Climbing Damavand from the South Face
Text by: Hadi Saberi
 
 
 
Damavand (5671 m) is the highest peak in Iran, the Middle East and the highest volcanic peak in Asia. This peak is located in northern Iran and in the vast Alborz mountain range, near the capital city. Damavand Peak is located 69 km northeast of Tehran, 62 km southwest of Amol and 26 km northwest of Damavand city. Damavand is a legendary mountain that has frequently been mentioned in poems, historical and mythical books as well as being one of the most popular symbols of Iran and the Iranian people. The relative height of Damavand - determined by measuring the peak relative to the lowest valley between this peak and the nearest highest peak - is 4661m, which ranks Damavand 12th among the highest peaks in the world in terms of relative height.
 
 
We suggest you to participate in a well-designed and tested mountaineering program (hiking), including appropriate acclimatization and climbing Damavand Peak (5671 m). Here you can see the beauty of the mountains, widen horizons of your knowledge and skills, and learn how to trust your friends. At the top of the peak, you feel a deep and indescribable sense of life as well as a joyous victory that suddenly fills you.
 
 
Route:
Tehran – Haraz road - Polour village (2219 m) - Road to Rineh and Larijan villages - Masjed and Gousfand Sara passage (3050 m) - valley of First and Second rivers - Third shelter/camp (4150 m) - Southern ridge - Yakhi (icy) Waterfall (5100 m) - Climbing from the south face of Damavand Peak (5671 m) - Polour village.
Magnificent peaks, eternal snow-covered high passages, mineral springs, spas, amazing lakes and rivers, you can see all of them with your own eyes. Passing through valleys, ridges and beautiful cliffs, you can become acquainted with a wonderful world of mountainous nature which makes it an unforgettable journey. Climbing Damavand is a prestigious adventure that is accessible to everyone with a healthy body. Professional guides, high quality equipment and an optimal acclimatization program guarantee your safety.
 
 
 
 
This route is called the “classic route” because most ascents are conducted exactly through it. It is a well beaten track to the peak, so climbing Damavand from the south face is slightly easier than the other faces. However, this is not an easy route from the other perspective. This is perhaps the most popular route to climb Damavand. Here (in the villages around) you can find comfortable hotels and accommodations, spas, mineral water springs and cafes, and enjoy delicious local foods. Also, a beautiful landscape of Damavand’s slopes from (lying in) the Alborz main mountain range appears in front of you. This tour, like many of our tours to Damavand, is suitable for any individual (climber) without demanding any special physical ability. No need to carry heavy backpacks. The tour program includes proper gradual acclimatization, which in turn minimizes the possibility of altitude-related diseases (Acute Mountain Sickness) and maximizes chances of a success ascent. This tour is suitable for those who have never before been to a noticeable mountain.
There is no part in the route that is technically difficult. The first part of the Damavand climbing program is focused on the optimal acclimatization in valleys and heights before the second camp and developing necessary mountaineering skills.
During acclimatization, we may have the opportunity to see Lar Lake, accustom our body to physical stresses, and also learn how to handle the slopes of the route. An important point is that we have time to make friends with each other. Our campaigns are always not only interesting but also amusing and fun. A good bond is formed.
This route is not technically difficult, but it is cunning. In bad weather conditions climbing without experienced trainers and guides can be very dangerous and requires the use of special climbing equipment. However, environmental factors such as altitude, air thinness, cold, wind and sometimes permanent winds, lack of adequate visibility in the bad weather, emissions of sulfur dioxide, increased intensity of the sunlight, call for climbers with good physical fitness, endurance as well as high quality equipment.
Our climbing may take slightly longer than usual, this is to ensure better acclimatization and getting more positive feelings.
 
 
Day 1: Arrival in Tehran - Transfer to the hotel and doing preparation tasks
 
 
 
 
If you arrive in Tehran early in the morning, you will have the opportunity to visit the attractions and spectacular sights of this huge city: old, beautiful palaces and houses, museums, the old market (Bazaar), the northern recreational spots on the slopes of Tochal and Alborz Mountains, and the long Tochal cable-cabin that takes us to its highest point at 3680 m. The fascinating 7.5-kilometer cable-cabin trip takes 31 minutes while enjoying the unrivaled mountainous and urban landscapes until you reach the Tochal Hotel, which is (perhaps) the world’s highest mountainous hotel (3545 m).
 
 
 
 
Day 2: Transfer to Polour village and climbing up to the camp two (3050 m)

Participants arrive in the crowded village of Polour (2219 m), meet with the group members at the Mountaineering Federation’s Camp as well as meeting the guide. We can go to Polour village by cars or buses. It is better to be ready at 6 o’clock. Transfer with a pre-arranged transportation to Polour takes about 2 hours. Here is the point where coordination is done, necessary permits are issued and the safety instructions for climbing are given. It takes about half an hour to get to the starting point for climbing on the road between Polour and Rineh villages. The landscapes of valleys and mountains around Polour village and the road leading to Rineh village are so appealing that you cannot take your eyes off them and nobody feels tired on the way. The advantage is that you can lighten your backpack by leaving extra equipment at the federation camp - just take the things you need for the ascent. We just take as much food as is needed. The mountain passage leading to the camp Two is located at a height of 2450 meters in the beautiful slopes of Damavand, on the road between Polour and Rineh villages. From this unpaved road with a lot of ups and downs, we can easily reach camp Two by 4WD cars, however, our plan is to achieve an optimal acclimatization in order to experience the most excellent feelings in our final ascent. We walk slowly through the beautiful slopes to reach the second camp after 2 to 3 hours. On the left and right sides of the climbing route we can see local ranchers’ residences of the cities and villages to the east and south of Damavand. They reside here in the slopes around Damavand in the seasons when there is enough forage for their livestock.
 
 
 
 
This is not a difficult route. After 1 hour of rest, we continue gradual acclimatization up to 3400 meters and return to Camp 2. We appreciate the eye-catching landscape of the local heights and mountains and gradually get used to the wonderful mountainous weather. This is a point where local porters transfer climbers’ heavy backpacks and loads to Camp 3 by horses and mules. We overnight at a height of 3050 meters in tents at Camp 2.
 
 
 
 
Day 3: Climbing up to Camp Three (4150 m)

The next stage is to pass along the Mollakhoran ridge on the right (east) and its deep valley- Kafar Darreh- and Lumer ridge on the left (west) to reach the third camp at an altitude of 4150 meters. It is going to be a fairly hard day because we have to climb 1100 meters to reach Camp 3. After a good rest, we go up to a height of 4600 meters for a better acclimatization, return to the camp, and spend the night there. We must move early in the morning, after eating breakfast. Gradually vegetation gets more and more scattered and dry areas of Damavand appear ahead. We go up for 4 to 5 hours to reach Camp 3. Environmental factors such as altitude, air thinness, temperature reduction, wind, etc. make it a little harder. Here, there are pre-made camps with tents and high-quality equipment, a solid, large building for the climbers to stay. After taking enough rest and having water, food and fruit, we climb up to 4600 meters for the final acclimatization and return to the camp. In this passage, the beautiful view of the main ridgeline of the Doberar peak is visible in the south and behind us. Now, almost all the local mountains, peaks and heights around us are under our feet. It is a beautiful and spectacular landscape that multiplies the pleasure of staying in the amazing mountains. We will remember the night stay at the height of 4150 meters along with our friends. We go to bed early because we need a good rest and sleep.
 
 
 
 
Day 4: Summiting the peak (5671 m) and returning to camp three

Wake-up call is at 03:00 and departure is at 04:00, so we leave with headlamps. We take water, food and the equipment we prepared the night before. The average ascent and descent time for average climbers is between 9 and 10 hours. During your climb, you have a good acclimatization so you are able to walk and breathe properly. Keep in mind that your power is not just for ascent, but also for descent! Changing panoramic perspective provides a memorable image, especially at sunrise, when the rays shed Damavand’s shadow in the west and on the horizon. We welcome the sunrise and take beautiful pictures. Apart from short breaks along the route, our main rest will be at a height of 5100 meters beside the icefall called Abshaar-e Yakhi, a 7-meter-high waterfall, which is frozen all year long.
We drink warm tea and refresh. From the top, we can have a panoramic perspective of the Doberar ridgeline, Gole Zard and Pashoureh mountains as well as many other beautiful peaks in the area. The deadline for climbing is 12:00, after which the whole group must begin walking down. Note that when weather is bad, it is very difficult to find the route direction on the smooth slopes of Damavand! When the "lenticular clouds" appear on the peak, climbing must be stopped. Then we continue to climb to the peak. It is expected that for healthy individuals (people with healthy physics) along with our professional guides and an optimal acclimatization program the ascent would take about 6 hours to ensure a safe, joyful climbing experience.
 
 
 
 
Having ascended the summit, we can walk around the 400-meter crater of Damavand, this beautiful semi-active volcano, and see all its faces, from the northern parts of the vast Alborz mountain range leading to the Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests and the largest lake of the world to the south of the mountain range, which leads to the haunting and stunning central deserts of Iran, and enjoy watching them. Finally, we leave the summit with all its beauties and return to Camp 3 to overnight there.
 

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