Note ! Still under construction, the pictures and information are raw, diagram maps are not included yet.
Before talking about Zardkooh lets see where it is located at, in a major scope. Iran has two main large mountain ranges Alborz and Zagros, Alborz includes the most higher peaks of the land and stands as a east-west strip at north, but Zagros mountains have a different profile and shape, a much more vast north-west to south-east mountain range that covers the whole west part of the country, any way as you can even see in the SP Alborz mountains are the most known and introduced. That's probably because Alborz range is near the capital Tehran and under the Caspian shore, where more people, climbers and tourists travel.
The Zagros mountains are the major mountain system of western Iran. They consist of high parallel ranges with sheer rugged peaks, separated by steep canyons and gorges. Several summits rise to over 14,000 feet, the highest being Dena(sub-range)->Ghash-e-Mastan peak (14,920 ft./ 4548m) *.
Heavy snow falls in Winter and remains on the higher summits for much of the year. One of the most spectacular areas of the Zagros is the area surrounding the headstreams of the Karun River and its tributaries. Here, the rivers tumble through rocky gorges, sheer mountain walls towering above them. Also of interest, in the center of the range, are the numerous salt domes, some rising up to 5,000 feet.
* Some sites and people quote a peak named Zardeh Kouh is the highest of the Zagros range but as I have studied this quote is wrong.
Zard Kooh, ZardKooh, Zard-Kooh, Zard Kouh, ZardKouh or Zard-Kouh or the full name Zard Kooh-e-Bakhtiary is not the name of a individual peak but it's one the most great and famous sub ranges of Zagros range, the terms mean "The yellow mountain of Bakhtiarys". (I'll shorten the name to ZK in follow...)
The mountain is located in Chaharmahal-e-Bakhtiary province (The cold season starts October, coldest -15 centigrade warmest 35.5 centigrade average 10.3 centigrade) near Shahr-e-kord and Koohrang cities, probably one of the most beautiful places of Iran, ZK is the source of two most major rivers of Iran Karoon and Zayandeh-roud of Isfahan.
Chaharmahal-e-Bakhtiary people and nomads are the most nice people, they believe to be the best to the guests... ZK is the warm season source of the Bakhtiary nomads who deal with the hard mountain conditions. They breed sheep and goat and produce the best meat, wool, natural diary products and hand works. Bakhtiary's Kebab is one of the best Iranian foods you can have the original versions in this place.
inverted tulip which grows abundantly on the slopes of Zardkooh (Yellow Mountain). This flower is unique to Iran.
Most high known peaks
The ZK sub range is made by a long north-west oriented to south-east ridge line with few sub ridges or parallel ridges. The ridge line can be divided into five sections with the following peaks located on each section.
ZK geographical location is 49:30 to 50:20 E and 32:05 to 32:55 N.
Normal routes are easy you will need suitable clothes and boots, tent and other equipments. But for routes marked you will need special equipment such as carbines, crampons, piton, hammer and etc.
north to south:
E-U-Lack: The most north part. West to Sheikh-Ali-Khan village, E-U-Lack glacier and Koohrang river valley. The rocky block Haft Tanan is the most impressive and highest peak of this part, having the great wall at west, using the normal route from Koohrang valley still is the easiest peak to climb, the other peaks are not easy and may need some technical climbing. The E-U-Lack is a twin peak !
un named peak
un named peak
Ab-Sefid and Lasouzeh:
The ZK ridge between E-U-Lack and Sardan peaks has some 3900m peaks which are named Lasouzeh peaks with the highest being 3980m, this peak serves a branch which is parallel to the main ZK ridge line and west to Koohrang dam lake named Ab-Sefid peaks with the highest 4050m point. the valley between these ridge lines is named Lasouzeh valley.
a Lasouzeh peak
a Lasouzeh peak
a Lasouzeh peak
Central part: This is the most impressive part of ZK, the twin Dozardeh peak (Big Kooloonchin + Small Kooloonchin) is the highest peak of ZK. The north face of these peaks shape some big walls, there are some glaciers under the walls as well, Poursounan glacier is the largest one under the 4100m peak. The normal routes to these peaks are easy except the 4100m peak which is not easy.
un named peak
un named peak
un named peak
un named peak
Located west to Koohrang river valley and north-west to Birgan's nomads place, Bazoft valley located west to Chery peaks is the deepest valley of the ZKs. The tallest Chery is named East Chery and is about 4075m high, the others are about 10m~20m lower are named West Cherys.
Meelly mountain: End part of the ZK trail, Lashtar area at south, Bazoft valley at west, Koohrang river valley at east and Rostami & Do-Ab-e-Samsami villages at north.
E-U-Lack glacier north-east/under the E-U-Lack peaks
Poursounan glacier north-east to Dozardeh peak
Ghanbarkesh chal glacier
Chal-Mishan hut at 3700m - a metal hut on the Koohrang to Shah-e-shahidan peak route
Koloonchin hut at 3850m - on the Khersan to Koloonchin route
Haft-Tanan hut at 3300m - on the route to Haft-Tanan peak
Most of the ZK peaks are sheer at bottom and ragged and rocky at top having one or some walls -ready for technical climbs- before their peaks, but the most known ones are (the names show which peak they lay at):
Shah-e-Shahidan 250m wall at 4180m
Haft-Tanan 350m wall at 4019m
Koloonchin 150m wall at 4221m
Sardan 150m wall at 3950m
Do-Zardeh 150m wall at 4100m
About Iran and Chaharmahal-e-Bakhtiary
Sunset on ZK
[I added this section to give a small glance to people who want to travel to Iran]
Iran is high plane hosting two vast ranges of mountains Alborz and Zagros including hundreds of 4000+m summits. Even taught there are two big deserts in the middle of Iran still it's been said 3/4 of the plane is covered by mountains, there are still lots of 4000+m and 3000+m outside the Alborz and Zagros ranges scattered all over the Iran plane like Kerman mountains and Taftan volcano, the weather varies from dry hot to mountain conditions and to the thick green lush and humidity of the north Caspian sea coast.
The behavior of Iranians is friendly and they are helpful to foreign people from Europe and America (this friendly behaves may no be applied to Arabs), you can quickly make a friend who would be glad to guide you and stay beside you and invite you to his/her home.
The pipe-supplied and mineral water and food served in restaurants and supplied from stores is safe (avoid food from road sellers in downtown).
Security is granted by the police, there are two kind of polices in Iran the green ones and the blue ones, blue is only for traffic control, greens are for security and criminal matters.
Alcoholic drinks are forbidden in Iran, Christians won't be punished for carrying, anyway most people use drinks in their house and parties illegally and they have their own illegal alcohol suppliers who supply drinks from Iranian native drinks to Russian and western drinks, if you needed drinks you can easily find it illegally.
Chaharmahal-e-Bakhtiary : See the link section of this page.
Getting There/ Glimpse to the Routes
You have to go to Shar-e-Kord(center of Chaharmahal-e-Bakhtiary) 521Km far from Tehran:
Fly to Shar-e-Kord
Drive to Shar-e-Kord
Tehran - Qom - Arak - Shar-e-Kord
Tehran - Isfahan - Shar-e-Kord.
Climbing the east/north faces: From Shahr-e-Kord drive to Farsan city drive to Chelgerd (Koohrang) town a dirt road toward west goes into Koohrang river valley where the routes start, bypass Kooh-e-Karkonan(2900m) until you reach Koohrang dam. All routes start from Koohrang river valley up to the peaks.
Acording to the desired climbing region/peak :
(1) Kaino Peaks
The very north part of the ZK's, when the Chelgerd road branches take the north branch and reach Sheikh-Ali-Khan village, the routes start from this place and are moderately hard and technical.
(2) Haft Tanan peak
After raching Kooh-e-Karkonan before reaching the dam take the easy route north to E-U-Lack glacier up to the summit.
After raching Kooh-e-Karkonan before reaching the dam climb up the E-U-Lack glacier, the route is moderately hard and technical.
(4) Ab-Sefid and Lasouzeh
Bypass the dam system and the bridge, go on the nomad's route go into Chal-e-Baharro valley take the Ab-Sefid route or the Lasouzeh ridge.
Go on the Ab-Sefid route until it branches take the left, the route to Sardan and Chal-mishan glacier.
(6) Dozardeh, Khersan, Shah-e-Shahidan
Bypass the dam system take the route to Chal Mishan shelter, climb the route up th Shah-e-Shahidan, traverse left on Poursoonan glacier to the other peaks. There are two more routes which rise up from Koohrang river.
(7) Chery peaks
Follow Koohrang river south to Birgan the route starts from this place toward west and south-west
(8) Meely mountain
Follow Koohrang river south to Birgan, Rostami and Do-Ab-e-Samsami the route starts from this place toward south
Red Tapes and Regional Hints
ZK mountains are of one the protected areas of Iran, hunting is prohibited and fishing is prohibited out of season, anything harm to the pure nature is prohibited.
Entrance to some protected places of Iran will require a license which you can grab from the mountaineering federation of Iran.
No fees of permission is required for climbing or camping
Keep in mind that ZK has been and is the natural home of the nomads called Ilat and Ashayer, specially the Bakhtiary's
Risk of avalanches and wild animals attack exists out of season.
When To Climb
Dozardeh area: July-September
Haft-Tanan and E-U-Lack area: late July
Chery mountains: late June and July
Sardan peak: July, early June for ice/rocksnow mixed technical climbs
Ab-Sefid peaks: late June and July
July and September means summer for ZK
The normal east routes are not technical but at winter heavy snow fall in Koohrang valley and bad weather conditions would make ZK one of the longest and hard winter attempts of Iran.
Weather is clear
Heavy snow, rough cold mountain conditions, frequent snow storms and wild winds that may last for days.
Mountaineering in Iran (Koohnavardi dar Iran) in Persian, by Ali Moqim
This book is a good guide including maps, routes, conditions... and any basic information you need for climbing mountains of Iran, also includes a list of books about mountaineering in Iran.