In Kordish Parau means full of water. This incomparable cave is located in Kermanshah province, 12km from Krmanshah city on the North east. Parau is calling cavers and speleologists to take their chance and make a try. Parau needs more skills than rappling, climbing and caving. There you will need not only fitness but also much of strength. It wont be a program taking just a few hours. You should be prepared for hard work for hours and hours. There have been teams in the cave for more than a week even. Thats what Parau is.
Foreign Teams In Parau
" Everst of the world caves" thats what John Middleton said about Parau when he and his team discovered and explored it for the first time in 1971.
The story was that middleton and some other scientists became ciorious about Kuh-e-Parau Massif to find out if there were caves in there after they saw the world war 2 army maps of the area. They started a search in the area and after so much patience atlast found the worthful Parau. The miracle of nature which Kazem Faridian Iranian great mountaineer calls "treasure of beauties". They went down for 700 meters and came back. The cave was explored to the bottom next year by Judson and his team.
David Judson published his book about Parau in 1973(Ghar Parau). There he says "The Zagross Mountains have a great speleological potential and are barely explored. They preserve an interesting challenge for the next generation of speleologists".
Iranian Teams In Parau
Iranians first attempt was in 1991. From that time there have been many attempts by the Iranians. Some successful and some not.
The worst thing that happened during these years was the loss of two young cavers in a program. Losing concentration after more than 36 hours being down there made a technical mistake happen and we all know what happens next.
They are both immortaly beloved by all Iranian mountaineers. After this bad loss Iranian teams worked on improving their tachnical skills more seriously and therefore the success rate has been getting better not only in Parau but also in all caving programs in Iran.
Parau is located in Kuh-e-Parau Massif about 250 meters lower than the summit of Sheikh Ali Khan(3357m). It's 1454 meters long and 752.5 meters deep.
As It's Located in Zagross Range and there is water flow in the cave the temperature is mostly between 1-5c. This is the temperature in the exploring season(Summer-Fall) and may be a few degrees lower in winter while the area is very cold.
" Parau is not a place for you to choose, it chooses you ". Thats what Mohammad Noori Iranian mouontaineering master said about Parau on the memorial film of Victoria Kianinejhad and Ali Ahmadi.
After the first easy 120 meters Tang-e-Gelkhizeh will tell you if you are fit for Parau or not. The size is 30*40 cm. If you pass this and the rest few meters after it swarming in mud then you have the least skills for Parau. You are ready to get wet, get hurt, get cold and atlast look all brwon.
Depth of the pits differs between 6m(pit4&7) to 42m(pit16). Between the pits there are all kinds of paths to pass and the combination of these with the pits makes Parau a cave that needs all caving and rappling techniques.
The longest time a team has been in the cave was 12 days by an Iranian team and the record belongs to Yousef Sourinia the most experienced man in Parau who went to the bottom and came back in less than 11 hours!(I dont like making recodrs in any kind of mountaineering action).
Inside The Cave
While you are going down in Parau you should keep in mind that you have to spare enough energy to get out of there. 26 pitches should be ascended by rappling techniques while in some of them cold water pours on you. Water makes working with the rope harder and also makes you cold. You need to rest sometimes while you should be careful not to spend much time resting because you may not be able to get warm again!
Places and pits have all been named and some names really make sense. First pitch is called the Golden Waterfall. The third is called eroica(37m)(Beethoven's third symphony meaning hero) because of the music of water in there. Jaws of the Hell, Vicoria's Shaft, Ferdowsi st. and many other names either say something about the place or the feeling of cavers about it.
Going there you should be really prepared, mentaly and physically. Just in pitches 5, 15 and 18 there are places for resting(sleeping or taking a nap). So you should be able to ascend 752 meters with Jumar and Etrier beside the classic cave paths you should pass while not sleeping for hours and hours. Thats challenging!
Maybe I'll go there one day but sure not untill I am ready. I should really work hard for that as a goal.
Plan Of Parau
unfortunately I couldn't find any better plan of Parau. This is the best I found. I'll try to contact with Mr Faridian and Mr Noori to find a better plan.
This plan is from speleology committee of Mountaineers Center in Iran. All the red texts on the plan are either added or translated by me. Also the Farsi words have been removed.
Is Parau Longer?
Maybe the 752.5 meters is not the deepest place of Parau. There might be more way to go but scubadiving equipment is needed to find that out. Who knows maybe one day this guess becomes true.
Dear friends who read this and have been in this cave or have any information will be really appreciated to share their information and help making this better.