|23.36112°N / 107.15473°W
|Jun 13, 2015
In June 2015, I and my Slovak friend Rasto decided to climb Damavand. As an acclimatization, I did firstly ridge of Sarakchal (cca 4000m) and a week later its summit (4210m) NE of Tehran, itself an interesting area overlooking Tehran's three of four main ski resorts. We departed from Tehran on 12 June by car. After reaching the "Mosque" (3150m) on the southern slope of the mountain and parking there, we walked up to the new shelter (4250m). We had to pay 300 000 rials (some 7-8 €) for the car. As residents, we did not have to pay 50USD summit fee required from foreigners. The only problem was that we both were suffering from a light hangover from the previous day, so with a short snooze, the walk-up took us longer than anticipated. Nevermind, there is not very much to do anyway. The new shelter is spacious and as it was Friday (the second day of the Iranian week-end), there were only some mainly Iranian groups returning from the summit. There was an Afghan boy who served us a ready meal (quite good chicken stew with rice) and lots of tea as it was quite cold there. We woke up early and at 5.30 off we went. The climb was rather easy and straightforward - just going up the hill above the shelter following a couple of trails visible in the stony terrain. It was only getting slower towards the summit (cca from 5300m on) because of the altitude. Shortly before noon, we were on the summit - alone. Thanks to a westerly wind, we were spared of the sulphur exhausts from the main fumarola as they were blown away to the east. We did not stay long, as the wind was picking up and becoming rather unpleasant. On the way back we met two German ladies with their Iranian guide, the only other people on the mountain on that day. This time, we used a snowy couloir slightly to the west of our route up. It took us only 2 hours to slip back to the shelter. The descent to the car was long and boring again. But in the evening we were both back in Tehran.
On the contested Damavand altitude - after having read a lenghty arguments on Summitpost, I realized there is no independent measuring getting even close to the local official altitude of 5671m. We did not have a calibrated altimeter with us. So until more reliable information occurs, I will stick to the international altitude of 5609m. It is quite high anyway, right? And that the Elbrus is then higher? Come on...