I just got back from my climb at Damavand early this morning after four days of climbing. I was expecting an easy climb after reading about the mountain, but things turned out way different and it was a fantastic but demanding experience. The mountain is located 80km northeast from Tehran so we took a bus to a small town just close to the mountain. The bus did not stop at the small town since we only told the driver three times where we wanted to get off . We managed to get a ride back to the town and then started walking towards basecamp with all our gear. Nearly all climbers take a taxi or a jeep to the basecamp (3000 meters) and then start the climb from there. We decided to hike to basecamp ourselves, pitch the tent and then push to high camp (4200 meters) the day after.[SinglePic not found]
After walking for around two hours we ended up in a thunderstorm with heavy rain and strong winds, but we decided to keep going for another three hours since we were expecting to find the basecamp after around 4-5 hours. At 20.00 we had still not reached the basecamp so we decided to pitch the tent and keep going early in the morning.[SinglePic not found] [SinglePic not found] [SinglePic not found]
In the morning a shepherd was driving by our tent and asked if we wanted to hitch a ride to basecamp which was just over the hill (2km) from where we pitched the tent, so we happily accepted, but instead of taking us to the south basecamp he dropped us of at the west side of the mountain. Instead of backtracking to the south basecamp we decided to try and climb over the west ridge up to 4300 meters of altitude and then cross over to the south high camp at 4200 meters.[SinglePic not found]
The climb over the west ridge was very steep and the whole side was covered in loose rock and small stones that created small rockslides and made it painstakingly slow to climb. We also had all the gear and food with us which weighed in at around 25kg each. After four hours we came up to 4300 meters and thought we had just one more crossing to do before making it to high camp, but instead of an easy ledge it was a 20 meter drop, so we had to climb down to 3700 meters again and cross another ridge and then continue up to 4300 meters again. On the way down to 3700 meters we were once again hit by a thunderstorm and the temperature dropped quite heavily. After climbing for seven hours we pitched the tents around 1km from the high camp.
Two hours after leaving our camp in the morning we found the high camp and could start preparing for the climb to the summit (5610 meters).[SinglePic not found] [SinglePic not found]
After cooking some tea and eating some food we started our climb to the summit. There were quite a few other people at high camp that started climbing at the same time as we did. The first two hours of the climb was in darkness and I could see the distance from the people climbing behind me increase more and more.
At around 6am the sun came up and the view was amazing![SinglePic not found]
The air started getting a lot thinner, but I kept a high pace towards the summit and I was almost alone since the other climbers were a few hours behind.
The last 500 meters before the summit was hard work and the breathing was very heavy. I kept pushing and at 09am I was standing on the summit! Fantastic feeling!
After reaching the summit I was hit by an extreme level of exhaustion. I had climbed to the summit at a very high pace and really pushed myself as much as I could. My quick ascent really drained all my energy. Only a couple of minutes after I had started climbing down from the summit I started feeling weak and tired and had a very hard time to even walk. The decent down to high camp took me equally as long as my climb up to the summit had taken. After reaching the tent at high camp I literally collapsed in my sleeping bag for a couple of hours before heading down to basecamp, which was another few hours walk. At basecamp we took a ride with one of the local guides and slept at his house until 07.00 and then we headed back to Tehran.
Tonight I will start heading towards Mashad and will enter Turkmenistan on Wednesday September 3. I only received a 5 day transit visa for Turkmenistan and the distance from the Turkmenistan border to Uzbekistan is 530km, so I will have to cycle at a steady pace for the next few days until I have crossed the Turkmenistan desert and headed into Uzbekistan. My next post will be from Uzbekistan.
More photos are available in the Damavand album.
Take care everyone!
- Back in shape, mountain climbing and Esfahan
- In Iran after many mountain passes and severe food poisoning in Armenia