Brief Description

Situated in the heart of the Alborz Range of northern Iran, Mount Damavand towers over its stunning surroundings. The potentially active stratovolcano is the highest peak in the country and the tallest volcano in Asia, making it one of the Seven Volcanic Summits. 

Its proximity to Tehran, along with this status, has made it a popular destination for domestic and international mountaineers. From the summit, climbers receive stunning views of the Caspian Sea to the north and the Iranian capital to the south, furthering the allure of climbing the volcanic peak.

The most accessible routes to the summit are considered trekking routes and, in the spring, many ski mountaineers opt to summit the peak before skiing back down. The mountain is also a popular spot for day hikers planning to see some of the mountain’s unique wildlife and bathe in the thermal waters.  

Quick Facts about Damavand

  • With 4,667 metres (15,312 feet) separating its base from its summit, Damavand is the twelfth most prominent mountain in the world and second most prominent in Asia, after Mount Everest.
  • Mount Damavand is widely considered a symbol against despotism and foreign rule for the Iranian people and has long held an important role in local poetry, art and mythology.
  • Since Damavand is a potentially active volcano, the peak boasts numerous mineral hot springs at the base of the mountain and its slopes. Some of these have been converted into public baths and are popular attractions for climbers returning from the summit.

History of Damavand

The first recorded ascent of Mount Damavand came in 905 when ancient travel writer Abu Dulad al-Khazraji climbed the peak, most likely from the southern route. 

However, the peak was likely climbed long before as the mountain has long held spiritual importance to local populations. In fact, up until the thirteenth century, it was not uncommon for people to climb Damavand.

The first Westerner to climb Damavand was W Taylor Thomspon, who reached the summit in September 1837. As the mountain was no longer benign climbed at this point, he claimed to be the first one to reach the summit. 

The record was later corrected after investigations of the historical records showed the previous ascents. 

Experience Required for Climbing Damavand

While the easiest routes to the summit of Mount Damavand require no technical climbing abilities, the peak still poses various challenges.

Even the most accessible routes to the top are quite steep and involve scrambling over sections of loose rock and soil. Therefore, previous trekking experience is highly recommended as is being in excellent physical condition.

The altitude and climate are also among the challenges on the peak. Plenty of time is required to acclimate, as the mountain is very prominent. Weather also tends to be more volatile at higher altitudes, with wind and the potential for storms creating challenges for climbers.

Some of the tougher routes to the summit involve steep and technical glacier and ice climbing, well suited for intermediate-level climbers with previous experience at higher altitudes. 

Main Routes up Damavand

Sixteen different routes lead to the summit of Mount Damavand. However, only four of these are commonly used.

The easiest to climb and thus most popular is the south face route. Starting from Goosfandsera hut, at roughly 3,000 metres (9,800 feet), climbers follow a series of curved ridge lines up to the southern ridge. The following day, climbers will follow this ridge straight to the top.

After the southern route, the western route is the second most popular. Beginning from the Polour village, climbers take a long but relatively straightforward hike to the Simorgh hut at 4,200 metres (13,800 feet). The following day, climbers follow a rocky ridge up to the summit, traversing one tricky section of sandy soil just before arriving at the top.

Away from these two routes, the north face and northeast route are the two most challenging. Part of the reason for this is the harsher climatic conditions on this side of the mountain and the other part is the more technical glacier and snow climbing required on both routes. 

Useful information about Mount Damavand

Height: 5,610 m (18,406 ft)

Weather: The late spring is the most popular season in which to climb Damavand as temperatures at the base of the mountain are cooler than in the scorching summer months and the weather is more stable higher up on the peak, though temperatures still drop below freezing at the summit. The late spring also tends to be quite dry. 

Peak Climbing Season: May to June

Summit Window: May to June

Average Expedition Length: 1 week

Accepted Currencies: Iranian rial (IRR)

Language: Persian

How To Get To Damavand

Almost all trips to Mount Damavand begin with a flight into Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) in Tehran. Guides will almost exclusively meet here and provide transport to the start of the trip – usually Rineh or Polur, depending on the route being taken.

Your travel route will vary depending on the expedition you choose. Please refer to the individual guides expeditions for more information.

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Damavand