Mount Damāvand (A dormant volcano, located in middle of Alborz Range with the altitude of 5671m is the highest point of Iran (Persia), the highest peak in the Middle East and the highest volcano in Asia. Damavand, nicknamed ‘Dome of the World,’ plays a prominent role in Persian mythology, folklore, and literature, making it one of Iran’s most important national symbols. In Ferdowsi’s epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings), Mount Damavand is where legendary hero Arash the Archer shot his arrow to mark the new border between the warring Iran and Touran.
Mount Damavand is the 12th most prominent peak in the world, and the second most prominent in Asia after Mount Everest. It is the highest volcanic mountain in Asia, and part of the Volcanic Seven Summits mountaineering challenge.
Besides its spectacular properties, Mount Damavand is the most affordable 5000m summit in the world!
The mountain is located south of the Caspian (Māzandarān) Sea, near “Polur” village (About90 KM) northeast of Tehran. It is visible from Tehran if the weather is clear. The nearest major town to Mount Damāvand is city of Lārījān, famous for its hot springs made by the heat of volcanic activities.
Mount Damavand first erupted in the Pleistocene almost 1.78 million years ago. After several known eruptions around 600,000 and 280,000 years ago, its last eruption was around 5300 BC in the Holocene. Its steep cone is formed of ash and lava flows mainly of trachyte, andesite, and basalt. The Quaternary lavas are directly on the Jurassic sediments. The volcano is crowned by a small crater with sulfuric deposits. There are also fumaroles, hot springs, and mineral deposits of travertine. Mount Damavand could be considered as a potentially active volcano, because there are fumaroles near the summit crater emitting sulfur, which is still active.
There are 3 known glaciers in Damavand by the name of Yakhar, Siyoleh, Dubisel. The best season for ascending the peak is June to September. In this season weather condition is usually stable.
The best major settlement for mountain climbers is the new Iranian Mountain Federation Camp in the village of Polour, located in the south of the mountain, but there is also some nice guest house owned by local villagers.
There are at least 16 known routes to the summit, with varying levels of difficulty. Some of them are very dangerous and require technical climbing. The most popular route is the Southern Route which has step stamps and a camp midway called Bargah Sevom Camp/Shelter at 4250 m (about 13,845 ft). The longest route is the Northeastern and it takes two whole days to reach the summit starting from the downhill village of Nāndal and a night stays at Takht-e Fereydoun (elevation 4300 m – about 13,000 ft), a two-story shelter. The western route is famous for its sunset view having Simorgh shelter in this route at 4100 m (about 13,500 ft). There is a frozen waterfall/Icefall (Persian name Abshar Yakhi) about 17 m tall and the elevation of 5100 m is the highest icefall in Iran and the Middle East.
Mineral Hot Springs
Mineral hot springs are mainly located on the volcano’s flanks and at the base, giving evidence of volcanic heat comparatively near the surface of the earth. While no historic eruptions have been recorded, hot springs at the base and on the flanks, and fumaroles and Solfatara near the summit, indicate a hot or cooling magma body still present beneath the volcano.
The most important of these hot springs are located in a village by the name Larijan in the district of Larijan in Lar Valley. The water from this spring is useful in the treatment of chronic wounds and skin diseases. Near these springs there are public baths with small pools for public use.