Located in the central part of Alborz mountain range, Mt Damavand (5610 m) is the most prominent natural feature of Iran looming majestically near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. In terms of national divisions, the peak is located in Larijan county of Amol city, Mazandaran province. It can be seen from the cities of Tehran, Varamin, Qom, as well as the Caspian Sea coast when the sky is clear and sunny.
Damavand is a dormant volcano with a iced-caped summit crater (400 m in diameter) that erupted for the last time 38,500 years ago, and it may happen again. It is the highest peak of Iran and Middle East and the highest if you travel from Europe eastward to Iran.
Mount Damavand was registered as the first natural monument of Iran on July 20, 2008. It is worth mentioning that this mountain was considered as a national natural monument in 2002 among four valuable areas in terms of environmental protection. Damavand can be easily reached via Haraz Road from Tehran.
Mt Damavand is visible far from 250km in a clear sky. Just below its crater there are few famous glaciers such as “Yakhar”and “Sioleh”. There are some hot springs on its lower slopes in Larijan county. Because of its great height, the view from top is very extensive, a big panorama of mountains and valley covering some hundreds of square Kilometers. All around are other peaks of the Alborz Mountain Range, in the north to the Caspian Sea plain and in the south descending to the deserts of central Iran.
Around Damavand, there are five rivers. Haraz River in the south and east of Damavand Mountain, Lar River and Div Asiab River in the west, Panj Aab in the east and Tineh River are located in the north of this high mountain.
During spring, from April to the end of May, Damavand Mountain has a very stormy weather with snowfall, which is very dangerous for climbing. It can be said that the best and most attractive time to climb Damavand peak is from the middle of June to the end of July, because during these months there is a relative stability of the weather. You can also enjoy the pleasant freshness of the region and the abundant water in Gousfand Sara and Bargah Sevom basecamps.
From the end of July to the first of October, Damavand enjoys a relatively stable weather and less snow, and the glacier zones get more stable. Also, there is a lack of water in the slopes. From the beginning of October to the end of March, Damavand Mountain has unstable and stormy weather, with heavy volume of snow on the slopes. No running water can be found in the mountains during these months.
Amol, Tehran and Damavand town are three closest cities to Mount Damavand. This mountain is located 69 km northeast of the Iranian capital, 62 km west of Amol city and 26 km north of Damavand city.
It is interesting to know that the speed of wind and storm in Mount Damavand is usually more than 150 kilometers per hour, which decreases to70 kilometers per hour in the foothills. The direction of these winds is mostly from the west and northwest of Damavand, as well. The air pressure at Damavand Peak is half the air pressure at the sea level.
Due to its special location, overlooking the forests from the north and the mountains bordering the desert from the south, Damavand region is home to different animal species, such as foxes, jackals, wolves, dogs ewes, ibex, boars, rabbits, and birds such as golden eagles, partridges, and quails.Sometimes these animals can be seen up to 4000 meters above Damavand Mountain, there are also few bears in this area, but they are mostly seen in the west and north. These bears usually avoid high altitudes.
Mountaineering in Damavand dates back to thousands of years ago. Recent researches revealed that in ancient times, some people reached Damavand Peak in different ways. In Naser Khosrow's travelogue, it is stated that there is a well over Mt. Damavand from which ammonium chloride and sulfur, are taken. Damavand Expedition is another tourist attraction of Tehran. For the first time, Europeans climbed Damavand Peak in 1837, led by Tyler Thomson. Also, the first documented ascent of the Iranians to this peak dates back to 1857, the height of which is set at 6613 m.
Elevated slopes of mount Damavand can be a bit challenging for some amateur climbers; however, is still feasible for most people with proper acclimatization and suitable gear. In general, Damavand trek is not generally a technical one and climbers in good physical shape can enjoy a great trekking up to the peak accompanied by a certified Iranian mountain guide.
Multiple base camps are available on the climbing tracks of Mt. Damavand that prepare a basic accommodation and resting area for mountaineers. The base camps and shelters are as per below:
1. Goosfandsara base camp located on the southern track – 3000 m above the sea level
2. Bargah E Sevom Sanctuary located on the southern track - 4200 m above the sea level
3. Simorgh Sanctuary located on the western track - 4200 m above the sea level
4. Chahar Hezar base camp - 4000 m above the sea level on the northern track.
5. Panj Hezar Shelter - 4600 m of above the sea level on the northern track.
6.Takht e Fereydon camp located at 4350 meters of altitude on the northeastern track.
There are 7 glaciers in Mt. Damavand that makes it more charming for trekking and climbing. These glaciers are as below:
1. Siole ( located near the northern route)
2. Dobi sel (located near the northern route)
3. Aroosak ha (located near the northern route)
4. Dare Bokhar ( located near the northeastern route )
5. Khor Tab Sar
6. The northwestern glacier
7. The western glacier