With an altitude of 5670m Mount Damavand is the highest mountain of Iran and of the entire region until the Himalayas. Located in the Alborz mountain range to the north of Tehran it is also the highest volcano in the whole of Asia. Mt Damavand is dormant with no recorded eruptions in human history, but still has some activity in the form of sulphureos emissions near the summit. From a distance Mt Damavand looks a bit like Mount Fuji in Japan because of its conical shape.
Mt Damavand is a popular climbing destination, due to its easy accessibility and the fact that the trail to the summit is free of snow in the summer months. A number of routes to the summit exist, of which the southern one is the easiest one and can be completed in two or three days. On a two-day program climbers spend the night before the climb at altitude either in Polur (2200m), Reineh (about 2000m) or in camp 2 (the Goosfand Sara base camp
). The next day climbers proceed to camp 3 (the Bargah Sevom camp
) at 4200m of altitude. After an additional night at altitude climbers start early in the morning, typically around 5am, for the summit climb. The summit is usually reached in 5-6 hours, i.e. before noon. After a short break the descent starts around noon and climbers usually are back at camp 3 by 3pm. Climbers then have the option of staying one more night at camp 3, which makes sense if the summit climb took longer than expected and climbers only returned to camp 3 late in the afternoon or if climbers are very tired. Otherwise climbers leave camp 3 by 5-6pm at the latest in order to reach camp 2 before dark. The descent from camp 3 to camp 2 is doable in two hours.
A certain level of fitness is required, because beyond 3800m the air is very thin and there is the risk of suffering from altitude sickness. A special breathing technique is necessary at altitude, especially if climbers are not fully acclimatised. It is advisable to do the climb with somebody who has already done it and has experience at high altitudes. The climb is not technically difficult, the only challenges are the high altitude, combined with the strong sun, sometimes strong wind, dry air, dust in the air and the trail which in large parts consists of loose rocks and even sand.