Thursday, April 25, 2013

Damavand

Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, is a potentially active volcano located in south of Mazandaran province aka north of Tehran. Alborz mountain range separates the Caspian sea and the green part of Iran in the north from rest of country.
In this post I'm writing about how to ascend the summit from southern route which I succeeded in ascending through, companying some friends, in September 2012. My aim is helping you to ascend this summit on your own without spending money on guide. All you need is general information about trekking such altitudes.

Damavand peak, southern route

The best time is from May to September, rest of the year is not recommended to amateur hikers. This is at least three days project and If you choose weekends or holidays the route would be full of hikers. Before you leave the town be sure that you have sleeping bag, tent, proper warm cloths, head lamp, enough food for couple of days, stove, dishes, tissues, Vitamins, curd(protein supply), whistle, water for one day and camera in your pack. Some of them are available to hire or buy but don't risk it. If you're ready let's start.

First part, First day

Three major sections make your trek, First section takes a whole day. The nearest city to Damavand is Polour with 70 km distance from Tehran. You can ask anybody for "Polour Mountainous Complex", last station for your car or taxi.

Around the complex ask for best price and bargain, no matter how much they ask for a ride to "Goosfand Saraa", where you start your trekking. If your team is less than 8 guys, it's better to get a vehicle with roof instead of pick-ups.

Before letting your ride leave, ask his phone number for your return. Drivers are generally honest guys and are normally on time but in case try to keep some money to make him come pick you up without any hypothetical problem. Goosfand-Saraa is a nice place to have your breakfast and get ready to start. If you leave Goosfand-Saraa at 10am and progress in a normal pace you will reach the "Bargah-e-sevvom" aka "Third station" at 4 pm in the same day. This place is where you set up your tent, having a light meal, enjoy the sunset and then go to a deep sleep after a tough day.
Important: Bargah-e-sevvom is about 4200m height so be careful about Altitude sickness.


Second part, Summit

It's better to start at 3 or 4 in the morning. As soon as you wake up, you're going to enjoy the splendid, dazzling sky with numerous sparkling stars. Everywhere is dark and quiet and you need your head lamps to find your way toward the summit. You'll find that the steep increases and breathing get more difficult so reduce your pace and manage your energy. That's why you should leave all your stuff at the Third station camp and just bring some light weight but strong nutrition, water and enough cloths. After couple of hours the sun coms up and you'll see the Icefall, frozen fall for all year long at 5100m height.
Every step you get closer to the peak, you smell more sulfur.
 
Continue, hit the peak. Smoke wouldn't let you spend more than half an hour up there. Take your photos, enjoy your accomplishment and feel the power of nature under your feet. When you're done, take the same way back to the camp. Be careful, that's possible you choose another route back and you get lost. so I insist, Take the same way back. You'll make it at 2 or 3 pm and you'll be back at the camp at 5 or 6 pm. Enjoy talking to people about your accomplishment and have a hot soup :D

Last part, Back to civilization

You've spent a night having a deep unbreakable sleep. It's time to leave, pack your stuff, call the driver and start heading Goosfand-saraa. When you arrive at Goosfand-saraa, driver is waiting for you. If you have your own car at the parking, you should take your car but if not, ask the driver to take you to a small village named "Rineh". You can spend another night there renting a villa in a reasonable price and enjoy natural remedial pools. 
 
I tried my best but please search and read more. Have fun.

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