Mitre Peak is a majestetic peak, but it's dwarfed by the neighbors when it comes to elevation. 6010 m doesn't go far in the area and there are over 60 peaks close by which are higher. Some of the more famous are: K2 (8611m), Gasherbrum I (8068m), Broad Peak (8047m), Gasherbrum II (8035m) and the little lower, very impressive Gasherbrum IV (7925m).
Mitre is named in the book "the world's greatest peaks" by R. Messner (Sigloch edition, 1989). There he writes about it:
"This mountain is famous only for its shape - which, from two points of view, really does resemble that of a bishop's headdress - because, as it is surrounded by much higher peaks, it does not appear to be very high, and cannot be seen from a distance. Viewed from the Concordia Glacier, it makes an unapproachable impression, and its friable rock and snow gullies look uninviting. But it is nevertheless beautiful. The question of who brought off the first ascent is controversial, as there have been repeated attempts on the summits without permission, and so the records are unreliable."
In the table at the end of the book Ivano Ghirardini is named as the first summiter, but with a questionmark. Added by Mathias Zehring
First ascent of Mitre Peak and soloing by Ivano Ghirardini in 1980. No doubt on this.
Mitre is a long way from any arrival point in Pakistan. Sooner or later you have to pass Islamabad as this is the town where you get the permits for the peak. If an organizer have taken care of the arrangements for you, you can just relax and follow your guide through the country. If you want to arrange everything yourself, the following may be of help.
From Islamabad to The Northern Areas.
Local buses serve Islamabad with Skardu (the normal starting point for the trekking) well. Catch a bus from NATCO or Masherbrum Tours from Pirwadai i Rawalpindi (twin city of Islamabad, 15 km away). The cost for the 22-30h journey is about 12 US$.
Some buses stop overnight in Besham, some go straight through to Skardu.
From Skardu to Mitre.
There are two routes to the peak from Skardu - via Askole or via Gondogoro Pass. The former is to recommend if you're not acclimatized. Gondogoro Pass is a mighty 5600m, so most trekkers use this route for the way back.
A jeep ride takes 6-8h on partly miserable roads and the going price in the summer of -05 is 3500-4000 Rps.
In Askole you can either camp out in the wild or use the one of the camping places of 100 Rps. Facilities includes toilets, running water and a grassy, walled camping area.
The first camp site along the route is Jhula
. It takes anywhere between 4 and 8 hours to reach Jhula from Askole and the trek is very straight forward. Most of the time you walk on good paths along a river. An early start is recommended as it gets very hot in this area. Two bridges where you have to pay a small fee have to be crossed. Jhula has shower cabins, running water, toilets and camp platforms. 100 Rps./night.
Normally, there is not a problem to reach Paiju
the second day. The trek is harder as you sometimes walk in sand along the rivers and there are some ups and downs en route. Paiju has the same facilities as Jhula and the cost to camp there is also 100 Rps./night. The place can be very crowded in the high season and if you don't like that, just continue for another 20 minutes to the first stream or to where the glacier start, where a very good place to camp is situated. Fresh water available here.
The next camping place is Urdukas
, which has very good views of the Trango group. The camp site is situated on a hillside with good camp spots. Facilities and price is the same as Jhula and Paiju. If you want to go further or a part of the way to Urdukas, remember you'll be camping on the actual glacier. Campspots can easily be found there as well, but in some parts there are half an hour in between good or/and safe ones.
From here on the lenght of a normal day trip varies a lot depending on how the persons in the group feel. There are some camps along the way, but they are all very basic, consisting of shelters built of rocks. Most groups stop at Goro II
, some stop an hour before this camp, Goro I and some go all the way to Concordia.
, which could be one of the most beautiful places on earth is sadly full of garbage and human waste. To the left you can see Broad Peak and K2. Ahead Gasherbrum IV is looming and to your right is the goal - Mitre. No fees and no facilities in Concordia.
Walking out via Gondogoro Pass
(or La as it is in the local language) is sometimes stated to be the highest pass in the world and the altitude given on many maps are over 5900m. It's not that high, but at 5600m it's still a very impressive pass. Many teams choose to walk out this way because of the outstanding views from the pass summit. Masherbrum (7821m) is very close and to your NW you see the whole Gasherbrum group, Chogolisa (7665m), Baltoro Kangri (7800m) and a lot of other high beautiful peaks. To the north K2 and Broad Peak are visible. In the south the extraordinary Laila Peak can be seen.
From Concordia it's a long day's walk to Ali Camp
. First you walk past Mitre Peak and head up the next valley/glacier on your right hand side. Watch out for rock falls when entering the valley and try to gain access to the icy part of the glacier as soon as possible. Better to walk up there then down in the scree. When approaching Ali Camp, watch out for crevasses. The "security team" of Ali Camp will scream at you, where and where not to walk.
Ali Camp has a 100 Rps./night fee. Ridiculous prices for "nature preservation" (there's loads of garbage all oer the place), "guiding services" (I never saw any guides when I walked over the pass) and "security" (some bad plastic ropes, attached in extremely bad way is to be seen close to the summit of Gondogoroa Pass) has to be paid. For 1-3 persons it's 2500 Rps. For 4-8 persons it's 4500 Rps. The pass is privately owned. That is probably why this scam can go on as it does. My advice is to bugger the "guides" staying in Ali Camp about the garbage and not trusting the ropes at all.
I was told the it would take 5-7 hours to reach the pass from Ali Camp. It took me 2.45. For an acclimatized mountaineer, this is probably normal. It can be very windy on top of the pass, as it is a lot of elevation drop on the SW side. Don't trust the ropes on this side either. It's quite steep on this side (40-45 degrees). Stay up high on the right hand side if no tracks. There are glaciers in the middle of the glacier further down. The path gets really good before the little camp site of Xhuspang/Shispang
, where you also can get very basic meals.
The glacier gets more difficult to travel after the camp and when you have passed the first rocky part and entered the main valley, stay to the left all the time. Doing so makes you avoid all the large crevasses and the left hand side is also the side you leave the valley on. When at the bottom of the first valley, take a left and enter some very nice meadows with yaks. Excellent views of sharp peaks. Some tricky, slide sections have to be passed. The walk gets easier again when heading down the lower part of the Gondogoro glacier towards Shaishcho
. In this little settlement you can eat and pitch your tent under nice-smelling wild roses. 100 Rps./night per tent.
From here it's a very easy 3 hour walk to Hushe
The Hushe - Skardu road is of awful condition for the first couple of hours. In the summer of 2005 the road had been badly cut away by a big river and all travellers had to walk over a wild river on small logs. Other jeeps were waiting on the other side. Lots of apricot orchards followed. From close to Khaplu
the road is asphalt all the way into Askole. Count on 5-8 hours from Hushe to Askole.
Visas are required by nationals from most European and English-speaking countries. Validity period and cost varies a lot depending on which passport you carry.
Some Pakistani Embassies around the world
Visa extensions are available in most major cities in Pakistan, but should be avoided in the really large cities as it can be a long and nerve-wrecking experience. For Mitre climbers, Skardu is a recommended place for extensions. See also the Skardu section
representing the the Executive Council Alpine Club of Pakistan forwarded me the following information.
Government of Pakistan vide Notification. 1(1)/2002-OP, dated 15th October 2008. In suppression of all previous notifications regarding announcement of concessions for Mountaineering, Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan has decided to continue reduction in royalty fee during the calendar Year 2010 as per details given below:
1. Zero royalty fee for peaks up to 6500-M.
2. 10% royalty fee on mountains situated in Chitral, Gilgit and Ghizer except on Spantik/Golden Peak.
3. 05% royalty fee on all peaks during winter season (December- February).
4. 50% discount on royalty fee on all peaks except as mentioned in (1) and (2) above as per following break-up:
The prices after reduction:
K-2 8611m $6000 for 7 member for additional member $1000
8001-8500m $4500 for additional member $750
7501-8000m $2000 for additional member $250
7001-7500m $1250 for additional member $200
6501-7000m $750 for additional member $150
When To Climb
Climbing season is June through September.
Mitre is located very close to Concordia, one of the biggest mountaineering camps in the area. During the whole climbing season there are lots of expeditions there. Many of them have satellite communication capability and many of them are also online on a daily basis, i.e. you'll get plenty of info about the weather.
The K2 weather report also apply for Mitre
Main site of Adventure Weather.com
The Pakistani army people on the Baltoro glacier keep a close check on the weather. Another good source of info.
It's allowed to camp anywhere along the route to Mitre. Most climbers who go to the area have bought a package deal from an organizer and therefore a high majority of campers stay in the official campsites along the way. Some of them are clean and well-equipped places, some looks more like garbage dumps (Ali Camp and Concordia) and some are only detectable by some spartan wind shelters built by piled up rocks.
Apart from the camps at Paiju, Jhula and Urdukas there are no reason to stay at the official places as they often are crowded and noisy places.
Pitch your tent anywhere!
Contrary to what some organizers are telling you, you can arrange the trek all by yourself.
The porter salary system was strict and worked fine until 2004, when massive amounts of climbers arrived for the K2 anniversary. A shortage of porters made some organizers desperate and they had to bid over the governmentally fixed prices. This created havoc and the whole porter salary system collapsed.
The cost for a porter is now down to your bargaining skills. Officially
it should be roughly 2300Rps. to Mitre, but count on paying 3500Rps.
Porters can be found in Askole, but if there are a lot of expeditions leaving when you get there, there is a high risk there are none available. Better book beforehand. The organizers are not very happy to help you out with this, as they want to include you in a group, but the small hotels in Skardu can usually help you. The price mentioned above is the full price, which include sunglasses, gloves etc. for the porter.
What is not included in the price are the below items and you have to supply the group of porters with the following:
A kerosene stove
A tarp or a sheet of thick plastic which serves as a tent/shelter.
All the above is best bought in Skardu.
The rest on the list 600Rps. (10 litres of kerosine).
Skardu is a little town where you'll spend a day or two and is the last outpost of "real civilisation".
You can extend your visa here, regardless of what some organizers tells you. Go to the DP (Deputy Comissioner) Office. It takes an hour or two to get the one month extension. Prices depends on your nationality. The DP Office is to be found in the nothern end of town, close to the K2 Guest House.
There are plenty of hotels in Skardu. The top end places are K2 Guest House and Masherbrum Hotel. The former is known for it's cozy garden and the latter for over priced food. Prices ranges in between 1500-2000 Rps./night. Cheaper alternatives are to be found along the main street. A good value hotel is Gasherbrum Hotel on the main street. 300 Rps./night for a large double is a good deal and the food in the hotel's restaurant is excellent and the portions are monstrous of size.
Camping and mountaineering shops sells everything you can find in their equivalents in the west. Prices varies. Gas canisters for example are expensive, but down suits can be bought for 200US$! Almost everything here is second hand.
Food shops. There are plenty of them along the main street. Don't expect to find much more than the staples.
If you hire your own porters, you better buy the stuff they need in Skardu. Further up the valleys it'll be way more costly and it's not 100% you'll find what you look for. See the porter section for more details about this.
OrganizersThere are lots of organizers who can help you with porters, kitchen facilities, guides etc. I choose to list the ones I personally have encountered on my journeys. Random order.
The only organizer who specifically offers or even mention Mitre as a target is former SP member and first summiteer Ghirardini. His site
Hushe Treks & Tours
Local organizer which has been around for a long time.
Nazir Sabir Expeditions
Supposedly the best organizer, according to many Pakistanis. A bit more costly than the average organizer.
Karakurum Treks & Tours
Another company with lots of experience and good reputation.
Karakurum Magic Mountains
A quite new company with great services.
Small but experienced company.
SP member Karrar's company.
Askole Treks & Tours
SP member Afzal's company.
Useful addresses and information.
North Pakistan tours
Ishaq Ali Geologist
Po Box 463
Alpine Club of Pakistan
Pakistan Sports Complex,
Basic information about PakistanMoney & Costs
60 Rps = 1 US$ in mid 2005.
Road side restaurants: US$ 0,5-1,5
Budget meal: US$2-3
Moderate restaurant meal: US$3-8
Top-end restaurant meal: US$5-10
Budget room: US$1,5-5
Moderate hotel: US$10-15
Top-end hotel: US$22 and up
By staying in hostels or dorms and eating like a local you can get by on as little as US$3-10 a day. If, however, you were looking for a moderate touch of luxury you could spend as much as $30-40 a day which could get you accommodation that included a satellite T.V., a desk, a balcony, and a spotlessly clean bathroom. As in any place you can spend as much as you like to live in the lap of luxury and stay in swanky hotels. It's worth noting that rooms and food are cheaper in the north than in the south.
Both travellers cheques and cash are easy to change throughout the country, but commissions on cheques can be high. Apart from top-end hotels most places won't accept credit cards as payment although you can often use them for cash advances at western banks. Facilities for validation seem better for Visa then Mastercard. Occasionally a tattered note will be firmly refused as legal tender, and often in the smaller towns the appearance of a 1000 or 500 rupee note will cause consternation and an inability to provide change so make sure you get some smaller notes when buying your rupees.
A reliable place for using Visa/Mastercards (ATM and cash withdrawals) is the Citibank in the Blue Area in central Islamabad.
Baksheesh isn't so much a bribe as a way of life in Pakistan. It can apply to any situation and is capable of opening all sorts of doors, both literal and metaphorical. Anything from a signature on a document to fixing a leaking tap can be acquired through the magic of baksheesh. Most top-end hotels will automatically add a 5-10% service charge to your bill so any extra tipping is entirely up to you. Taxi drivers routinely expect 10% of the fare, and railway porters charge an officially-set Rs 7. The only time that a gratuity might not be welcome is in the rural areas where it runs counter to Islamic obligation to be hospitable.
As everywhere else, make sure the tip is not over the top. It only makes it hard for both future travellers and the locals.
If baksheesh is a way of life, bargaining is a matter of style, particularly in the many Pakistani bazaars. Unlike the western hesitancy for bargaining, shopkeepers in Pakistani love to bargain as long as it's done with style and panache. Bargaining usually begins with an invitation to step inside for a cup of tea followed by a little bit of small talk, a casually expressed interest by yourself in a particular item, a way-too-high price mentioned by the seller, a way-too-low counter offer by yourself and eventually, after much comic rolling of eyes, a handshake and mutual satisfaction for both parties. Bargaining should always be accompanied by smiles, good humour and an ability not to get fixated on driving the price into the ground.
Climate in the different provinces
The best time for travelling to Pakistan depends on which part of the country you intend to visit. Generally speaking the southern parts of Pakistan including Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab and southern NWFP are best visited in the cooler months between November and April. After that it gets uncomfortably hot. The northern areas like Azad Jammu Kashmir, and northern NWFP are best seen during May to October before the area becomes snowbound. The weather may be a little stormy during this time but the mountain districts are usually still accessible.
Try and avoid Pakistan during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting which, usually occurs sometime during the months of December to early January. This is because a fasting Muslim is an understandably cranky Muslim, and you may find yourself involuntary joining in the fast because activity is kept to a minimum and food is hard to find during daylight hours.
The security situation in Pakistan deteriorated through 1997, with areas previously considered safe experiencing the same sort of violence and crime as in the long-troubled Sind region. As well as the danger of being caught up in sectarian skirmishes, travellers have been the specific target of violence in Karachi and Lahore.
Sind, the region in the south of Pakistan which includes Karachi, was known as the `Unhappy Valley' or the `Land of Uncertainties' by ancient travellers. Switch to the present day and news of curfews, foreign kidnappings and atrocities between the two main ethnic groups - Sindhis, the province's indigenous inhabitants, and the Mohajir, Muslim refugees from India - suggests its former name is still not out of place. With robbery, smuggling and gun-running amongst Sind's biggest
industries, the province remains a highly dangerous place to visit.
Travel to Sind as well as to the North-West Frontier Province, Punjab and Baluchistan should be undertaken with caution and only after consulting a national foreign affairs department prior to departure or a consulate in Karachi for current information.
The Northern Areas are usually very safe and out of a climbers point of view this is the most important issue. The worst you probably encounter is snotty kids throwing a rock or two and a really annoying feature is the "one-pen-kids". Please do not encourage this behaviour by handing out gifts willy nilly. It only creates greed, beggary and a hell time for forthcoming travellers. If you want to give pens, hand it over to the local teacher/local.
Shots against dengue fever, hepatitis A, malaria and, in rural areas, Japanese encephalitis are recommended.
The tap water should be avoided all over Pakistan.
Giardia and amoebic dysentery is endemic all over the country and Flagyl (metronidazole) is one of the more essential drugs to bring.
Time: GMT/UTC plus five hours
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: metric
Tourism: 424,000 visitors
For more information about Pakistan
One of Pakistan's biggest newspapers online
Pakistan's official site for tourism
RemarkI have not climbed or attempted this peak. Therefore there are no routes added to the page. If you have climbed it and want to adopt this page, please let me know.
External LinksTreks, Tours, Expeditions
A tour operator specializing in northern Pakistan.
Expeditions in Pakistan.
Askole Treks & Tours
Adventure Tour Operating Company in Pakistan. Specialized in Mountaineering Expeditions, Rock Climbing, Trekking Trips and Adventure Tours in Pakistan.
Jasmine Tours - Pakistan
We run annual trips to all 8000m peaks in Pakistan.