.. by Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
This afternoon I was surfing the internet and looked for prominent destinations of Hindu Kush mountain system. When I clicked to check DARBAND glacier –the longest in the high Hindu Kush- I was surprised to see that there is no information about Darband glacier in the hub of the high peaks. The map by J.Wala shows that this glacier is 32 km. long and is one of the trickiest ones, winding many times up to the north BC of Nowshaq massif- 7492m.
In the Terich valley of Chitral there are five sub valleys:
- Longol valley which is comparatively a short valley surrounded by 6000m high peaks and the water from the glaciers drains into the Terich river at Lonkuh. There are also Orpiment mines in this valley.
- The next one is Roshgol valley which is about 45 km long and has 21 peaks above 7000m high. The waters from all these giant glaciers flow through the Roshgol valley and join the Atahk river at Zondrangram. The major peaks of this valley are Saraghrar, Langar Zom, Udren Zom, Shakaur, Languta-e-Barfi, Nobaison Zom, Datti Zom, Mutrichili Zom and some others.
- The third one of these sub valleys is Udren valley which is the longest valley with the longest glacier of Hindu Kush. The peaks around it are Istoro Nal, Shingeik Zom, Darband Zom, Nowshaq and Kuhe Nadir Shah. All of these are above 7000m peaks .
- Andren Atahk valley is located in the Atahk valley which is not very long but like a big pot surrounded by smaller peaks viz. 5500m to 5900m in height. The water from the glaciers of the rounded valley drain into the Atahk river below Terich Mir .
- The main Atahk valley goes up to Concordia- a junction of 6 glaciers coming from 6 gorges. This Concordia is surrounded by Nowshaq south face, IstoroNal west face, Aspe Safid 1 and 2, Gulasht Zom group of peaks, Terich Mer main and Terich Mer west 1-4, Terich Mer North and Dirgol Zom. The total of the above 7000m peaks is 22 but there are also 18 peaks above 6000m and most of these are unclimbed.
The title was Darband glacier which did not appear on Google and NET did not give any info about it whereas this glacier is the longest one of the region but the map issued by Survey of Pakistan has left this part of our frontier BLANK because their surveyors did not dare to go up that glacier and could not decide about the vastness of the glacier and its basin. The Darband glacier emanates from the north face of Nowshaq added by glaciers from all the smaller but > 6000m peaks that make a natural border between Pakistan and the Qazi Deh valley of Zebak-Ishkashim region below Wakhan. .. Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 03 Aug 2021