Ascent of Damavand on 2016-06-01

Climber: Matthias Ihl

Others in Party:Farhad Khalafi
Johannes Stubb
Davide Jaspers
Date:Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
    Elevation:18406 ft / 5610 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hired a guide (Farhad Khalafi) for logistics, driving from Tehran and food/accomodation. Did an ok job, nothing special, but very friendly. Met in Tehran, drove to Polour, the base camp of the Iranian Mountaineering Federation. Permit cost is 50 US$. From there drove by 4WD to Camp 2 and spent the night (in a mosque/hostel). Next day, we hiked up to Bargah e Sevom (Camp 3, 4200m) and spent the night there; also did an acclimatization hike to 4600m and I organized some ice axe/crampon training for the 2 fellow Germans in the group.
On June 1, Farhad, Johannes and I got an early start (4.45 am). Unfortunately, Davide decided to stay at Camp 3 because he wasn't feeling up to the task, it has been his first time above 4000m).
We took the normal route up which basically follows one of the exposed, partially snow free ridges. I had an argument with Farhad about using crampons and ice axes which seemed to be called for in the current conditions (sections with steep frozen snow). He insisted that it wasn't necessary and told us that he had been caught in an avalanche once (which apparently left him feeling anxious using crampons/ ice axe). Eventually, I put on my crampons and suggested that the others do as well. At around 4700-4800m, Farhad collapsed with a breathing problem and Johannes offered to help him down (since he wasn't feeling too well either and didn't seem very keen on making the summit). Farhad refused, tried again after a break and some tea with sugar, but eventually had to give up. That left me to attempt the summit by myself, and I reached the top of Damavand just when the clouds moved in from all sides to block the view of the surrounding mountains and the Caspian sea :( Reached the summit at 11 am, arrived back at camp 3 at 13.30 pm, camp 2 at 16.00 pm after a short break and back in Tehran around 19 pm.
It is mostly a strenuous scramble at high altitude for about 6-7 hours, good weather and adequate acclimatization are paramount!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles, Guide, Hut Camp
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Clear viz in the beginning, then cloudy at the summit.

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