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.
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.
Trekking to Babu Base Camp
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: www.terichmirtravel.com
Terichmir Travel arranges and organizes Adventure Tours, Trekking and Mountaineering Expedition in the Hindukush and Karakorum Mountains of Pakistan.
Terichmir 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.
Local Information on latest road, porters etc is available on:
Cell: +92 345 8746424
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.
A Greek Scholar, Mountaineer and Explorer
Dr. Nikolas Kroupis
Swiss Istor o Nal Expedition 2000