Chitral,

Owir An

Duration 3 days
Distance 15.7km
Standard moderate
Season mid-June-mid-September
Start Shahguch
Finish Mujhen
Zone and permit Open, no permit
Public Transport Yes
Summary This popular and easily accessible trek crosses a ridge- top pass along the southern flanks of mighty Tirich Mir, visiting friendly villages along the way.

 

Crossing the Owir An (4337m) is a short and popular trek that offers wonderful close- up views of the southern flanks of the Tirich Mir massif. The description that follows is from Ojhor, south- west of Tirich Mir, to Owir, south- east of Tirich Mir, but it can be done in the reverse direction.

Planning

Maps and Books

The topographic US AMS 1: 250, 000 map Mastuj (NJ 43-13) and 1:253, 400 map Zebak (j-42 x) cover the trek. They don’t label Lasht in Ojhor, or Mujhen along the Owir Gol’s true left bank across from Shungush. Riri is labeled as Reri.

Tirich Mir: The Norwegian Himalaya expedition by Aarne Naess et a1 is the story of the first ascent of Tirich Mir (hardcover).

Guides and porters

The trail over the pass isn’t hard to find, so a guide is optional. Ojhor porters, who work between Kiyar or Lasht and the first village in Owir, ask for a flat rate per day, including payment for food rations. When going up the north Barum Glacier to Tirich Mir Base Camp, hire Owir porters from Shahbronz.

Getting TO/From THE TREK

To the Start    

Jeeps depart from Chitral’s Ojhor sarai (stopping place) behind hotel Dreamland to Sussoom and Kiyar (two hours, 30km). Special hires. The first 20km (45 minutes) is along the sealed road to Garam Chashma and the bridge at Shoghor. The last 10km (1¼ hours) is a steep ride up a narrow jeep road.

From the Finish    

Mujhen- Chitral or Shahbronz- Chitral jeeps or Special hires. If no jeeps are in Mujhen, walk 4.8km on a trail across barren land to Riri and look for one there. Riri- Chitral jeeps. You can also keep walking on the road 3.2km beyond Riri to Parpish and the bridge over the Mastuj River to the Chitral- Gilgit road. Parpish-Chitral jeeps. A seat in a Buni- Chitral van. When doing this trek in the reverse direction, jeeps to Riri, Mujhen and Shahbronz depart from Chitral’s Owir sarai next to the Allied Bank, across the street from the Al- Farooq Hotel, in Naya Bazaar. The proprietor of a teashop in the corner of the sarai can help you get on a jeep. Jeeps to Mujhen and Shahbronz use a newer bridge 3km north of the Parpish Bridge.

The Trek

Day 1 : Shahguch to kiyar High camp

2- 2½ hours, 4km, 330m ascent

Ojhor Gol separates Sussoom (2896m) and kiyar villages. Along its true right bank is Lasht. Shahguch, a large well- watered grassy area, lies between the two villages just upstream from the bridge. Camp in Shahguch (3000m) before ascending farther. From Shahguch, follow the road 15 minutes to kiyar. From kiyar’s polo field, head left and follow a trail up through fields. keep the obvious dry rocky spur with a small cairn on it to your left and head for the highest trees and fields. On your right, but farther away, are three vertical rock outcrops, and a waterfall upvalley from them. Reach the highest fields and houses and continue on a trail to the saddle crossing the dry rocky spur on your left, one hour from Kiyar.

This vantage point has a superb view of Tirich Mir and upper Ojhor Gol. From the saddle, contour gently up the Ojhor Gol’s east side 45 minutes to one hour, crossing several small clear streams, to Kiyar High camp (3500m), a sheltered level grassy area with room for many tents.

Day 2 : Kiyar High Camp to Owir High Camp

4- 4½ hours, 4.7km, 837m ascent, 150m descent

The trail reaches a ridge in 15 minutes and turns east to head up the south side of the valley leading towards the pass. Contour around 30 minutes to the snow pack at the confluence of two small streams. The ascent to the Owir An is up the north (left) side of the rocky bluffs above. From the snowfield, ascend to the gully with a small stream, left of the rocky outcrop, in 30 minutes. From here, it’s a steep one- to 1½ hour climb to the pass itself. A small black outcrop lies just left of Owir An (4337m). In heavy snow years, or early in the season, a snowfield lies on both sides of the pass. From the pass, the Buni Zom massif dominates the view with Shandur range stretching to the distant horizon. The fields of Shungush are visible below.

Descend along the small stream, crossing another small side stream from the left. The trail descends a ridge, well above the main stream’s true left side. One hour from the pass, reach a level area with some grass and a few tent sites where two streams meet. This is where the alternative trail to the Barum Glacier starts (see the alternative Finish).

Alternative Finish : Kiyar High Camp to Shahbronz  

This route takes as you to Shukushal, and gives you the option to continue to Tirich Mir Base Camp.

If trekking in the reserve direction, ascending to the pass from Owir High Camp, follow the ridge trail up steeply. The pass isn’t visible until you reach the ridge top, above the true left bank of the stream below. As the trail and the stream near each other, a small hill is visible ahead with a prominent squared- off rock outcrop to its south (left). The Owir An lies just to the north of this hill.

To continue towards Mujhen, follow the Trail that crosses to the main stream’s true right bank, and continues across rolling hills and grassland 45 minutes to another stream and a large grassy area. Large Owir High Camp (4178m) is near a small pool at the base of a rock outcrop.

Day 3 : Owir high Camp to Mujhen

2-2 ½ hours, 7km, 1260m descent

Cross to the stream’s east side and follow an abandoned canal. The trail contours around several ridges and as you leave camp you can see the square- topped outcrop and small hill that mark Owir An. The view up to Tirich Mir is impressive. Contour to a ridge overlooking fields and houses, then descend to the upper settlement, one hour from the High camp. Follow the large trail through the village one hour to Mujhen (2927m).

Alternative Finish : Kiyar High Camp to Shahbronz  

This route takes as you to Shukushal, and gives you the option to continue to Tirich Mir Base Camp.

Alternative day 2 : Kiyar to High Camp to Gologari 

4 hours, 4.7km, 837m ascent, 137m descent

From the level grassy area with a few tent sites one hour below (east of) the pass, follow a trail along the main stream’s true left bank 30 minutes ahead to the grassy area called Gologari (4200m).

Alternative day 3 : Gologari to Shahbronz

4 hours, 9km, 1200m descent

Continue to Shahbronz (3000m), where you change porters.

Alternative day 4 : Shahbronz to Shukushal

6 hours, 10km, 800m ascent

Shukushal (3800m), the local name for Tirich Mir Base Camp, is six hours up the Barum Gol, near the North Barum Glacier’s terminus.

Side Trip : Tirich Mir Base Camp

4 days, 30km, 900m ascent, 900m descent

Two Days beyond Shukushal, up the Barum Glacier, is another base camp (4700m), which was used by the 1950 Norwegian expedition, the first to summit Tirich Mir.

Alternative Day 5 : Shukushal to Shahbronz

4- 5 hours, 10km, 800m descent

Return downvalley to the roadhead at Shahbronz.

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