Mount Damavand (5671m, 18606 ft) is famous as the roof of Iran. Being located in the central Alborz chain, Damavand is the highest peak in Iran, the highest volcano in Asia, the second prominent peak in Asia after mount Everest, and the highest cone-shaped mount in the world. Tehran (69km), Amol (62km) and Damavand (26km) are three nearest cities to this mountain. Check Damavand Routes and photos.
This inactive volcano has a summit crater of about 150m wide and 20m deep. However, in terms of volcanology, there is no such thing as an active volcano, some erupt more frequently than others. Mount Damavand last erupted about 7,300 years ago, yet it is considered as a potentially active volcano. The fumaroles at the summit crater emitting sulfur suggest that the volcano is still active.
Another evidence of its potential activity is the mineral hot springs on the slopes and the base indicating the presence of magma beneath the volcano. The most important hot springs are located in Abgarm village in Larijan in Lar Valley. The water from these springs is curative in the treatment of chronic wounds and skin diseases so are equipped with public baths and pools for public use. Check Mount Damavand Routes and photos.
Mount Damavand has many natural glaciers and the biggest and longest glacier of Iran is located in this mountain. The main east and north east glacier starts from about 3500 meters high to just below the summit. There are two large glaciers in the north flank which cause this route as the colder ascend route than the others. There is a small glacier in south flank as well as another small glacier above the icefall. As well as some small glaciers in the western part, Damavand has a small glacier in its summit crater which is mostly frozen creating a frozen Lake.
This majestic volcano has a significant role in Persian mythology as a symbol of resisting against foreign rule. Hence, Damavand found its way into old and new Persian Poetry and literature where it has been numerously cited. As mentioned in Shahnameh, the great epic poetry, the three-headed dragon was chained within Mount Damavand to remain until the end of the world.
Among professional climbers, Mount Damavand is an appealing mountain considered as the step to Himalaya. There are at least 16 known routes to the summit, with varying levels of difficulty. Some of them are dangerous and require rock climbing. Among those 4 routes are the most popular:
North east flank
The south route is Damavand’s most normal and easiest than other trails, ascending through which doesn’t need technical experience. There are shelters and huts on all the routes, however, the biggest and most important one is located on the South route called as Bargah Sevom. Check Mount Damavand Routes and photos.
Wind speed and storm in Mount Damavand is usually more than 100 km/h in winter, while this speed reduces to 50 km/h in summer. The winds are usually from the west and northwest of Damavand.
The annual rainfall is about 1,400 mm, which usually occurs in the form of snow in the upper parts of the mountain.
Due to the relative weather stability, greenery of the area and the abundance of water in the slopes, Mid June to mid September can be considered as the best and most attractive time to climb Damavand. From early October to the end of March, Mount Damavand has unstable winds and heavy snow, when there is no running water on the slopes, all that provides dangerous situation to ascend.
Good physical and health conditions is the main requirement for Damavand trekking. However, that is mandatory to have the experience of ascending up to 4000m. Due to its diverse climatic conditions, Damavand’s winter ascent should be done under the specific terms and conditions. Check Mount Damavand Routes and photos.
The best way for foreign tourists wishing to make this ascent is to get in touch with an Iran-based tour operator specializing in mountaineering to provide all the necessary requirements.
Ascending Damavand requires no special skills or abilities other than a good level of fitness and some altitude acclimatization. As mentioned above, there are several different routes to the summit but the southern flank is the most popular and probably the easiest one. It is reported that the last 300m to the summit is the most difficult where sulphurous gas often cannot be avoided, however you will be generously compensated by the breathtaking view from the summit. Mount Damavand is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful volcanoes.