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Alam Kooh
Mountain/Rock

Alam Kooh

 
Alam Kooh

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Mazandaran, Iran, Asia

Lat/Lon: 36.37536°N / 50.96128°E

Object Title: Alam Kooh

County: Kelardasht, Sehezar

Activities: Hiking, Bouldering, Ice Climbing, Big Wall, Mixed, Scrambling

Season: Summer

Elevation: 15912 ft / 4850 m

 

Page By: nomad

Created/Edited: Jul 2, 2001 / May 22, 2007

Object ID: 150420

Hits: 38183 

Page Score: 95.41%  - 53 Votes 

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Overview

Click for Introduction to Central Alborz Mountains
Click for Introduction to Takhte Soleyman Massif
Click for Nader's map of Takhte Soleyman Massif

North wall (right) - the left wall and peak is one of the Shakhak horns:
[by]
 
Notes

Alam Kooh is the second highest peak in Iran ! (Damavand(5671m) is the first and Sabalan(4811m) is the third).

Alam Kooh is sometimes been written as : "Alamkouh", "Alamkoh", "Alamkuh", "Alamkooh" or "Alam kouh".
Alam
means some sort of object standing straight like a flag and Kooh means mountain.

The north face (a little toward north-west) is actually a giant vertical wall. This wall and impression of climbing it, is what makes Alamkooh famous and demanded for Iranian climbers, these are some correct details about the wall :

There is a glacier names "Alamchal" at the base of the north face that slightly rises up to about 4200m.
Then there is about 150m~200m very steep glacier (nearly vertical).
And the wall rises up about 450m vertical granite rock up to the summit !

There are some rumors about this wall, one is "Alam Kooh wall is the tallest wall of Iran..." but  I have to say these are some walls which stand taller than Alam Kooh's wall: "Dorfak 850m", "Yafteh 850m" and "Bistoon 1200m"
the other rumor is that "Alam Kooh wall is about 800m tall...".

Anyway Alam Kooh wall fame is not for being the tallest wall of Iran and it isn't, but the fame is for being the wall having the highest altitude at base and peak I mean no other wall in Iran is located on a higher place than Alam Kooh wall.
 

History
The Takht-e-Soleiman region was unknown until 1933. Douglas Busk, a British mountaineer, discovered and surveyed the area. Later on, Busk along with Professor Bobek made a detailed survey of this area. In 1936 the north-west ridge (called Germans flank) of Alam Kooh was climbed for the first time by German mountaineers, which was considered a great achievement among European climbers.
 
Topography and location

Alam Kooh is the tallest needle located at the heart of Takht-e-Soleiman massif, actually at the joint point of the following ridgelines:

Surrounded by:

  • 1 Alamchal glacier from north

  • 2 Split glacier from west

  • 3 Khersan glacier from south between Alam Kooh, Khersan and Marjikesh

  • 4 Marjikesh glacier from south between Marjikesh and Siahsang

General information
Geological map of Iran it shows that Alam Kooh is mainly made of tertiary intrusive rocks; granite and diorite. Some Triassic and Jurassic sediments are also found.

The gigantic rocky block in the heart of Takht-e-Soleiman massif makes a one km long ragged east-west running ridgeline that is entirely above 4700m, the western one quarter of the ridgeline makes the Alam Kooh section including the 4850m Alam Kooh peak, and the eastern part makes five horn shaped peaks known as Shakhak#1~ Shakhak#5, the north face of this block creates vertical walls of Alam Kooh and Shakhak (there is a perfect 350m wall under the summit of  Shakhak#5 sometimes it can be seen even more impressive than Alam Kooh wall in some pictures) which have the height range between 350m and 600m(including steep glacier).

Climbing
Alam Kooh via all north routes are class five high altitude technical climbs which need hard struggling with rock, ice and rock falls but the southern slopes of Alam Kooh and the Shakhaks are steep covered with boulders and/or scree and they form  Khersan and Marjikesh glaciers. the southern routes are easy class three climbs at summer.
Anyway climbing Alam Kooh by any route at winter is difficult and technical.
 
Routes Introduce
Route name Difficulty Notes
Aid  USA
Harry Rhost  Amir Alaie A1  5.11b-c Opened 1963 by German Harry Rhost and Iranian Amir Alaie - starts from the left funnel of the wall, vertically goes up-left, passes 2 caps ...
French A1 5.11b Opened 1966 by a French team - from mid Rhost-Alaie traverses into the big funnel toward middle of the wall and continues to the peak
Polish 48 A2 5.11 Opened 1969 by a Polish team, heads to the top from the right part of the wall
Polish 1350 Great couloirs ? ? Opened 1971 - heads up from the middle funnel of the wall, not climbed again because of it's bad situation and serious rock falls
Polish 1352 A3 5.9 Opened 1973 - 95%artifical climb, heads up straight from middle of the wall to the summit passing two caps
Irainians route ? ? Opened by 2 Irainian teams between Germans flank and Polish route
Arash A2 5.9 Opened 1982~1984 by Arash team 420m, artificial climb except first pitch
Anjoman A2 5.8 Opened 2000 by Arash & Damavand teams the route is 250m long
Italian 1380 ice water fall ? ? Opened 2001 by two Italians climbers in 4 days
Kermanshah ? ? 1988~200 by a Kermanshaian team Left to Rhost-Alaie on the third face of the wall
Hamedaiha ? ? Variant route
Nejah  ? ? Variant route
Oraul ? ? Variant route
Shokooh ? ? Variant route
Hamedan 67 ? ? Variant route
Hamedan 68 ? ? Variant route
Abeshkhan traverse ? ? Variant route
Germans flank ? 5.9 Technical rock climb on the north-west flank, still the easiest technical climb on Alam Kooh
Siah Sangha     The easiest route to the summit from north face. Ice, snow and conditions may still make it a technical climb.From Alam Chal Glacier (4200m) go up the steep scree slope to the Chaloon(Siahsang) pass (4400m) climb up to Siah Sang Peak(4604m) by the  steep rocky ridge, make your way until you are on the southern slopes, bypass Shakhaks and reach Alam Kooh peak
Hesarchal (south) via Marjikesh Class III The easiest route to Alam Kooh and Shakhak peaks, there is no technical involvement with the rocks. from Hesarchal climb up Marjikesh(4580m) - Shakhaks - Alam Kooh
Hesarchal (south) Via Khersan ? Not known as a normal route but some1 said he had climbed it, from Hesarchal climb Gardounkoon to south Khersan, by passing the rotten rocky Khersan sub peaks to north Khersan(4710m) is the dangerous part , then climb Shakhaks - Alam Kooh
 
See Nader's four exelect shots of Alam Kooh north and south faces (Alam Kooh Shakhak #1 page)

Looking west to Alam Kooh summit:
[by]

I like it when it comes to views that show a peak in it's most precious face, pictures taken from outside of the mountain and views that everyone can see, about Alamkooh unlike the 3964m Tochal that is viewable from almost every possible and even impossible place Alamkooh peak can only be seen from very far high places as the tallest point in a vast massif, It's hard to see Alamkooh clearly from Kelardasht and nearby areas, bellow is one of those rare chances, this picture is too small to give the feelings, unlike most soft Iranian peaks that look easy, looking at these peaks from Kelardasht, they look like fearsome ragged granite monsters specially the black giant Alamkooh wall that is out of snow:

Jan 2005: Siahkaman(4472m) middle - Alamkouh(4850m) is the black stone behind Siahkaman - Germans flank - Shanehkouh(4465m) and a portent electricity wire I forgot to remove with Photoshop.

 

Getting There

Vandorbon [this is for the recommended and traditional climbs to see all climbing ways in start point section of Takht-e-Soleiman massif page] Tehran -> Karaj (by a 30Km highway) -> Karaj-Chalous road 24Km before Chalous at Marzanabad village turn left toward Kelardasht -> Hasankif -> Roudbarak village(1400m) ->  at the end of Roudbarak there is a dirt road, after about  8Km(40minutes by car) it reaches Vandarbon(2100m) now choose to climb south face or  north face :
 
South face Enter the route to Sarchal glacier (right branch, anyway a sign there shows the way)
North Wall Enter the route to Hesarchal (left branch, anyway a sign there shows the way)


Red Tapes and Regional Hints

The whole Alborz mountains area and it's wild nature is a protected place, hunting, fishing and abusing the nature is prohibited
No fees of permission is required for climbing or camping
No problem  for camping but avalanche danger and rockfalls !

Karaj-Chalous road becomes 1way at 6.30pm on summer Fridays and Iranian holidays so cars can only drive to Tehran.

Numerous rock falls and avalanches, frostbite, getting lost, wild animals... ! so get enough prepared and informed about the region by the locals specially at 'Roudbarak Iran Federation of Mountaineering Hotel(IFM)' or hire a local to come with you.
Report your entrance to the region and the time you want to spend on the massif to the 'Roudbarak Iran Federation of Mountaineering Hotel (IFM)' or the locals before performing a climb, so they would send rescue if you are late. get enough details from them too !

When to Climb

Best June to October.
Photography Always.
Summer Ideal for climbing and camping be ware of the rockfalls.
Winter Climbing Alamkooh in winter by each route is hard and dangerous.

Mountain Conditions

Summer (June-October) Some years like 2005 June is still winter for Alamkooh, and winter conditions still appear like deep snow, snow falls and coldness.
Weather is clear, isolated thunderstorms occur, precipitation will be snow or sleet in high elevations.
Even precipitation in summer may cause avalanche, numerous rock falls occur all the day and serious rock falls occur sometimes (specially on Germans flank) and they will last for minutes with a fearsome crashing sound.
Winter Heavy snow, frequent snow storms + wild wind that usually continue 7~10 days, very low temperature specially on the north side.



West face of Alamkooh and Takht-e-Soleiman massif.



A fine picture showing Takht-e-Soleiman massif south face, early spring. Alamkooh is the highest point in the center.
Picture taken at Dizin Ski resort "Upper parking" (3200m) and about 80Km far.

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