Mount Damavand, Iran
flickr image by Mountain Partnership

Mount Damavand, Iran


Iran’s tallest mountain, and the highest peak in western Asia, is located in the Alborz Mountain range not far from the sprawling capital Tehran, close to the Caspian Sea. Damavand is in fact a volcanic mountain extending at its highest point to over 4,600m, and although it is technically dormant, it has seen increased volcanic activity in recent years. The thermal springs at the base of the mountain attest to the fact that there is still volcanic lava below the surface, although there is no record of the volcano having ever erupted in recorded history.

Mount Damavand

The mountain is also the largest in the Middle East and boasts a number of different routes of ascent, some more tricky and dangerous than others. These include the approach from the west, which boasts some beautiful views and sunrises, as well as the relatively easy and often-frequented approach from the southern side, which includes a camp half way up. There is also the longer and slightly trickier north-eastern approach, which takes over two days to reach the summit.

Mount Damavand Travel

flickr image by MastaBaba

Damavand is a popular and much loved mountain amongst local people, and features heavily in ancient and modern poetry and culture, songs, and also the banknotes of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This has been the case throughout the history of the country, and the mountain is perceived amongst locals as having more significance to national heritage than the ancient city of Persepolis. The mountain also holds some very popular hot springs, which are famous for their healing properties and frequented by locals in a bid to alleviate many symptoms of common illnesses.

Mount Damavand is particularly picturesque, with a permanent white snowy cap visible throughout the year. Those climbing to the summit will benefit from beautiful views over the other peaks in the Alborz region, as well as the countryside beyond to the Caspian Sea.

Starting from Parlour, the ascent should take about five days, allowing for adequate time to acclimatise to the higher altitudes. The climb can be attempted by those with little experience as long as they are properly prepared for the climb and understand the importance of doing everything possible to deal with the possible altitude sickness.

Skiing is also, of course, possible on the slopes of Damavand, as are other winter sports, including snow boarding. Summer walks are popular, as are hikes, and Iranian families enjoy picnicking on the lower slopes of the mountain as early as Nowruz, the Persian New Year, as well as attempting more extreme sports such as paragliding and rock climbing.

The mountain is in current shortlist for one of the Seven Wonders of Asia, due to its beauty and prominence in local folklore, as well as its interesting shape. The mountain was first scaled in 1837 by W. Thomson and has been a particularly popular attraction ever since. The most popular months for climbing the mountain are late July through to September, when conditions are perfect for the best panoramas of the area.

Date posted: 26th August, 2017

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