Explorers Connect

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Damavand Trek
Tuesday 31st July - Friday 10th August 2018

Spend an unforgettable summer with us in the heart of Iran – immerse yourself in Middle-Eastern culture and experience high altitude, non-technical trekking across the spectacular Alborz mountains.

OVERVIEW

At 5,671m, Damavand is not only Iran's but also the Middle East's highest peak, as well as the highest volcano in Asia. Located in the heart of the Alborz range in the north of Iran which divides the Caspian Sea from the central desert plateaus, its iconic shape can be seen from Tehran on a clear day. Damavand is deeply rooted in Persian mythology and folklore and holds a great place in the hearts of Iranians.

A dormant volcano, this symbolic mountain is a trekking peak and can be climbed from all sides (with the North, North-East, South and West routes having shelters and refuges on route). However, the easiest and most commonly used route is the South route, which is the one we will be climbing. The South route offers the highest chance of a successful and comfortable ascent and summit experience, and the path leads to the highest and most well-equipped mountain hut in Iran at 4,200m. Located 55 miles north east of Tehran, the base of Damavand is only a two-hour drive from the capital.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrivals throughout the day, group airport transfers to hotels in Tehran.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Tehran in the morning, followed by an afternoon team transfer to the base of Koloon Bastak mountain. We will drive up to our first base camp at 3,000m and spend the night here.

Day 3: Acclimatisation day – we will climb up to the summit of Koloon Bastak at 4,156m – around 4-5 hours trek. We will then return to Tehran in the evening and spend the night at our hotel.

Day 4: Visit to Golestan Palace, the Grand Bazaar and other museums in Tehran, spending another night at our hotel.

Day 5: Sightseeing in the morning, followed by a team transfer to Polour in the evening. Overnight at the Polour Mountaineering Federation Camp (2,200m).

Day 6: Team transfer to our second base camp (3,040m) by landrovers (about an hour's drive) and spend the night at base camp or slightly higher depending on the conditions.

Day 7: A 4-5 hour trek begins from base camp at 3,040m and will take us up to the advanced camp (Bargah-e Sevvom) at 4,200m where we will stay.

Day 8: Acclimatisation day. After a good night’s sleep and a relaxed breakfast, the team will climb around 400-600m for acclimatisation; returning to advanced camp later that day.

Day 9: Damavand summit day (4,667m). The team will leave in the morning around 05:00am and the trek takes between 6-8 hours depending on pace. Overnight we will come back down and stay at the advanced camp.

Day 10: We will head back down to the basecamp (around 3 hours trek) from where we’ll be transferred by landrovers to Polour and driven back to Tehran in the evening. There will be a celebratory group dinner in the evening.

Day 11: Departures throughout the day, group transfers from hotels to Tehran airport.

FITNESS

As long as weather permits, anyone who is fit and well acclimatised can successfully summit the mountain – the climb is long but not technical. Porters will carry our heavy bags during the day making the ascent easier and more enjoyable. Previous experience of trekking at altitude is not necessary, as we’re careful to ensure you get a gradual and thorough acclimatisation. To fully enjoy the trip and maximise the chance of reaching all the summits we strongly advise:

  • A clean bill of health
  • A good level of fitness
  • Experience of hill walking

Basically the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the days of trekking, the less tired you will be, and the faster your body will recover. The best training possible is getting out on the hills, but any exercise will be of benefit and there are lots of free training plans on the internet (for example see a range here). Generally, we would recommend that you focus on improving your cardiovascular fitness and lower body strength - you can get fitter simply by going for long walks or running a few kilometres a couple of times a week. If you’re into your running we would say if you can run continuously and comfortably for around 10 - 13 miles you’ll be in great shape to tackle these mountains.

If you've never come on an EC Adventure before, they're informal, friendly and great fun. We generally have singles, couples and small sets of friends coming along, from complete beginners to adventure professionals - what we all share is a love for adventure. Ages tend to range between mid 20s and mid 40s but anyone over 18 years old and young at heart is welcome!

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • English-speaking, UK-based Iranian Expedition Leader and Host, Shirin Shabestari, accompanying our group throughout the expedition
  • All in-country group transport and transfers (including to/from Tehran airport)
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in hotels and group tents / mountain huts (weather dependent)
  • All meals throughout the expedition (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  •  Fees for mountain guides, porters, and two chefs / camp managers
  • Access permits for Koloon Bastak and Damavand
  •  Initial visa application fee for the group (to get approval number)
  • Pre-expedition group brief in person with Shirin (please note this will be in London)

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • International return flights to Tehran
  • International personal travel insurance (ESSENTIAL - you must provide us with a copy and this must include Mountain Rescue Insurance in case of emergency evacuation – we recommend Austrian Alpine Club or BMC)
  • Optional single-room supplement at the hotels (£80)
  • Extra snacks and bottled water
  • Tips for the staff (around £40)
  • Visa application charge & collection at the Iranian embassy in London (one week turnaround costs about £80, one day turnaround costs about £250). Please see below section on visas for more information.

VISAS

Please download and read the below document carefully for information on what you need to do BEFORE we can apply for the visa pre-approval number for the group.

After we have the group pre-approval number then you need to go to the Iranian consulate in London to submit your visa application, pay the fee, get approval and collect your visa. 

Please note although we do our best to maximise the chance of visa approval we cannot guarantee your individual visa will be approved so we advise taking out insurance that covers your flights.

[LINK]

KIT LIST

Our recommended kit list for summer trekking is available to download HERE.

REVIEWS

This trip was about so much more than just scaling Damavand. It was a cultural education and eye opener; an opportunity to be exposed to all aspects of Iranian life from the hustle and bustle of Tehran to the poppy laden slopes of its highest mountain.
I’d never have thought I would have tackled my first high altitude mountain trek in Iran… you will not only get to enjoy an incredible adventure into high mountain territory, but experience a country that westerners know relatively little about.
Whilst the summit reflected the ‘crux’ of our climb, I realised that it actually was so much more than that. It was a symbol of the multifarious melting-pot that is defining modern Iran –a country that is endlessly welcoming and a country that is desperate to been seen for what it is, rather than what it is depicted to be.
What an amazing feeling it was driving back down four days later and being able to look back up and say “yep, i climbed that.
If you’re looking for both cultural and high altitude adventures, lead by a determined and passionate host, I highly recommend travelling with Shirin.
Shirin and the guides were extremely professional and made sure I was safe and well acclimatized before attempting to summit. The fact that Shirin is an Iranian living in the UK helped us all getting to know the culture, going to amazing places and making our trip much smoother and enjoyable

PAYMENT

  • £1,750 for EC CLUB members
  • £1,999 for non CLUB members

To book your place you must pay a deposit of £450 using the button below. This deposit is non-refundable unless the expedition is cancelled* by Explorers Connect

The full balance must be paid by 10 April 2018.

JOIN EC CLUB TODAY! EC CLUB Members enjoy great discounts on our weekends as well as lots of other adventure related deals. You'll also get exclusive access to local events and trips only open to EC CLUB Members. Find out more ...

*Please note that the minimum number needed for this expedition to run is 4. If this number is not reached by 31st January 2018 the expedition will be cancelled and deposits plus any monies paid to Explorers Connect for this trip will be returned to participants.

QUESTIONS?

If you'd like to know more about this weekend or have a particular question about this or any of our adventures, please email enquiries@explorersconnect.com or call the office on 0117 405 7497 during normal office hours and we'll do our best to help you.