Hiking on Mount Damavand

 

This Friday and Saturday, while my daughters spent time with my parents in Tehran, I joined some relatives for a hike on Mount Damavand.

We started with a drive from Tehran to the village of Reyneh, where we left the car at a station sponsored by Iranian Mountaneering Federation. (See DamavandIran for more on this mountaineering station in Reyneh.) The station is run by Mr. Reza Faramarzi who is also a physical education teacher at a Reyneh public school. The station is operated primarily in the summer time. Faramarzi has worked with the station for some 40 years. According to him, up to about 30 years ago, most attempts at Damavand's summit would start at the Reyneh station. The station offers a place to rest and acclamate before the Land Rover ride to Damavand's commonly used southern trail head.

On Friday, we took (an Iranian-made) Land Rover to Ghoosfand Sara (Sheep's Home) at the trail head.

We rented some mules there to take our larger bags forward and started our hike at about 10:30 am arriving at the shelter some 1200 meters higher at about 5 pm. The elevation at the shelter was 4215 meters. Someone in Tehran had recommended that I should try to hike some more 500 meters higher before returning to the shelter. I tried this but the sun began to set and I only could make it to about 4450 meters before returning to the shelter.

The night sleep at the shelter was not very pleasant. We were all very uncomfortable and unable to get enough sleep. We also had some trouble with the elevation and had left some of our food back in Tehran. At about 3 am, on Saturday, we decided that we would not make the attempt for the summit. In the morning, at about 8:30 am, we were ready to return to the trail head. We left our packs at the shelter for the mules to return to Ghoosfand Sara and loaded our day packs with more than enough food and water for the 1200 meter descent, which took us from 9 am to about 1:30 pm. Ghoosfand Sara has a very basic shelter where we waited a bit for our Land Rover ride to arrive. We then rode our car through Reyneh back to the Haraz highway to Tehran, arriving at 6 pm.

So, although we left the actual attempt at the summit (some 1400 meters further up from the shelter) for another day and returned on Saturday, the hike and the elevation experience (literally, the head aches) were well worth it.

Notes:

  • For a detailed account of a climb and ski adventure from the top of Mount Damavand by Dusan Golubic and Matjaz Roter, see here.
  • A description of Mount Damavand as a ski mountaineering objective can be found here.


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