Iran, Birthplace of Mt. Damavand
Iran is the land of great conflicts. The Persian territory is the land of snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, deserts and exquisite forests. A land where apple trees and palm trees grow not too far from each other.
The diversity of geography, climate, and people along with a variety of ethnicities, with different cultures, accents and dialects, allow Iran to be one of the tourist destinations in the world.
Iran (Ancient Iran) is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Kharazm desert and Kura River to the north, by the Amu Darya basin, western mountains of Indus valley and the slopes of western mountains of Pamir to the east, by the western slopes of the Zagros Mountains and the Arvand Rud (river) basin to the west and by the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea to the south.
The two main mountain ranges of Iran are Zagros and Alborz. Zagros mountains extend from northwest to Khuzestan Plain, and Alborz mountains extend from west to east along the Caspian Sea (Mazandaran).
The Iranviva team aims to attract your attention to Alborz mountains, specifically the highest peak of the range, Mount Damavand. But before that it is better to review the history and background of Alborz Mountains and Mount Damavand.
A Brief History of Alborz Mountain Range
According to some historical documents, the history of Alborz Mountains and Mount Damavand dates back to over 8000 years ago.
Alborz has been called by a variety of names in Avesta, the Bible of Zoroaster. In Avesta, Alborz is named ‘Harā Barazait (Abarzayti)’, and Mount Damavand is called ‘Hokar ayr Khoshuth and siamak’. Most of these names show the importance and sanctity of this snow-white Giant. Many ancient works from antiquity have praised Mount Damavand repeatedly and it is stated that the Stars, the moon, and the sun rotate around Alborz and Damavand, and that God had been observing the Iranians over the peak of Damavand before blowing the sun.
Iranians are the people who understand their history, their past, present and future in the light of myths. The people of this land consider history as a scene of battle between the Good and the Evil and all know that finally it is the Good that will prevail over Evil.
mountain range (Alborz ), in the south of the Caspian Sea, protects the central and southern Iran from moisture, like a wall. Hence, there are different climate types on either side of the Alborz mountain range. The northern area that is surrounding the southern part of the Caspian Sea is covered with lush forests and slopes and the climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean basin. The other side of the mountain range, the southern side, which is facing the plateau of Iran is dry.
Introducing Alborz Mountains
Alborz contain several peaks with altitudes of around 1000-5000 meters above the sea level. Some of these high peaks include: Alam-Kooh (Mount Alam) with an altitude of 4850 meters, Mt. Mehrchal (3920 meters), Mt. Tochal ( 3960 meters), Mt. Kharsang (4100 meters), Mt. Varevasht (4120 meters), Mt. Sarakchal (4150 meters), Mt. Kolon Bastak (4200 meters), Mt. Palan Gardan (4250 meters), Mt. Nazer Bozorg (4350 meters), Mt. Khol-No (4375 meters), Mt. Azadkooh (4398 meters) and Mt. Damavand (5610 meters).
Mount Damavand, the Dormant Volcano
Mount Damavand is the highest peak in Iran, the highest volcano in Asia and one of the seven climbable volcanoes in the world. Mount Damavand is located in the northeast of Tehran. It is a dormant volcano, a stratovolcano type of volcano, dating back to the Quaternary period. There are some thermal sulfur hot springs and spa on the herb-covered foothills of Damavand. Mount Damavand is the first natural heritage recorded in the Iranian National Archives. According to the geological studies and determining the relative altitude of the mountains, after Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Pico Cristóbal Colón, Mount Lougan, Oyzaba, Vinson, Puncak Jaya, Elbrus and Mont Blanc, Mount Damavand is the twelfth highest peak in the world, based on the relative altitude (peak height relative to the lowlands). Besides, this peak is higher than the well-known peaks like Nanga Parbat, K2, and Dhaulagiri.
The minimum temperature in Mount Damavand in winter is as low as 60°C below zero and in summer about 1 to 2°C below zero. It receives an average of 1400 mm of precipitation each year, mainly in the form of snow.
Climbing Mount Damavand is possible all year round. This is the main advantage that attracts Iranian and non-Iranian climbers. But the best time to climb this volcanic peak is in summer.
Atmospheric instability in changing seasons will makes climbing very challenging and exciting. For example, climbing this peak in winter is kind of struggling with the glaciers, Siuleh Glacier and Dubi-sel Glacier on the northern face, Yakhar Valley Glacier on the northeastern face, and the icefall, which is unique in the world, with a height of seven meters and a diameter of three meters on the southern face.
Mount Damavand is a climbable peak. Adventurous climbing plans are the obvious characteristics of this volcano. For example, you can start by bike from the Caspian Sea coast, at an altitude of zero meters, and pass through the mountainous and forested path to the starting point of climbing. In winter, it can be done with Turing skiing to the peak of Mount Damavand and skiing down the mountain. The other climbing plan in winter is technical ascending the glaciers on different faces. In spring and summer, the speed ascension (sky-running) and staying at night in a shelter at a height of 5 thousand meters or on the summit, is the adventure and attraction of Damavand Peak.
Climbing Mount Damavand is normally done through the southern, western, northern, northeastern faces. The oldest and easiest route to climb is the southern face. On this route, there is a sulfur hill near the peak. At this point, the sulfur gas emissions by the dormant volcano creates a mythical atmosphere. But the Western face, which has a steep slope, requires climbing numerous snowy and rocky routes. The Simorgh Shelter allows the mountaineers on this route to rest and rejuvenate. The Northeastern face is the longest ascending route with Takht-e Fereydoun shelter. And finally the northern face, through which the climbers can climb and reach the summit by the northern ridge of the peak.
Iran Mountaineering Federation has implemented some regulations for climbers to climb safely, with the lowest risk and accident and to conquer the tallest Iranian peak. One of the requisites is having a Climbing Permit from the Mountaineering Federation, which is only issued for the mountaineering clubs.
Himachal Mountaineering Club
Himachal Mountaineering Club is a professional and active club with official permission from the Mountaineering Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Himachal with professional instructors and guides makes it possible for the adventure enthusiasts and those who are interested in mountain-climbing to experience a safe and memorable ascent. Himachal allows non-Iranian climbers and adventurers to experience a memorable ascent, too.
And to recap, Mount Damavand is the symbol of culture and mythology of Iranian eight-thousand-year-old civilization and the manifestation of Iranians’ glory, resistance and perseverance in different ages.