Mount Damavand, which is 5610 meters tall, has been declared a national heritage in Iran. It is the tallest mountain in Iran, Asia, and the world’s tallest conical mountain. However, the various numbers you may have seen can confuse you. So, how tall is Mount Damavand? We will reveal the actual elevation of Damavand in this article in Parsi Tours Iran travel agency. With Parsi Tours you can have a great experience of visiting Mount Damavand.
Damavand height through history
Mount Damavand has been important and holy to Iranians since ancient times. It is mentioned in various historical texts, including the Avesta and Torah. In 2004, a Jewish cemetery was discovered near Mount Damavand, which dates back to around 100 BC.
Different sources have mentioned different heights for the mountain, ranging from 14,000 to 22,000 feet (4267.2 to 6075.6 meters). For example, an American linguist named A.V Williams Jackson stated that Mount Damavand is approximately 6,000 meters high and is mentioned in the Avesta. Here at Parsi Tours, we want to cover more information about this mountain for you. Stay with us.
Mount Damavand Elevation
The Iranian National Statistics Center determined that the height of the Damavand summit is 5610 meters above sea level. They conducted a 10-day project using 10 different methods to measure it. The final result revealed that the precise height of Mount Damavand is 5609 meters.
In the past, there were different claims about the height of Damavand. In 1996, Allen Bach mistakenly measured it to be 5670 m using satellite photos. Later, it was incorrectly stated as 5671 m in various textbooks and sources, causing confusion among Iranians. This incorrect number can still be found in some sources and on Mount Damavand’s signs. However, newer and more accurate measurement equipment has disproved this inaccurate height.
The people living in the nearby villages of Mount Damavand, like Rineh, Polour, Nandal, and Gazank, believe that the peak of Damavand is 5671 m high. This belief was based on incorrect information that was considered accurate for over 40 years. Despite its inaccuracy, this height is still found in many books, articles, and other references. It is also printed on signs along the trekking routes to Damavand, as well as on various souvenirs like T-shirts, mugs, and posters.
Damavand Weather Conditions
High-altitude equipment is necessary for climbing Damavand between winter and early spring (December to late March) because the weather is very cold.
In late February and March, the weather becomes unpredictable and it can be difficult to find a suitable time to climb. Parsi Tours provides a good climb for you.
Damavand climbing season
Parsi Tours believes the safest and easiest time to climb Mount Damavand is from mid-June to September. This period also offers longer and more predictable weather windows for climbing.
During this time, the weather is generally more consistent. However, the climbing season could potentially start earlier or last longer, depending on the amount of rainfall or snowfall and the weather experienced during the previous winter and spring.
June is the most beautiful month of Mount Damavand. The weather is pleasant and you can see Tulips and Poppies in Lar Plain and the plains around Goosfand Sara. In June, the snow around Bargah E Sevom melts, creating a beautiful view as water runs downstream.
As September approaches, the snow starts to melt, the weather becomes warmer, and mountain climbing becomes easier. This encourages many mountain climbing enthusiasts to conquer Mount Damavand during July and August. In these two months, Mount Damavand attracts the largest number of climbers. During the weekends of July and August, Bargah e Sevom and the main camp resemble a small town. It is important to note that in Iran, the off days are Thursday and Friday.
In October, it gets colder and snow starts to fall more often as winter approaches. The freezing level also goes down during this time and can reach zero degrees in areas near 1500 feet above sea level.
Trekking tours to Damavand are usually not available during this time. However, if you have enough experience, the right winter equipment, and are physically fit, you can climb the summit with our certified guides. At Parsi Tours, we have had many successful winter climbs of Damavand. If you are interested in taking Damavand tour, first you need to apply for for Iran visa.
Damavand Volcanic activities
Mount Damavand could erupt again, as it is a potentially active volcano. However, it has not erupted for 38500 years and is currently not showing any signs of volcanic activity, except for emitting sulfuric gas.
As you reach the top, you will see extrusive igneous rocks. These rocks are created when hot liquid rock cools quickly. Above 5300 meters, you can discover sulfuric rocks with a yellowish-green hue.
The volcanic crater of Mount Damavand is about the size of a football field, measuring 400 meters wide. It is frozen and contains a lake. Additionally, there are indications of previous craters on the northern and southern slopes of the mountain. There is a hole that is 1-2 meters wide near the summit of Mount Damavand. It is located 50 meters southeast and it releases a lot of sulfuric gas. Because of this, the mountain seems like an old man smoking a tobacco pipe. There are also some other smaller holes close to the sulfuric hill, but they only release a small amount of gas.
The foothills of Damavand are filled with red poppies from mid-May to mid-June. These special poppies are called Lar poppies or Rineh poppies in botany books. They grow at elevations between 2000 and 3500 meters and are found in the villages of Rineh and Lar located in the foothills of Damavand.
Damavand is home to animals like foxes, hyraxes, dogs, goats, wolves, jackals, ewes, rams, and bores. The majority of the wildlife in this mountain consists of birds like Golden eagles, partridges, quails, and bats. Additionally, the area is home to various other animals including five species of snakes, different types of mice, lizards, scorpions, and badgers.
Sometimes, you may have the fortune to spot partridges and boars at lower heights. Additionally, near Bargah E Sevom, you might come across clusters of mountain goats, while sheep can be seen grazing near Goosfandsara. Lastly, as you ascend towards the peak, there is a possibility of encountering the impressive Golden Eagle in the higher altitudes.
Damavand Trekking Routes
There are 16 ridges to reach the summit, with four being commonly chosen and the rest being less used. At Parsi Tours, we offer the best routes to reach Mount Damavand. Besides, if your mind is occupied with whether Iran is safe for travelers or not, we highly recommend you to read this article: “Is Iran safe for Tourists? (Debunking all the myths)”
The northern route
The route starts near Nandal village and goes between two glaciers: Siole (on the right) and Dobi Sel (on the left). There are two shelters on this route. The first shelter, called Chahar Hezar, is located at an altitude of 4700 meters. The second shelter, named Panj Hezar, is at an altitude of 4600 meters.
The northeastern route
This route can be reached by both Nandal and Gazane villages. It goes by Takht E Fereydon shelter, which is located at an elevation of 4350 meters. On the left side of the route, you can see the Yakhar Glacier and the valley, which adds to its charm. Many mountaineers think that the northeastern route is the most beautiful.
The western route
You can reach this route by going through Polour village and then taking a long dirt road that takes about 2 hours. Along the way, you will pass by Simorgh Shelter, which is located at an altitude of 4250 meters. Some of the beautiful sights you will see include Lar Lake and the symmetrical shadow of Mount Damavand during sunrise.
The southern route
You can reach this route from either Rineh or Polour villages. It connects to Goosfandsara or the main base camp (at a height of 3000 meters) through a dirt road. Bargah e Sevom, which is located near this route, is the most well-equipped hut in Damavand. It has helpful staff, beds, toilets, electricity, and a dining room. However, during the cold winter months from November to February, it’s important to check if the hut is open and available for use by contacting the mountaineering federation or a travel agency like Parsi Tours.
Bargah E Sevom was constructed a decade ago. Prior to that, this route had only a basic shelter like the other routes. The southern route is considered the easiest due to its convenient ascent, facilities, and accessibility. Conversely, the northern route is the toughest due to its steepness and lack of amenities such as mules and huts. The western route, with its long dirt road and potential rock falls near Simorgh shelter, poses higher risks for climbing Mount Damavand. As a result, this route is seldom selected for tours.
Mount Damavand Difficulty
Climbing Mount Damavand can be challenging due to its high elevation, but this can be overcome with proper acclimatization. The trek itself is not generally technical, so as long as you are in good physical shape, you can enjoy a successful trek up Damavand Peak with the help of a certified Iranian mountain guide or get help from agencies like Parsi Tours.
Damavand, the Mother of Myths and Olympus of Iran
Mount Damavand is always covered in snow and surrounded by clouds. It is like Mount Olympus in Greek mythology, believed to be the home of gods. In Iranian mythology, it is the center of the world and the residence of the sun god Mithra and the first human, Gayomart. This mountain holds great significance in Persian culture and is often featured in literature, poetry, and myths. For Iranians, it symbolizes their fight against tyranny.
The mountain of many faces
Mount Damavand is a mountain with a lot of stories and its name is also a bit mysterious. Its name probably means “the mountain from which smoke and ash arise.” But, in the past, it was also called “Dunbavand,” which means “the mountain of many faces.” The Greeks called it “Koronos” and some historians believe the Assyrians called it “Bitnik.”
Capturing the evil in the heart of Damavand
In Zoroastrian mythology, there was a three-headed dragon called Azhi Dhaka. This evil creature was chained in Mount Damavand and would remain imprisoned there until the end of the world. The famous Iranian poet, Ferdowsi, mentions this three-headed dragon in his book Shahnameh, or the Book of Kings.
According to Ferdowsi, the three-headed dragon is represented by a tyrant named Zahhak, who is considered the most wicked figure in Persian mythology. Zahhak was a young prince who was handsome and intelligent but had a bad temper and was easily influenced by evil advisors. Ahriman, the destructive spirit in Zoroastrian mythology and the enemy of the god Ahura Mazda saw an opportunity in Zahhak to fulfill its evil plans of world domination.
Ahriman convinced Zahhak to kill his own father and take over his kingdom. Zahhak agreed to give Ahriman anything he wanted, and Ahriman asked to kiss both of the king’s shoulders. After these devilish kisses, two black snakes grew out of Zahhak’s shoulders, which couldn’t be removed and required human brains to be fed to them every day. Zahhak became a powerful and ruthless ruler, defeating Jamshid, the beloved king of the world, and enslaving the population.
Zahhak’s tyranny lasted for centuries until Fereydun, one of Jamshid’s descendants and a symbol of justice in Persian mythology, finally defeated him and ended his reign. The day Fereydun overcame Zahhak is celebrated as the famous Mehergan feast. Instead of killing Zahhak, Fereydun chose to imprison him in a cave beneath Mount Damavand, where he would remain until the end of the world. According to local legends in the villages near Damavand, the volcanic roars heard from the mountain are believed to be Zahhak’s furious cries.
In this article, we tried to introduce Mount Damavand, its routes, and the environment of this great mountain. Here at Parsi Tours, we provide some Iran hiking and climbing tours for you. Keep in touch with us to know more information about them.