Iran: skiing, hiking and climbing on the highest peak in the Middle East
The Damavand volcanic peak rises dramatically 70 km northeast of the Iranian capital, Tehran, and 70 km south of the Caspian Sea. Damavand is the highest volcanic peak in the Middle East. Lateral vents are rare and the volcano’s activity consists mainly of trachyandesite.
The most recent activity was the eruption of a series of lava flows from the summit mouth covering the western side of the volcano. Estimates of its height range from 5610 to 5670 meters. It dominates the surrounding mountain ranges from 900 to 2450 meters. Below the crater there are two small glaciers, as well as fumaroles (holes through which smoke and gases escape), hot springs and travertine mines. Mount Damavand became volcanically active at least 1.8 million years ago and its most recent eruption was about 7,300 years ago. The mountain is mentioned in several Persian legends, one of which attributes it as the resting place of Noah’s Ark.
Damavand was a symbol of solidarity and consensus. Mount Damavand, the main source of legends and stories, holds a special place in Iranian mythology. “The highest and loftiest horizon of Alborz is Mount Damavand, the highest and loftiest is not seen among the mountains of Alborz.” In contemporary Iranian culture, the legend associated with Damavand, the legendary figure of Arash-e-Kamangir, or “Arash the Archer,” is known and celebrated as a national hero. Arash is willing to sacrifice his life by infusing his arrow with his life force to restore the territories usurped by Iran’s enemy. According to legend, he does this so that the arrow will reach as far as possible, as the expanse of land over which the arrow flies must be included in “Iranshahr”. There is no doubt that the story has been popular for many centuries, but during the various upheavals of the 20th century, Arash’s story has been evoked, and in the hands of artists with various political leanings, his figure has been imbued with layers that reflect the artist’s ideological assumptions.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||IKA International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 3 hours before the flight.|
*Depending on the weather and the amount of snow, the ski season may start in mid-November and last until mid-May. It would be advisable to check the amount of snow in the area before making plans to go there.
**The south side of Mount Damavand is not so steep. There are no crevasses in the area either. But it is a high mountain, where the snow is compacted by the wind and frozen at its highest elevations. In fact, you can expect different types of snow at different altitudes. However, we recommend ski mountaineering on Damavand to those who are trained and have previous experience in winter ascents and ski mountaineering on smaller mountains.
*** In order to reach the top of Damavand, you need to be well trained and prepared, a full equipment list will be provided when you pick up your documentation.
Day 1; Country of origin - Tehran
Departure by scheduled flight to the capital of Iran, Tehran, located at the foot of Mount Alborz. Welcome and greetings by SITO TRAVEL’s tour guide at the airport. Transfer to hotel and check-in. (Depending on departure time, there will be the possibility to go directly to Polur without any stop in Tehran).
Day 2; Tehran - Polur
After breakfast, the morning is dedicated to the visit of Golestan Palace that is located near the Grand Bazaar, a remarkable complex that has its roots in the 16th century, when Tehran slowly transformed from a simple village into a real city. Golestan means “garden of flowers”, a name that honors wonderful Persian Gardens in the place. The contemporary Iranian history is so indebted to this complex where Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was crowned claiming himself the successor to Cyrus the Great. Next, we visit the entrance to Tehran Grand Bazaar where, among its 10 kilometers of galleries, is possible to find any imaginable object.
In the afternoon transfer to the village of Polur 2350 m from the departure base camp on the south side of Mount Damavand.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3; Polur- Lasem- Polur
Breakfast and departure to the village of Lasem (2700m), where you can see the Dobarar peak. The day is dedicated to warm up, acclimatization and, if time allows, ski touring.
Dobarar has a double fold, like most of the folds of the Iranian plateau, is caused by the collision of the continents of Europe and Asia during the Cretaceous period, which has the shape of a mountain range in the south of Mazandaran province (in the plains of Lar and Polur from west to southeast).
Height difference of about 1000 m.
Return to Polur, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4; Polur - Dobarar Mountain - Polur
Breakfast, short transfer and climb to the highest peak of Dobarar at 4100m. A day for final acclimatization, hiking and enjoying the stunning scenery of the Damavand volcanic area and its proud surrounding peaks.
Altitude gain of about 1100m.
Return to Polur, dinner and overnight.
Day 5; Polur - Gosfandsara - Bargah Sevom
Breakfast, transfer by 4×4 to Saheb Zaman Mosque where the dirt road ends, starting point of the third camp, Bargah Sevom. From the mosque, mules carry equipment to the next point. When basic items are carried, the rest is left in the saddlebags on the backs of the mules. Once the heavy packages are left, it will take about 5 hours to reach the refuge at 4300m.
Altitude difference is about 1300m.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6; Bargah Sevom - Mount Damavand - Polur
Breakfast, finally the most awaited day of the whole trip: climb to the roof of the Middle East. We leave early in the morning for a hike of more than 1300 meters. Upon reaching 5450 m, we can already see or smell the sulfurous fumaroles of the Damavand volcano, which dominates the entire Iranian Plateau. Walking towards the top with so much adrenaline in our blood, we will reach the summit from where – if the sky allows – we will be able to admire Iran before our eyes; a splendid panorama that quenches our thirst from the deserts to the Caspian Sea.
After regaining energy, we go down to Bargah Sevom hut and finally to the mosque to get back in the car and return to Polur.
Day 7; Polur- Tehran
Breakfast, rest day and go for a walk. Return to Tehran. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 8; Tehran -Destination country
Transfer to Imam Khomeini International Airport for flight from Tehran to destination country.