Iran offers dozens of high mountains many of which can be climbed by anyone fit without the need for special equipment. Some of these mountains are permanently snow-capped all year round. Early June to late August is the climbing season in Iran. More than 55% of Iran's total area is mountainous. Therefore, Iran is a great place for mountain climbing, skiing, rock climbing, etc. Mountains of Iran are divided into 4 main zones: Alborz Range, Zagros Range, Central ranges and Eastern ranges of Iran. If you are interested in climbing, there are lots of opportunities in Iran.
The magnificent Alborz and Zagros ranges contain about 70 peaks over 4000 m; the most notable ones are listed below:
Mt. Damavand (5610 m) located Northeast of Tehran, Iran’s highest and most famous peak with a medium level of difficulty to reach the summit.
Mt. Alam Kuh (4850 m) is Iran’s most technical peak with an 800 m almost vertical granite cliff on its most difficult northern face that make it a world-class challenge.
Mt. Sabalan (4811 m) Located in the northwest of Iran, this elegant soaring mountain is the country's third highest peak after Damavand and Alam Kuh. It is also slightly higher than Mont Blanc.
Mt. Oshturan Kuh (4070 m) Too gentle for climbers, Oshturan Kuh is the most accessible peak of the great Zagros Mountains. It has an attractive crater lake near the summit and is ideal for trekking.
Located in the central part of Alborz mountain range, Mt. Damavand (5610m) 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.
Mid June to mid September is the best climbing season for Damavand. During this period the footpaths are usually free of snow and the weather is relatively mild. But in winter climbing is almost impossible due to low temperature and heavy winds.
There are at least 16 known paths to the summit which have different difficulties, The most popular one is the Southern Route with excellent mountain resort which has step stamps and also a camp midway called Bargah-e Sevom Camp/Shelter at 4220m (about 13,845 ft). Most mountaineers prefer to climb from the classic South route. Ordinary mountaineering gears are enough for summer ascends to Damavand from south face.
Depending on your physical condition and experience, it takes 3 up to 5 days to reach the summit. However some climbers reach the top in only two days, but it is not advisable if you haven’t climbed it before.The Damavand hike is not technically difficult (particularly in case of the South face), but the air gets pretty thin up there. Therefore, taking some time for proper acclimatization would be necessary; either with acclimatization hikes or by staying in a mountain shelter for an extra night.
The South Face Track
This is the easiest track that requires basic trekking skills. The descent is straightforward and often experienced climbers, who have taken more difficult tracks up, peak this track for the descent.There are several base camps and shelters along the way. You can also get mule support for backpacks on this track, something that cannot be guaranteed on other routes. Rescue teams can also reach the south route faster in case of emergency. As this is the most common track, it can get busy which puts the facilities under pressure.
Day 1: Drive to Polour - overnight stay in Polour or Rineh
Day 2: Trekking - overnight stay in Goosfandsara (base camp)
Day 3: Climbing to camp 2 - overnight stay in Bargahe-e Sevvom (4220m)
Day 4: Climbing to the Damavand peak and return back Bargahe-e Sevvom.
Day 5: Drive to Tehran via Larijan thermal water spa resort.
Damavand Expedition - South Face Track map
The North Face Track
This is Damavand's most challenging track and requires some experience. It’s quite steep in some parts and involves clambering. The wind is usually strong on this face so it is also much colder than the south face. In May and June, there is often snow and ice. There are two shelters along this route at 4,000 meters and then at 4,700 meters.
Day 1: Drive to nandal - overnight stay in a guest house in Nandal (2300m)
Day 2: Drive by 4x4 to start Trekking from Sang-e saboor (3000m) ,climb to Char Hezar (4000m) shelter , overnight in base camp
Day 3: climb to panj Hezar shelter(~4700m), overnight in camp 2
Day 4: Climbing to the Damavand peak and return back to Nandal
Day 5: Drive back to Tehran
Damavand Expedition - North Face Track map
The North East Track
Damavand's North East Track is the longest but the most beautiful one. It’s also the one that requires some mountaineering experience. It can get extremely cold on the way up due to the wind direction. You’ll find a shelter at 4,400 meters called Takht e Fereydoun.
Day 1: Drive to Nandal - overnight stay in a guest house in Nandal (2300m)
Day 2: Trekking - climb to Takht-e fereydoon 4400m ,overnight in base camp
Day 3: Full day Acclimatization, overnight in base camp
Day 4: Climbing to the Damavand peak and return back takht-e Fereydoon
Day 5: Drive back to Tehran
Damavand Expedition - North Face Track map
Day 1: Arrival, transfer to hotel in Tehran.
Day 2: Full day skiing at Tochal Ski resort in northern Tehran- O/N Tochal
Day 3: Transfer to Shemshak, Full day skiing at Shemshak Ski resort - O/N Shemshak
Day 4: Drive to Darbandsar, Full day skiing at Darband-Sar, drive back to Shemshak - O/N Shemshak
Day 5: Transfer to Dizin, half day skiing at Dizin ski resort - O/N Dizin
Day 6: Full day skiing at Dizin Ski resort - O/N Dizin
Day 7: Drive back to Tehran (120 km), sightseeing in Tehran/ Departure
Day 1: Tehran Arrival
Day 2: Drive to Lasem, full day skiing
Day 3: Full day skiing – West Dobrar 4072 m
Day 4: Full day skiing
Day 5: Rest day –hot spring spa in Larijan village
Day 6: Drive to Base Camp & Ski to to Bargah-e Sevom (4250 m)
Day 7: Climbing to the summit (5671m), skiing return to base camp
Day 8: Rest Day
Day 9: Drive to Reineh – Overnight stay at Reineh
Day 10: Drive to Tehran – Overnight stay in Tehran
Day 11: Transfer to IKA
Iran is a vast land and every corner of it has different climatic conditions. Some areas are desert and arid, some are humid and temperate, and some are mountainous. The two high mountain ranges of Alborz and Zagros and their high peaks are covered with snow on many days of the year, and this has created excellent conditions for those interested in the exciting sport of skiing. Every year, Iran's ski slopes host a large number of ski enthusiasts who come to these ski resorts from different cities. Read More >>