Istor o Nal

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.23130°N / 71.35210°E
Additional Information County: Pakistan
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 24288 ft / 7403 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Istor O Nal is the 3rd highest mountain in the High Hindu Kush range, in the Chitral District of Pakistan. It is the 68th highest independent peak in the world. It crowns a massif with 11 peaks of elevation more than 7000 m (22986ft). The peak is located a few kilometers north of Tirichmir. Because Istor o Nal is behind the highest peak of Hindukush (Tirichmir 7708m) from many view points, it is not easily visible and therefore not well known.
The word “Istor o Nal” means horse shoe in the khowar language. Istor means “horse” and nal means “shoe” and the massif is look like a giant horse shoe.
Istor o Nal was first climbed on June 8, 1955 by the Americans Major Ken Bankwala, Josef E. Murphy, Jr, and Thomas A. Mutch, on a Princeton Mountaineering Club Expedition. They climbed the west ridge, starting from the south side of the peak through the Terich Glacier. Their small, minimally financed expedition (by the standards of the time for high altitude mountaineering) achieved what was then the second highest summit attained by Americans.

The main summit 7403m was climbed by a Spanish expedition in 1969 headed by Anglada. 2 of the 11 peaks are still unclimbed i.e. North East Peak 7276m and East Peak 7100m.

In the year 2000, a Swiss Expedition led by Simon Perritaz arranged an expedition for the unclimbed North East Peak 7276m with 8 other members; they could not gain the summit due to shortage of rope, time and mostly weather condition. The two peaks are still unclimbed and an obvious challenge for mountaineers.

Getting There

The trekking route starts from Shagrom (the uppermost village of Terich valley) about 135 km from Chitral Town and 60 km from Buni. Buni is the Head Quarter of upper Chitral sub-division. It is approachable from Chitral Town to Shagrom only by Jeep. The jeep road goes as far as Shagrom (2900m) but an alternate route e.g. jeep road goes up to Zani Pass 3840m and then the trek descends down to Shagrom.
Base Camp is set at Babu Camp-Terich Concordia and it is 30 km away from Shargom. The Base Camp route is divided into 4 stages, from Shagrom to BC, and can be completed in 3 days trek.
Shagrom to Sherniak 3540m, 13 km. 5-6 hours trek.
Sherniak to Shughur Baisun 4038m, 12km. 5-6 hours.
Shughur Baisun to BC 4700m, 10 km. 5-6 hours trek.

It is approachable only by jeep from Chitral to Shagrom after 5-6 hours drive.
Jeep rates to Shagrom are as follow in 2012:
* Chitral to Shagrom Rs.11000
* Chitral to Zani Pass Rs.8000
1US$ = Rs 95 in 2012

There is now thrice a week flight from Islamabad to Chitral and one flight from Peshawar to Chitral.

In the Terich valley during 2012 a flat rate of Rs.900 per stage is applied which included all inclusive. Avoid hiring at high prices but you can compensate by tipping well if good service is provided. Get a local Pakistani connection to maintain a steady balance of prices and service for those who guide you into these mountains.
The 19 porters close to Babu Base CampTrekking to Babu Base Camp

Red Tape

Royalty to the peaks in the High Hindukush have now been reduced considerably @ 90%. This is now an excellent opportunity to do mountaineering at lower costs in the Hindukush region. Peak royalty charged by Government of Pakistan is as under:

Full Team of 7 Members Expedition and Each Additional Member:
* Istor o Nal $ 250 for 7 members expedition
* Istor o Nal $ 30 for each additional members

Other summit in Hindukush Range:
* 7501m to 8000m US $ 400- Additional Member US $ 50
* 7001m to 7500m US $ 250- Additional Member US $ 30
* 6501m to 7000m US $ 150- Additional Member US $ 20
* Below 6500m Free

While making your arrangements, it greatly helps to arrange everything through a local Tour Operator both to effectively deal with last minute changes, permit requirements as well as porters, logistic etc. In Chitral the foreigners’ registration is essential but is an easy task with local assistance.

When To Climb

Best season is to climb the peak from June to end of September.
For local Information and Support:
Terichmir Travel arranges and organizes Adventure Tours, Trekking and Mountaineering Expedition in the Hindukush and Karakorum Mountains of Pakistan.


ShagromTerichmir Garden & Camping Site
Camping rates in the Hindukush are reasonable; per tent you are charged Rs 400. You are to pay charges at Shagrom, not on route further. There is specially built Camping Site (Terichmir Guest House & Camping Site) at Shagrom with essential facilities e.g. wash rooms, clean water, hot water, electricity and lawn. On this route this one is the first of its kind to promote tourism.
Chitral now offers a variety of hotels both in the upper bracket and for budget travelers.
The area is relatively clean as compare to Baltoro but with Peak royalties reduced there is going to be an influx of visitors. Please ensure that you leave the camps pristine and insist on your programme operator to carry back garbage to road head.

Mountain Conditions

Local Information on latest road, porters etc is available on:
Cell: +92 345 8746424

Expeditions Permits

It is compulsory to get permit for the peak before climbing. In case expeditions face any delays in getting permits it is advised to contact the local Tour Operators in Chitral to solve these delays. Special permissions are officially given for special areas.

External Links

A Greek Scholar, Mountaineer and Explorer
Dr. Nikolas Kroupis

Swiss Istor o Nal Expedition 2000

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-6 of 6

BigLee - Jan 8, 2009 9:04 am - Voted 9/10

First Ascent

Nice addition although I think some of the info is a little thin in places to warrent a 10/10. One major point... You mention in the first paragraph that the first ascent was in 1955 by an American Expedition. This is wrong. They initially thought they had reached the summit however, due to cloudy weather, the pair had mistakenly climbed the highest summit of the ridge between the Rock Pinnacle and Istor-o-Nal (North). The Americans thought at the time that they had made a first ascent.


Afzal - Jan 8, 2009 10:18 am - Hasn't voted

First Ascent

The creator of the page has clearly mentioned that the main summit was climbed by a Spanish team in 1969 headed by Anglanda.


BigLee - Jan 8, 2009 11:49 am - Voted 9/10

Re: First Ascent

Both are mentioned...


Razaq - Jan 13, 2009 9:37 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: First Ascent

This is clearly mentioned, that the American Expedition did not gain the Main Summit in 1955. The main summit 7403m was first time scaled by Spainish Expedition, led by Anglada.

Damien Gildea

Damien Gildea - May 10, 2012 7:02 am - Hasn't voted

Re: First Ascent

No, it is NOT clear at all. The way it is written is incorrect. It does not say that the Americans did not reach the summit. It says "Istor o Nal was first climbed on June 8, 1955 by the Americans". This implies that they made the first ascent of the mountain - which is not true. The Spanish ascent should be written first in order, as the first ascent of the mountain. After that it would be appropriate to mention that an American expedition ATTEMPTED the mountain but did not reach the summit. As it is written, it is wrong.


Razaq - May 23, 2012 11:33 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: First Ascent

It is no doubt, that the American Expedition first time tried to scale the peak, but could not summitted the main peak 7403m and scaled one of them and later on the Spainish climbed the main peak in 1969.

Viewing: 1-6 of 6



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

The HindukushMountains & Rocks