Kalout Travel Agency was the host of 3 members from Germany on 08/27/15 who wanted ,beside visiting Iran`s cultural and historical monuments and also attractions such as Isfahan, Shiraz .They planned to climb the highest peak in Iran and the Middle East as well as the highest volcano in Asia with 5,610 m elevation. This report is about trying to climb up the Damavand Peak which was written by Kalout mountaineering expert guide MR ALIZADEH:
August 2015 was the beginning of trying again to conquer the roof of Iran with a team from Germany whose guidance was Kalout Sun Travel Agency. The motivated team (includes tree-members) and enthusiastic to climb to Mount Damavand. In fact, the main motive of visiting Iran was Damavand peak, and visiting the historical cities of Iran and other tourist attractions, were the
Owy" 35, "Marcos" 36, "Tanya" 40-year-old from Stuttgart in Germany were my companions on the trip.
It was the Second time, trip to Iran for Owy .He traveled to Iran last year for the First time. At the same journey ,He is so interested in to understand, people and tourist attractions of Iran and also the Persian language therefor , He has decided to travel to Iran once again and brought his two friends this time.
If we want to achieve our goal, we should have a careful planning. One of an important item that we should consider was 5960 meters height of Damavand peak. As the Kalout Company predicted itinerary of climbing to Tuchal peak, we prepared ourselves to climb to Tuchal peak before heading to Damavand peak. Climbing to Tuchal is one of the most suitable option to match or acclimatization by altitude conditions. Tuchal peak is one the most elegant and highest and lovely mountain whit the unique features. It may not be existed in any large city in the world a (3960 meters) high peak with close outlook. Climbing to this fabulous summit is very diverse and exciting. This route passes through a valley that is surrounded by high rocks on both side. Permanent River flows through the valley that creates large and small waterfalls along the way. There are some simple and small stones that makes a unique features along the way. And continuing along the path to out of the valley, on the edge and finally arriving to the summit.
Our program started early morning on Saturday. The passengers joined me in front of hotel entrance. We went to Darband where is the first path of climbing to Tuchal summit by the van, which provided by Kalout Travel Agency. This path is the first and the main and most traffic way to climb to Tuchal so we started our movement at the early morning before getting crowded. This movement was the First step to climb to the highest summit of Iran.
We climbed across the nature about an hour in the dark and relaxing morning. The beauty of path started being visible when the air began clear. We arrived Shirpala shelter and residence after two hours climbing at an elevation of 2700 meters. A large shelter where was equipped with amenities, accommodation, hot meals and other services. We moved to Amiri shelter after having breakfast. The air was completely clear. The path was full of climbers and enthusiasts who always spend their weekend on the mountain and our team continued slowly and steady its path.Owy and Marcos have known that it is not easy to climb Damavand summit and also it is impossible without good physical fitness so they had exercised for two month and it was cleared on their movement.
. And Tanya had not already decided to climb Mount Damavand and just wanted to be with the team on the climbing to Tuchal. We arrived Amiri shelter at an elevation of 3200 meters after two hours. We had a short rest and continued to climb. From here, gradually reducing the amount of oxygen in the air had an impact on our speed. There are two large open view on the valley edges which creates speculative landscape. Clouds move fast and constantly change their state. There was a mild breeze on the edge that we preferred to use wind jackets. Totally pleasant air that brought up in the hot summer was a pleasant and unexpected. After one hour walking from Amiri shelter, we got one step closer to top. I felt clearly the joy of reaching the summit on the team members` faces. Eventually, we got there after 5 hours. There was full of positive energy, full of lively atmosphere like all weekends because of the climbers. IN our team, Tanya was more excited than others because it was the first time which she climbed to High Mountain like it. To get a better acclimatization to climb Mount Damavand, we tried to stay on top for a long time. During this time we could photograph and ate a lot of snacks and took a rest. If the air were clear you could observe the breathtaking Damavand Mountain from the Tuchal Mountain. But unfortunately the whole time we were on the top the area covered by clouds and sometimes just a brief moment the sun was grandstanding amidst the clouds. Owi, Marcos and Tanya, all three did good job. Especially, Marcos and Owi had done physical activity before. Climbing to Tuchal caused that we knew each other much better and this point could be useful before climbing to Damavand peak. We moved back to Shirpala shelter after about two hours. We got there after two hours. After dinner, we went to a six beds room which had been held exclusively for group by Kalout Travel Agency, and took some rest because we need enough energy to climb Damavand Mountain. The next morning after having breakfast, we left Shirpala shelter at 9.00 o'clock. We were on down of mountain after about three hours. On schedule, as soon as we arrived there got in the van and moved toward Pulour village. Pulour village is one of the nearest places to Damavand range from the southern side and it is the best and closest path to the Damavand. We got there after two hours. After lunch at the restaurant, we went to the head quarter of the Mountaineering Federation where located in pulour. Sports centers, services and amenities of Pulour .The Nissan Patrol was organized by Kalout Travel Agency was waiting for us in front of entrance door on Sunday morning at 9.00 o'clock.
. In a short time, we placed all travel accessories, including camping equipment, clothing, food and other in the vehicle then we moved to Gosfand Sara, the last place you can access by vehicle. There was a gravel road .This part of path took 50 minutes. We arrived Gosfand Sara or base camp at 10.00 o'clock. It should be noted that Mount Damavand is an exclusive volcano that is why, it has a lot of hillsides and crests and slopes and valleys. The majority of these crests are able to climb. But the best and safest and most eye-catching way to reach the summit is the southern crest. The main reason is starting from Gosfand Sara at an elevation of 2900 meters and on the other hand, there are equipped shelter at an elevation of 4200 meters and convenient way to the top can be mentioned. All of these factors influence in to the successful ascent climbers. One of the most beautiful attractions of southern path is ice waterfall at an elevation of 5,000 meters that is visible all sessions. We started climbing to the top from Gosfand Sara with the light bags after delivering our additional supplies to the skinner. Owi, Marcus and I, all three quite determined, motivated were going to the summit with great effort and great determination. My most important goal as a leader and head of team was taking team to the summit and returning them safely and healthy. Damavand peak was covered by clouds. During the time that we were in the area just a few moments we were able to see it. And in most cases there was bad weather at an elevation
Of 5000 meters. Of course, there was not any snow and the path to the summit was clear with no snow. We climbed slowly at an elevation of 3000 meters. We were trying to climb slowly and breathing regularly to be able to acclimatize in high altitudes. We arrived the Third shelter after 5 hours and 30 minutes. You can camp there and also use the bunk in the shelter. But as the company had planned for more convenience and risking bad weather, a room with 6 beds was delivered to us. All equipment was moved by skinner to shelter on time and it was organized in a short time inside the room. Sometimes the weather was cloudy and sometimes part cloudy, inside the shelter was warmer than outside. And of course avoiding the wind was a good advantage so we were benefit in there. After having light lunch I was planning for Second day, while I was taking a rest and drinking coffee. I explained all details, because Owi and Marcus will be had a clear mind of next day activity and it was so useful for them. All Second day activity was the acclimatization. Climbing to specified altitude, staying in there and back to camp. I had prepared turkey sandwich for dinner. A low-fat, high-protein food was very good after a day of full activity. Fortunately, no cases of altitude sickness such as headache and nausea, and anorexia were seen in any of the passengers and this was a good sign.
In fact, their bodies were well adapted to the height. We were ready to sleep after having dinner….
We woke up on Monday at 8.00 o'clock. WE tried to sleep a little more because our activity was light. Last day exhaustion was cleared and all members were quite good refresh. I cooked Omelet for breakfast. A full of energy, delicious and also hot. Fortunately, Marcuse and Owi liked my cook. However, we prepared various types of food for different tastes on program so in that way we do not have a problem. We left shelter with our light backbags after eating breakfast. The sky was quite blue and clear. We started climbing slowly from a height of 4200 meters. Sunshine created man's entire existence full of energy. Our body was become warm after about half an hour of climbing. We continued to move with the faster and smoother rhythm. They had an ideal physical condition. In my opinion, they were ready for final climbing. The climbing path was gone into the valley. We reached an altitude of 4800 meters after 5 hours and 20 minutes. Climbing up to this level of height is perfect for acclimatization and is not necessary to climb more and spend more energy. We found a convenient resting area and spent an hour over there. Staying in this height and drinking liquids will help a lot to better acclimatization and it will influence on climbing. A little by little, Cloud masses covered the region and sometimes it rained shortly. We saw the climbers on the way back. Somebodies came for top acclimatization and some of them came back without reaching the summit. There was a strong wind and blizzards above 5000 meters so it gave hard time to climbers. But in the end of day, we found out which the most of climbers could reach the summit. We moved to Third shelter after short rest at an altitude of 4800 meters. Now we had done last acclimatization and everything was ready for a final effort to reach our goal. Snow, light winds and clouds were predicted for the next day, according to the forecast. Although climbing qualification are not ideal but it does not make any problem for an equipped team like us.
The summit can be reached before noon. Then gradually we can decrease our speed and come back down so the weather changes cannot make any problem on our plan. We should try taking rest and saving energy so we can easily reach the summit therefore I tried to prepare dinner in the early evening so we had enough time for sleeping. We had dinner around 8:00 o`clock. We had got Macaroni, It is a light and low-fat food and full of carbo hydrate and is really good for climbing. Then, we checked out our equipment together which, we need to climb,
First, we unloaded our back bags then we packed all necessary stuff such as climbing cloths, warm cloths, rain coat, liquids and food and whatever we need for high altitude so we made sure that we did not carry unnecessary things. It was 9.00 o`clock. We set the clock at 9.00 o'clock. Owi and Marcus slept in sleeping bags. We checked all the work that we should do the next morning for the last time and finally I turned off the light.
We woke up next day morning by clock alarm then put the kettle on the fireplace .Owi and Marcuse were getting dressed. It was completely dark so we could not see anything out of window. We ate quickly breakfast, we took our back bags and we were ready to leave the shelter. But as soon as we came out, we saw an unexpected scene. Whole area was covered by snow. It was pouring snow squall. The wind was too much so it was not tolerated. Above all, the incessant thunders were happening a lot in all landscapes. It was not possible to climb to top. The climbing is very difficult in this bad atmosphere. But it is not wise to leave the shelter in situations where the risk of lightning threatens people. We insured that we could not climb so we were sad but it was wisely. During this time the Agency was regularly in touch with me. They told me that storm and rain and snow were happening in most Northern provinces. There was also a heavy storm in Tehran at same night.
The decision to continue the program depended on the weather. We had chosen today for climbing and the next day for returning. We had a chance to climb next day but it depends to the weather. We stayed at the shelter all day and took a rest on Tuesday. According to information which the Agency and weather site gave us we had better weather the next day and without any thunder and on the other hand, Owi and Marcuse had attempted a lot for this program.so we decided to do our best to achieve our goal. Strong winds and lightning continued all day.
We had dinner at 7.00 o`clock like last night and we went to bed early in the hope of tomorrow.
We woke up at 4.00 o`clock next morning by clock alarm and I made hot water for breakfast again.
I left the shelter after eating breakfast for checking the weather but I faced by unexpected scene.
There was a heavy snow and it was still snowing. There was not any wind so it had caused a big pile of snow. Apart from all this, lightening was continuing too. I tried to walk a little on my way to the top but it was not clear. My feet till my knees were plunged into the snow. Mont Damavand got a wintery face. There was a steady heavy snow on the way to the summit so it should be cleaned for climbing. Of course, this volume of snow was more at higher elevations so we could not climb to top .Owi and Marcus were also out of the shelter. I knew they agreed with me. We went in and we took a rest.
We went out at about 9.00 o`clock. The snow had been stopped. The clouds were moving fast and their shapes were being chanced very quickly. Sometimes the sun appeared in between clouds and suddenly disappeared quickly. There was quite white. An amazing scenery very often happened in Damavand area. The weather was quite complicated at an altitude of 5000 meters. The top of peak plunged into clouds. The complicated weather had been created at an altitude.
Owi and Marcuse had left the shelter too. They were so sad because the nature did not permit them to climb to summit after a lot of exercising that they had done. They had spent a lot of money, energy and time to get there and now, they know this great opportunity has been missed. But as you know, this event is part of essence of mountaineering sport. We cannot combat against the great power of nature. First, we should recognize them, then we can do the right thing against them. The mountains always remain and also we can always climb them up and they give us this opportunity generously as long as we will pack our backbag and will move toward them. We were considered right time to performance our program. The best time for climbing Mount Damavand is between July to mid-September and you have the most chance of climbing in this period of time and It was a weird accident happened in summer and it was completely wintry.
Nobody and no teams did not try to climb up the Mount Damavand and also the summit was not conquered during those couple days and everybody decided to leave there on Wednesday.
A little snowfight was good for them, we made a big snowman together and took a lot of photos. It was really funny.
The mules came up to transport our stuff at around 1:00 o`clock. We gave our stuff to skinners and started going down. We were at Gosfand Sara at 3:00 o`clock.
During, Owi and Marcuse were watching Mount Damavand for last time, they got in car. A little sad but hopeful. They were planning their next journey to Iran to finish their mission, I mean VICTORY OF MOUNT DAMAVAND and it sounds good to me.
WRITTEN BY : MR ALIZADEH
TRANSLAIT BY: Rambod Touranbakht
Saturday 9 January 2016