Mt. Damavand Climb (5671m)
A trek to Iran's highest peak
One of the most accessible 5000-meter mountains on the planet nested in a distinctive cultural milieu. Superb trekking, unique cultural experience in a just 8 days!
You’re looking at a big mountain that’s probably the fastest and easiest to climb 5000er in the world. With a basecamp just a couple hours from the international airport of Tehran, Mt. Damavand is a lesser known destination, but certainly rapidly growing in popularity.
In this short and intensive 7-day adventure, you scale the highest peak of Persia (Iran) and get a taste of the craziest city in Iran. If you’re interested in Iran’s cultural radiation and would like to wander throughout the country after your climb, let us know.
Is this trip for you?
Day 1: Arrive in Tehran – Approach the Mountain and Hike to Camp 1
Early morning, your guide is waiting for you at the airport/at your hotel in Tehran. A minibus takes you to Reyneh, 90 km from Tehran. From here, a 2-3 hour long walk will make your day, after which you arrive at a picturesque mosque with a golden dome, right next to which you’ll see an ugly concrete house. Well, that’s gonna be your shelter for the evening. The elevation is 2700 meters, so you may experience some fatigue, light headaches. Take a nice big stroll in the afternoon and drink lots of water!
Local sheperds will be around, from whom you can buy excellent goat-cheese. With other trekkers around at the refuge from all over the world, you’re guaranteed to have a good time tonight.
Day 2: Camp 2, 4200 Meters
You wake up to a crispy morning and you’re eyeing the target – the humongous, near-6000-metre dome up above your camp. You’re taking it slow, as you have a 1000 meters to climb today and you want to save your energy for a few more days. No need to hurry now.
You’re moving on a rocky trail that winds through the scarce vegetation, which changes slowly as you’re pumping out the vertical meters.
The refuge at 4200 meters will be packed with mountaineers and that very special atmosphere that comes along with happy climbers. You can assist in cooking dinner, you can stroll a bit further up the mountain and get water for the following day. In the morning, the hose which brings glacier water to Camp 2 will be frozen. You can stay in the refuge which has bunk beds or you can stay in one of our tents, which is less crowded and less smelly 🙂
Day 3: Acclimatisation for the Big Damavand Climb Tomorrow
Interesting and fun day ahead! Your aim is to get to 5000 meters today. No need to start super early, but we will leave before 7 AM to allow you plenty of rest afterward your hike. Today, as you’re nearing the top third of the volcano, the trail gets steeper, snowier and colder. Nothing technically demanding, though.
Again, the reggae mentality will take you the farthest: take it easy and slow. You’re not here for any speed records but for acclimatisation.
Day 4: Summit push: Climbing Damavand, 5671 Meters
It’s wakey-wakey around 5-6 AM. And, as such, it’s still rather dark. The sunrise compensates for the difficulty, though! Damavand is by far the tallest peak in the surroundings, so you’ll be in for an exceptionally beautiful view.
It should take around 7-8 hours to summit Mount Damavand. Don’t worry if it’s hard! It’s just a sign to push some more, because sulfur escaping from the dormant volcano is irritating – and it’s best to get away from. On the summit, it’s euphoria! A memorable climb, truly unforgetable, no matter how many summits you climb. You deserve a 30 minute rest, but after that it’s time to return – there’s a special treat waiting for you at the bottom of the hill… At the foot of the mountain, there is a natural thermal spa where you can soothe the pain in your tired legs.
For many people, descending is very tough on the knees, so a significant effort is required to get back to Camp 1. A well deserved rest, big dinner and party time with fellow mountaineers are due.
Day 5: Reserve day for bad weather / Larijan:
Here’s a day in reserve in case the weather goes bad on us or if your first attempt was unsuccessful. Otherwise, you stroll back to the valley and visit Larijan, Damavand’s best thermal spring. Taking a bath in the basin of hot minaral water of Larijan will make you forget about all the exhaustion of the climb. 🙂 (Don’t forget your swimming suit; this is not a nudist spot!)
Day 6: Getting Back to Tehran
Take some time in the morning. No need to hurry now, especially after yesterday’s big hike and 3 AM rise. We get on the bus and head back to Tehran, where you can do whatever you please.
Day 7: Tehran – or Fly Home
Depending on your flight schedule, take some time exploring the city with Daniel, your friendly guide – or on your own. If your flight is due to leave today, then we’ll help you get to the airport.
Equipment and Info
By the time of the arrival, your guide will ask the team to give approx. 550 USD per person to the hands of the local guide, which amount may differ to some degree. This price will cover the cost of the trekking package, which includes the climbing permissions, local guide fee, local transports and transfers etc.
Although Tehran can get really hot in the summer, up to 40-45 Celsius degrees, Damavand’s elevation will come as a relief, temperature-wise. Even a bit chilly, we must add. The temperature drops below freezing point at 4200 at night and the climb above the last camp can be cold and windy. Be prepared for -10 to -15 Celsius on the morning of the summit climb.
- Hiking boots (broken in) – read our tips on the ideal pair of boots here
- Hat, 2 pairs of gloves (thin and warm)
- Hiking pants
- Water resistant jacket and pants
- Hiking pole
- 2 warm fleece sweaters
- Sunscreen, lip protection and sun-hat
There is no need to bring shorts or tiny skirts – you cannot wear them in this country. Bring a light, breezy pair of pants.
You are visiting a country with a very special – and for Westerners, unusually strict – Islamic culture, conduct and customs. Here is what to keep in mind: long pants for gentlemen, scarf for ladies at all times, even on lower regions of the mountain. The scarf can be any color and material as long as it covers your hair. For you ladies, a long sleeve shirt is highly recommended to avoid ridiculing stares. Please respect these basic rules.
Here are some other customs:
- Western women can talk to anyone and can shake hands with men as well. Western men can only shake hands with Persian (Iranian) women if she initiates. Men can flirt with women as long as they’re in a smaller group. However, private conversations are forbidden. As a basic rule, men shouldn’t touch Iranian women.
- It’s customary to reject favors and invitations three times. If you’re offered the favor for the fourth time, you should accept. Exceptions: tea and smaller favors.
- Money isn’t everything! If you’re shopping, do engage in the conversation with the shopkeeper about where you’re coming from etc. It’s rude to ask about the price right away.
- Iranians are very interested in the West, and in you. If you show them pics from home, give them postcards, and just chat with them, they’ll be extremely happy.
- When getting into a taxi, be sure to get crystal clear on the destination and the price. Otherwise, they’ll rip you off in the end.
- If you get into trouble, just start shouting. In no time, a crowd will form around you and they will take your side (and do justice to the other party) – Iranians love tourists. They are among the most hospitable people in the world.
- Bring a photocopy of your passport and visa with you to town. If a cop asks for your papers, give him the photocopy first – just in case they aren’t entirely friendly and benign, it’s better to keep the original passport on you and give him a photocopy instead.
- Alcohol and drugs are strictly forbidden in this country. Both are easy to obtain, but if you are found possessing or using them, you risk serious fines, jail and in extreme cases, a death penalty. We cannot take responsibility for you in this respect. Save the beers (and the joint) for celebrating your climb at home.
You can buy basic food, drinks, chocolate bars in the mountain hut (20-25 USD/day is more then enough); however, it’s recommended to bring some more with you, because the supply is a bit dull. Also bring plastic bottle or camelback for water.
The most popular food on the street is the sandwich. This can be kebab or falafel. If you’re a hard core try-it-all, you have your pick of hot-dog, liver and brain-filled sandwitches. We haven’t yet dared try the latter.
You won’t be disappointed with local food. If your a veggie, it’s a bit more difficult, but you can get along fine. Forget alcohol and go for fruit shakes, among which – in our opinion – watermelon ice-shakes are the peak of fine gastronomy. There are all the Coke imiations too: Farsi-Cola, Zamzam-Cola, Mecca-Cola. You’ll get to drink a bunch of tea, too. Bottled water can be purchased almost everywhere.
Get some practical advice on Mountain Food so you maximize your performance – here.
We recommend a low-cost, simple but clean hotels in Tehran or a hostel. If you aim for a higher level of comfort, we’ll get you a finer place! Just let us know.
The currency here is the Rial (IRR). For 1 Euro, you can get about 33-34 IRR.
Bring Euro with you, rather than USD greenbacks. They like Euro better. Forget ATMs, as most of them only take Iranian-issued cards.