Mountains are the inseparable part of Iranian identity. Alborz and Zagros Mountains covering around 55 percent of Iran’s area are the two major ranges of Iran Plateau. The highest point in the plateau is Damavand Peak, known as the roof of Iran, where myth and reality are intertwined.
Climbing rocky and snowcapped mountains of Iran is perhaps the most popular adventurous activity among those visiting Iran. These climbing tours are the best opportunity to experience both Iranian nature and its intangible culture.
In this article I guide you through four highest mountains often featured in Iran climbing tours.
Having the highest peak (5671m) in Iran, Mount Damavand is a stratovolcano. This mountain located close to Tehran is also the highest peak in the Middle East. Every year many mountaineers travel to Iran just to climb Mount Damavand.
When is the best time to climb Mount Damavand?
Like almost all climbing tours, weather plays the most important role in planning.
The best time to climb Mount Damavand is June to mid-September. In this period, the weather is mild and accessing the base camp is easy. The route to the peak isn’t covered with heavy snow and the wind speed is agreeable.
Between October and mid-May due to heavy snow and extreme wind climbing is not recommended. But you can enjoy skiing in different ski resorts. For more information about skiing, read our guide to skiing around Tehran.
Which route to take to climb Mount Damavand?
There are four main routes to climb Mount Damavand. The most popular route is the southern one which is also the shortest and the easiest. Climbing normally will take 3 or 4 days. The southern face of Mount Damavand is easily accessible from Haraz Road. It takes about an hour (75 Km) from Tehran to the mountain foot. The first camp is in Polour (2270m). The second camp, Goosfandsara, is at the altitude of 3050m. The third and the last camp before the peak is Bargahe Sevom at a height of 4200m. Reaching the peak, you’ll head back to the third camp. The next day you’ll climb down the rest of the route.
Do you need a permit to climb Mount Damavand?
All foreign climbers intending to climb, hike, and/or ski in Mount Damavand area need to obtain a climbing permit from Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation. The permit fee is 50 dollars and it can be obtained at Polour camp.
The second highest mountain of Iran, Alamkouh, is 4850m high. Mount Alamkouh is a part of Alborz Mountains located close to picturesque village of Kelardasht.
The fame of Mount Alamkouh comes from its tall glacial wall of Takht-e Soleiman with 600m height. This wall is one of the most technical destinations for rock and wall climbing professionals.
When is the best time to climb Mount Alamkouh?
The best climbing season for Alamkouh is spring and summer from May until early September. However, because of mild weather, July and August are the best months.
Which route to take to climb Mount Alamkouh?
There are many routes from different faces of Mount Alamkouh to the peak. The most popular route is crossing Roudbarak Village with 4WD cars and heading to villages Vandarbon and Tang-e Galou. Then, the climbing will start to Hesar Chal Camp (4100m). Next day, you’ll climb up to the peak and then head back to Hesar Chal Camp. The last day you will climb down to Kelardasht or Marzanabad.
Do you need a permit to climb Mount Alamkouh?
The climbing permit costs 30 dollars for each climber. You’ll pay it in the shelter. Bear in mind that all Alborz Mountainous area is a protected area and no harm should come to the nature and wildlife.
The third highest mountain in Iran, Sabalan, is a dormant volcano located in Ardabil Province. Having 4811m height, Mount Sabalan is higher than Mont Blanc in the Alps.
Mount Sabalan is one of the most sacred places for Zoroastrians as they believe it is the place where Zoroaster prayed for a couple of years.
Besides the height, the fame of Mount Sabalan emanates from its charming crater lake and its dreamy view. There are also some hot springs on the way to the base camp attracting local and non-local travelers every year.
In spring and summer, you’ll meet nomads and shepherds on the way. These people superstitiously believe when the snow of Mount Sabalan melts completely, the world will end.
When is the best time to climb Mount Sabalan?
The best time to climb Mount Sabalan is late June to mid-August.
Which route to take to climb Mount Sabalan?
To climb Mount Sabalan, you may decide between one-day climbing tour and a two-day one. If you’re not fit and professional enough, the second choice is recommended.
For one-day climbing, you should head from Ardabil to the city of Meshkinshahr. You can visit hot springs of Meshkinshahr or you can go to the base camp directly. Then, you’ll climb up to the peak.
If you want to climb in two days, you can use the east shelter for an overnight stay. It’s located around 8Km from Shabil Village at an altitude of 3670m. You will start your climbing early in the morning and climb down before the evening.
Do you need a permit for climbing Mount Sabalan?
No permit is needed to climb Mount Sabalan.
Dena Mountain Range is located northwest of Shiraz and stretched far to Isfahan and Kohgiluyeh-Boyerahmad provinces. Bijan route divides Dena Mountains Range into eastern and southern parts.
The range include more than 40 peaks above 4,000m. The highest peak is “Bijan 3” or “Qash Mastan” with 4450m height.
When is the best time to climb Dena Mountains?
Mid-May to mid-September is the best time to climb Dena Mountains.
Which route to take to climb Dena Mountains?
The closest city to Dena mountain range is Sisakht City in Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad Province. To climb these peaks you need to pass apple gardens of Khafr village and continue climbing to the shelter (3000m) for an overnight stay. Next day, you’ll climb the giant Qash Mastan glacier and head to the decent view of the peak.
Do you need a permit for climbing Dena Mountains?
No permit is needed to climb Dena Mountains.
– Please be careful of having enough gears and lifesaving mountaineering equipment.
– Having a professional Iranian mountain guide is highly recommended.
– Do not forget to bring GPS tracker and navigation equipment.
– Mountaineering is a popular sport in Iran, avoid climbing on weekends if you don’t like the crowd. You’d better check the availability of shelters in advance.
– Avoid solo climbing. Join groups and other mountaineers especially from the last shelter to the peak and reverse.
– Please check the weather forecast before making any decisions.
Have you experienced climbing in Iran? Please let us know about it in below comments.