a torpid volcano, with 5671 meters height, located in the northeast of Tehran, is famous for being the highest mountain in the Middle East. This mount while shaped like Mt Fuji is known as one of the most significant icons in Iran since not only being detectable from the streets of Tehran, one could find it anywhere else throughout the country; for instance it is inked in the Iranian 10.000-Rial-note, on the bottle of Damavand spring water and also a great number of other commercials. If the weather is pleasant the simplest attraction would be the amazing landscape around Damavand; the others would be the delicate hot springs for a soak close to Abgarm village, also there is skiing in Abali in the appropriate season. A great number of passengers passing through this way would have a skiing trip to climb the peak. The journey starts by going to the enormous comfortable Polour Mountain Complex with 2270 meters of height, there is a built CAFÉ by the Iran Mountaineering Federation, the best place to investigate prior to passing through the south and west routes. The climbing season is from June to September, or May to October for experienced climbers.
There exist 16 routes to Damavand, yet most people go through the classic southern route. In order to get information about the northern route, you should know that the English-speaking owners would be more than happy to talk to you, acknowledge you and hand you the guides of the way.
Technically, Damavand is actually a climb; walking up this mountain quickly is a perilous act because of some trivial problems like altitude sickness (watch for dizziness, headaches, nausea and swollen fingers) and much more important issues such as the possible eruption of the volcano, although it hasn’t been active in the last 7300 year, yet it still belches out sulphuric fumes from near the summit, strong enough to kill unfortunate stray sheep and ward off mountaineers.
Unavoidably for most first-timers is a payment of about US$ 550 for an all-inclusive (guide, transport, food, lodgings, donkey etc.), three-day tour from Tehran. The prices include a US$50 fee that foreigners must pay to Iran’s government in order to walk up the mountain and also a guide for a two-day climb would cost about US$200, 100 each day.
The greatest and facile way to climb this mountain is in three days, it is better to start at Polour Mountain Complex and go 11km by the road to Camp 2, proceeds trekking there to camp 3 or Base Camp; prior to going up more in the mountain, the climbers can find maps and details of different routes at www.damawand.de. Unfortunately one cannot find any water on the road or book any huts. Students from Tehran occupy there on Thursday nights and holidays. Actually, it is recommended to take a tent, sleeping bag and maybe a stove which you’d leave in camp in your final ascend. The weather in the peak is always extremely cold even in July and it can reach -10°C. It’s also better to fill your water bottles during the day for it would be frozen in the beginnings of the new day.
Climbing the peak doesn’t need any special equipment during the summer, especially in August, it doesn’t need any technical gear while it requires fitness, warm clothes and hiking boots for the loose rocks. Remember that the weather may change abruptly and there is always a chance of snowfalls; one shouldn’t spend a lot of time there, even in summer most people return from the summit in just one day.
It’s good to know that after the difficult adventure at Damavand, you could enjoy the hot springs that are located in the upper part of Abgarm village which is about 6km east of Rineh, where there are many hotels that are built around these hot springs. If you’re looking for a modern public complex your destination is Almase Shargh Spa Complex (East Diamond Spa Complex), which is open to men while women have to hire the place as a group. At the end for renting a room for a night where it’s better to ask around and you’ll find rooms around US$25 per night including breakfast, tea and a dip in a private hot spring bath.
The Polour Mountain Complex
which is managed by the Iran Mountaineering Association, is a huge utilitarian hostel that is known as the base camp for a lot of people who are aiming for the top of the mountain; its achromatic rooms consist of comfortable bunk beds. Wanting to take a shower at these hostels, you must pay an extra IR50.000, still if you have rent a room there, in which there are 6 bunk beds, you don’t need to pay more money for there is one in your room. These hostels don’t have any café but there’s a kitchen in which you can cook yourself. It is the place where foreigners must pay US$50 for the allowance to climb the mountain. The aforementioned association has also a smaller dormitory complex close to Rineh, o Kouhestan village
There is also a log-cabin style little restaurant which serves excellent Kababs, braised lamb shanks and vegetable dishes, and its manager is English-speaking mountaineer Amir. Walking up the hill to the top you’ll see it on the left as you enter the village; you’ll see the English sign and a grill outside; it is possible to stay there freely for a while regarding you pay for food and shower (IR100.000). He can also set up a house for up to five people in the village with dinner (IR120.000).
5 Reaching there
Taxi is the best and easiest way to reach Polour village and then the Polour Mountain Complex (IR2,000,000 chartered, two hours, 80km). Yet another way is to get on a bus for IR200.000 from Tehran’s Terminal-e Shargh and get off at Polour, and then take a local taxi to the camp.
More about Mountain Damavand on Wikipedia: Mountain Damavand
Mount Damavand’s Videos on youtube: Mount Damavand’s Videos