• Damavand
  • 5610 m
  • Primary factor 4667 m
  • Highest in Iran
  • Location: Between Tehran and the Caspian Sea.
  • Location: North 35:57.255, East 052:06.611 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2 (plus sulphur above 5000 meter)
  • Climbed August 14 2007


How to get there: The best source of information on Damavand is the web page updated and maintained by Mr. A. Soltani (alias Sherpa). He is a senior, experienced mountaineer with intimate knowledge of Damavand and all the logistics and infrastructure that any climber would need to know about. He replies reasonably fast to email (Sherppa@gmail.com) and is efficient and dependable.
Damavand is located in Iran about half-way between Tehran and the Caspian Sea. A major highway (the Haraz Road) passes through the small village of Polour, located at the base of Damavand. Therefore, first go to Polour. In Polour, there is a road fork with a side road going left across a bridge. There is a very easy to see statue of a montaineer pointing towards Damavand at this intersection. Take this road and follow it to your next important point, the Iranian Mountain Federation Polour Camp. I strongly recommend this as your point of departure for climbing Damavand. This building is located at N35:50.775, E052:03.603, elevation 2270 meter. Do not be discouraged by a closed gate. Open it and try knocking on the windows near the main entrance. You may then get the attention of the building manager that can assist you further. See the illustrated trip report. for more detailed and useful information.
Route description: An outline of the upper part of the route is given in this picture. From the Iranian Mountain Federation Polour Camp near Polour, one should organize transportation. One should continue along the paved road until the place where a 4WD road forks left and climbs to Base Camp. This intersection is located at N35:52.725, E052:07.267, elevation 2455 meter. One option, good for acclimatization purposes, would be to start the climb here. Alternatively, one can hire transportation by a 4WD vehicle and be driven to Base Camp. Base Camp is located at N35:54.099, E052:06.565, elevation 3040 meter. There is a shelter as well as a small store (mostly soft drinks) here. We slept without a tent on the concrete roof of the shelter, quite a good option.
From Base Camp, there is a very clear and distinct trail leading uphill to High Camp. The first half of the elevation gain is quite gentle, the second half climbs more steeply, but on a very good (YDS class 1) trail all the way. High Camp is located at N35:55.840, E052:06.527, elevation 4230 meter. Actually, the High Camp area is a bit stretched out with a clear difference (in height) between the lowest part and the highest part of camp. Near the top end, the construction of a larger mountain hut (Refuge) was well under way when we visited (August 2007).
From High Camp, the trail heads straight uphill from the new mountain hut, then climbs slightly right in order to gain the top of a pretty distinct ridge (see photo). This ridge is followed until it ends, at which point a short traverse across to a new distinct ridge further left continues the route. Follow this second ridge, also essentially until it ends. At this point, the terrain becomes less steep and the ground (in late summer!) is a mix of snowfields with patches of gravel/rocks. A slightly unusual problem (at most mountains!) is the presence of sulphuric (volcanic) gases. The intensisty of this problem obviously varies with the degree of volcanic activity as well as with the strength and direction of the wind in this area of the mountain. When we were there, most of the gas originated at a vent quite near the summit and the gas was pushed downslope in such a way that the route would have to cross through it.
As soon as one clears the sulphur gas area, the rest of the climb is a nice stroll on very gentle slopes to the highest point which is located along the rim of a rather small summit crater.
Comments: I did this climb with my son Pål Jørgen, age 18. We had climbed Ararat in Turkey just 5 days earlier and travelled over land via Maku and Tabriz to Tehran. There, we were met by Mr. A. Soltani (alias Sherpa). He drove us to Polour and helped organize the rest of our climb from there.
See the illustrated trip report. for many more pictures as well as a more detailed description of the climb.