About Mount Alam-Kuh (Mount Alam)
This mountain, with an altitude of 4850 meters above sea level, is the second highest peak in Iran. However, it holds first place when it comes to the difficulty and challenges of climbing.
Alam-Kuh is famous worldwide for its northern wall which is technically like that of Mt. K2 in Pakistan.
The mountain is located 20 km southwest of the city of Kelardasht in Mazandaran province.
Towns and Cities Nearby:
Alam-Kuh is adjacent to Kelardasht city and Rudbarak village in Mazandaran province and Taleghan city and Parachan village in Alborz province.
This mountain overlooks the city of Kelardasht to the north, and the city of Taleghan to the south.
Alam-Kuh is surrounded by the cities of Chalus, Tonekabon and Salman Shahr to the north, by Chalus valley and River to the east, by the great valley of Sehezar (Three Thousand) to the west, and by Taleghan city and Alamut region to the south and southwest.
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Mt. Alam-Kuh is located in an extremely cold and snowy region, known as the largest mountainous region of Iran. The area lies between Taleghan Valley and Shahsavar and Abbas Abad forests. Most of the peaks in this area are over 4,000 meters high. Due to these features, the region is known as the Iranian Alps.
Alam-Kuh area, a large part of which is a part of central Alborz, has more than 47 peaks above 4000 meters high.
There are numerous glaciers in this area, including Sarchal, Alam-Chal, Takht-e Soleyman, Marjikesh, Khersan, Haft-Khan, Chaloon, Shane-kuh, and Split glaciers. Most of these glaciers are located at an elevation of more than 4000 meters high, in the middle of the granite peaks.
The characteristics of some of these glaciers are as follows:
This glacier is located at a height of 4050 meters to 4230 meters, between Sechal and Takht-e Soleyman peaks, and has a rocky surface.
Alam Chal Glacier:
Alam Chal glacier is located at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level. It is hidden deep in a ditch and surrounded by higher peaks and hence invisible from afar. The surface of this glacier is covered by crushed glacial table rocks.
Takht-e Soleyman Glacier:
This relatively steep glacier is at an altitude of 4350 meters to 4655 meters above sea level. It should be said that the slope increases in the northern part of this glacier.
This glacier is at an altitude of 4340 meters to 4500 meters above sea level. Marjikesh glacier lies in a valley between the Siah-Sang and Marjikesh peaks. Like most glaciers in the region, the surface of the glacier is covered by rocks, which is because of the crushed rocks falling continuously on the glacier.
Khersan glacier is at an elevation between 4150 meters to 4500 meters above sea level with a relatively large width. It lies between Marjikesh peak and Alam-Kuh on the southern face.
It is located at an altitude of 3950 meters to 4400 meters above sea level and extends along the Haft-Khan pass. Some of the glacier tongues extend as far as Haft Khan Peak.
The peaks surrounding this glacier include Negin, Takht-e Soleyman and Haft-Khan peaks.
Chaloon glacier is located between Siah-Sang and Chaloon Peaks. The height of this glacier is between 3900 meters to 4200 meters above sea level.
This glacier is known for its proximity to the summit of Mt. Shane-kuh. It is also connected to Alam-Chal glacier and is at a height of 4230 meters to 4400 meters above sea level.
Shelters in Alam Kuh:
There are three shelters in Alam-Kuh and Takht-e Soleyman:
This shelter is located at an altitude of 3800 meters above sea level, and it is provided with facilities like access to piped water supplied by a tanker, as well as a separate toilet building.
Built at an altitude of 4300 meters above sea level, this shelter is located on the route to the summit after Siah-Sang, and it is a metal shelter.
This shelter is 15 square meters and can accommodate up to 12 people.
Situated at an altitude of 4700 meters above sea level, this shelter is located between Alam-Kuh peak and the northern Khersan. It is a metal shelter and it was built in 1996.
Like Siah-Sang Shelter, it is 15 square meters and it can accommodate up to 12 people.
There are four common climbing routes up to the summit: two southern routes, one northern route and one route up the mountain wall.
North Side Route: This route starts from Rudbarak village, and passing through Vandarbon village, Sarchal shelter, Alam-Chal and Siah-Sang Pass, it reaches the summit of Alam-Kuh from the east. This is the most challenging climbing route in Iran.
South Side Route: This route also starts from Rudbarak village and passing Vandarbon village, Tang Galu valley and Hesarchal, it reaches the summit of Alam-Kuh.
Germans Ridge Route: Like the other climbing routes, this route also starts from Rudbarak village and then to Vandarbon village. Next, crossing the Sarchal shelter, Alam-Chal and Germans ridge, it reaches the 4850-meter summit of Alam-Kuh.
The Germans Ridge route is shorter than the northern side route, but it requires technical equipment of mountaineering to be used.
North Wall Route: To climb this route one needs to do wall-climbing, and like the North Side route it starts from Rudbarak and Vanderbon. The route reaches the summit of Alam-Chal, after passing Sarchal shelter, Alam-Chal and the northern mountain wall.
The north face wall of the mountain is over 650 meters high and is one of the most beautiful and difficult mountain walls in the world.
The other wall of the mountain, on the north-northeast face, is 550 meters high and it is a granite wall.
The wall is, actually, 650 meters high, while, given the height of Alam-Kuh glacier, some say it is 800 meters high.
The History of Mount Alam-Kuh
There are various stories about Alam-Kuh area, also known as Takht-e- Soleyman. But one of the most common stories and narratives among the people of this region is related to the period of Solomon, the Prophet. According to these stories:
Prophet Solomon was able to understand the language of the animals. When Solomon asked Belqis, the queen of Saba, to marry him, Belqis wanted to spend their first night in the highest and coldest place in the area.
Solomon asked the animals to search for such an area and, eventually, the bird found it for them.
Hence, Prophet Solomon built a castle in this area and this area is now known as Solomon’s Throne (Takht-e Soleyman).
The story is definitely fictional, and there is no evidence that it is a true story.
The First Ascent:
According to the documents, Bornmüller, a German botanist, explored the area in 1902, and he named it the highest summit in the area based on the evidence he had.
There is no documented evidence whether the German botanist had climbed up the summit or not, but according to the evidence he obtained, it is supposed that it was first ascended by Müller.
The first Iranian who climbed up the summit is Abutorab Lohra. He was the guide of a German team who had traveled to Iran to ascend the summit. This ascent dates back to 1936, and the German team was the fourth team ascended the mountain.
The Most Glorious Ascent:
Due to the high technicality and difficulty of climbing, Mt. Alam-Kuh is very similar to Mt. K2 in Pakistan. For this reason, there have been glorious climbs with various purposes.
Numerous great climbs have been made by Iranian and foreign teams.
One of the proudest climbs has been made by Hossein Talebi Moghaddam, one of the best wall-climbers in Iran. This climb was made through three different routes in one day.