day 1 : Batakushi to Naz Bar High Camp

5- 6 hours, 12.7km, 1050m ascent

Naz Bar An is visible from Batakushi. It’s the lowest snowy saddle between the peaks to the west. From Batakushi (3400m), follow a trail up the Naz Bar’s true left (north) bank. Many sheep and goats graze the grassy slopes above the wide valley. One hour beyond Batakushi, the Kha Bar enters from the south. Shuqan (3505m), the highest Burushaski- speaking summer settlement, is 45 minutes farther. This level grassy area with springs and willows makes a good camp site, from where the huts in upper Ano Gol could be reached in one long day.

Continue for 30 minutes to the alluvial plain (3690m) where the Yaltar Bar and Naz Bar meet. Cross the Yaltar Bar and head west. Across the alluvial plain is a small grassy area where the valley and trail turn south. The trail ascends a talus slope, climbing above the Khamit Bar’s true left (west) bank, as the stream is now called. Forty- five minutes from the Yaltar Bar crossing, reach the confluence of the Khamit Bar (3810m) with a stream coming from the west. Turn west and head up the stream’s true left (north) bank. Ahead is a rocky bluff. Two streams descend either side of this bluff and join to form this western tributary of Khamit Bar. Take the north (right) fork past the rocky bluff. As the stream rises to the level of the top of the rocky bluff, cross it and climb the grassy slope to the bluff’s top. Continue angling south- west up a trial along the red streak that leads to the top of a grassy north- south ridge well above the small rocky bluff. It takes one hour to make this climb, or 1½ hours form the confluence with the Khamit Bar. From the top of this alpine ridge, the mountains above the pass are visible, but the pass itself is not.

Head west, contouring down to meet the stream below. Herders use these extensive alpine grasslands where you can camp along the stream. Forty- five minutes from the ridge top is a large boulder with a cairn on top and a stone shelter next to it, which is the Naz Bar High Camp (4450m), the highest possible camp site.

Day 2 : Naz Bar High Camp to Ano Gol Huts

5- 6 hours, 6.5km, 530m ascent, 1250m descent

Head along the stream’s true left (east) bank. Where two streams join to form this stream, take the right fork, heading around the base of and behind the last grassy hill, where horses and cows graze in summer. This hill rises into a ridge. Curve around and behind (west of) this ridge, entering a valley with a black moraine in its centre. To the south and west is a small glacier and snowfield. Ahead is the steep scree ascent topped by a snowy cornice that is the Naz Bar An. It’s the southernmost scree chute, reddish in colour, on the pass ridge. Continue along the black moraine towards the pass. From the high camp, it takes 1½ to two hours to reach the end of this moraine and the bass of the pass.

Cross the top of the snowfield, working as high up the snow as possible. Then ascend the 45-to- 50 degree scree slope to the pass in 45 minutes to one hour. At the top, scramble over a Class 2 rock outcrop on the north edge of the pass to get around the Cornice lying on the pass itself. On top of Naz Bar An (4980m) is a small cairn, not visible from below. Late in the season, when more snow has melted, rock- fall danger is lower. The views all around are stunning.

Descend straight down reddish scree on the west side, moving onto the easier snow-field to the left as the angle eases. Reach the level area at the base of the pass in 20 minutes, and follow a faint trail. After 10 minutes, descend to white granite talus amid sparse grass and flowers. As the valley turns south- south- west, follow a trail, with occasional cairns, 30 minutes to the junction with a black moraine- filled valley coming from the east.

Turn east (right) and continue along a rocky moraine downvalley another hour. Keep to the grassier south- east side to avoid a steep descent over scree. At the base of this grassy hill, amid scrub willow by a stream side, is a cairn- topped boulder with an adjacent small rock shelter. This is the first possible camp site, two 2½ to hours below the pass. Ten minutes farther downstream is another more open area. Another 30 minutes down a grassy hillside, the stream called Naz Bar by herders opens into a large alluvial river bed and joins the larger stream coming from Kano Gol. The confluence of these two streams marks the start of the Ano Gol. In Khowar, Ano Gol simply means the valley (gol) coming from a pass (an). Herders say it’s possible to reach Pingal village over a high pass at the Kano Gol’s head, where several 5000m peaks have attracted mountaineers in recent years. Cross the Naz Bar and follow a now- clear trail along the Ano Gol’s true right (north) bank. Ten minutes beyond this crossing is a good level camp site near the Ano Gol Huts (3730m), the first herders’ settlement.

Day 3 : Ano Gol Huts to Dedero Shal

3½- 4 hours, 12.4Km, 430m descent

It’s one hour down the Ano Gol to the confluence with the War Bar, which enters from the south. Cross the Ano Gol over a footbridge to the thriving summer huts on the true left bank of both the War Bar and Ano Gol. The trail downvalley stays high above Ano Gol. A Trail on the true right (north) bank is a longer way down, but it’s the trail to take when heading up the Mashpar Gol for climbing. Thirty minutes down the true left bank you’re high above the confluence of the Ano Gol and Mashpar Gol (3566m). Turn left and continue high above the true left bank of the Bahushtaro Gol (formed at the confluence of the above two). In 30 minutes, you’re opposite Haringol Shal settlement (3420m) and the grassy plain called Rushkot. Parties going up the Bahushtaro Gol’s true right (west) side camp in Rushkot.

Another hour down the trail, cross a footbridge over the Bahushtaro Gol and continue down the level alluvial river bed. In 30 minutes reach the huts of Deder, also called Dedero Shal (3300m), at the clear Zagaro Gol’s mouth.

Day 4 : Dedero Shal to Chashi

6- 8 hours, 22km, 679m descent

Descend the largely uninhabited Bahushtaro Gol to Chashi. The herders in the Bahushtaro Gol are friendly and hospitable Khowar- speaking Isma’ ili Muslims from Chashi.

 

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