Ski Tours in Iran : Climb Mt. Damavand

CLIMB MT. DAMAVAND: Snow, Sand, and Classical Iran

Experience Iran by ascending Mt. Damavand (5.610m) that is at the heart of Persian mythology and the national epic the Shahnameh by the great Persian poet, Ferdowsi. Damavand is a dormant volcano and is one of the Volcanic Seven summits mountaineering challenge. We’ll start out with a day to explore and decompress in Tehran and then off to hit the slopes in Tochal and Shemshak for a few days skiing and acclimation before our climb. After summiting we’ll make our way back to Tehran and fly down south to Shiraz, the iconic city of poets, gardens, and the gateway to the great ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire, Persepolis (UNESCO). We’ll continue in the path of Silk Road adventurers such as Marco Polo to the desert city of Yazd (UNESCO), center of the Zoroastrian faith and culture and then to Isfahan, the capital of the Safavid dynasty and incredible example of the magnificent Persian art and architecture and urban design of the 17th and 18th centuries. Before heading back we’ll visit one of Iran’s deserts, the Kavir at Varzaneh on the edge of the great salt lake, the merchant town of Kashan and unique “red” village of Abyaneh.

Departure Day, Friday, April 3, 2022

Depart from your gateway city – overnight flight to transfer city – generally Istanbul, Frankfurt, Doha or Dubai.

Day 1: Saturday, April 4, 2022
Arrival in Tehran

• Arrival in transfer city with connecting flight to Tehran in the evening, generally arriving in Tehran late night of Day 1 or early morning of Day 1
• Meet and greet at the Tehran IKA airport, opportunity to change money and acquire a SIM card for Wi-Fi and phone service and transfer to Tehran.
• Overnight: Hotel in Tehran (1)

Day 2: Sunday, April 5, 2022
• Visits in Tehran’s contemporary capital – highlights can include: Golestan Palace, the National Jewelry collection and the Den of Espionage (former US Embassy) as well as walking tour of the old downtown.
• Dinner at a trendy place like Café Tehroon.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Tehran (2)

Day 3: Monday, April 6, 2022
Tehran to Tochal and Shemshak

• Morning transfer to the Tochal resort. Ski up for one hour to the summit 3960m. ski down the north face of Tochal to the Igol village 2000m.
• Transfer to Shemshak hotel 1 hour.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Shemshak (1)

Day 4: April 7, 2022
Shemshak to Abak peak 3450m
• Take the Shemshak resort lift to the last station. ski up to the Abak peak 3450m., then ski down to the resort.
• Rest of day ski in resort (optional)
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Shemshak (2)

Day 5: April 8, 2022
Shemshak to Reineh – 2050m
• Transfer via Haraz road to the Golezard peak 3350m near Polur village. Ascend and ski in Golezard.
• Transfer to the Reineh mountain hut 2050m 45min.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Reineh mountain hut (1)

Day 6: April 9, 2022
• Transfer to the Lasem village 2300m 1hour. Skin up to the peak Parvaneh 3950m. for a full day of skiing.
• Transfer to Reineh.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Reineh mountain hut.(2)

Day 7: April 10, 2022
Mt. Damavand

• Start climbing Damavand from 2500m depends of snow. 5-6 hours to the shelter 4200m.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Bargah Sevom Shelter on Damavand (1)

Day 8: April 11, 2022
Mt. Damavand
• Summit attempt about 8 hours to the top and 3 hours ski down to the shelter 4200m.
• If the team be ready descend down to the Reineh mountain hut.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Reineh mountain hut. (3)

Day 9: April 12, 2022
Mt. Damavand – Tehran
• Final descent or transfer to Tehran
• Visits in Tehran based on arrival time and need for down time.
• Celebration dinner in Tehran
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Tehran (3)

Day 10: April 13, 2022
Tehran to Shiraz

• Morning transfer to the Mehrabad domestic airport in Tehran – stop at Azadi Tower for a group photograph on the way.
• Flight to Shiraz (domestic airline – 900km – 75 minute flight)
• Afternoon and evening visits in Shiraz based upon arrival time.
• Evening visits to the Shah Cheragh sanctuary and Tomb and garden of the Persian poet Hafez.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Traditional Hotel in Shiraz (1)

Day 11: April 14, 2022
• Early morning run in Shiraz
• Highlights of Shiraz: Explore by foot – Arg-e Zand, Vakil Bazaar area, the Rose Mosque, Qavam House and Gardens, Eram Gardens (UNESCO),
• Night visit to Ibn Sanctuary and walk around Shiraz.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Traditional Hotel in Shiraz (2)

Day 12: April 15, 2022
Shiraz to Yazd

• Morning visit to Persepolis (UNESCO) followed by Naqsh-e Rostam and Pasargadae (UNESCO) (460 km – 6 hours of driving plus visits.
• Evening arrival in Yazd
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Traditional hotel in Taft (1)

Day 13: April 16, 2022
Yazd to Isfahan

• Highlights of Yazd: Zoroastrian Yazd – the towers of silence and fire temple, explore the bazaar and Fahadan district on foot. Dowlat Abad Gardens (UNESCO).
• Evening arrival in Isfahan (after 8pm – 330 km – 4 hours)
• Late night traditional stroll on the Chahar Bagh Boulevard and Si-o-Se Pol bridge.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Isfahan (1)

Day 14: Friday, April 17, 2022
• Morning run in Isfahan along the Zanderud river
• Highlights of Isfahan: Focal point is the magnificent Naqsh-e Jahan Square (UNESCO) that encompasses the Shah/Imam and Sheikh Lotfollah mosques, Ali Qapu Palace, and Grand Bazaar of Isfahan (Qeysarieh), Chehel Sotoun pavilion (UNESCO) – late afternoon visit to Vank cathedral in Jolfa (original Armenian quarter) spend balance of evening there, stopping for another late-night stroll on the Khaju Bridge.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Isfahan (2)

Day 15: Saturday, April 18, 2022
• Day trip to the Varzaneh desert about 125 km – 90 minutes each way, (explore the desert and salt lake with traditional meal in desert lodge)
• In the late afternoon/early evening visit the Masjed Jomeh (Friday Mosque) of Isfahan (UNESCO).
• Late night walk in Naqsh-e Jahan and around.
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
• Overnight: Hotel in Isfahan (I3)

Day 16: Sunday, April 19, 2022
Isfahan – Tehran IKA Airport
• Transfer to IKA airport – visiting the village of Abyaneh and town of Kashan en-route (distance and travel time)
• Visit the highlights of Kashan: Fin Garden (UNESCO), Agha Bozorg Religious School and Mosque, 19th century local merchant homes and the Kashan Bazaar. Kashan famous as a center for high-quality rose water products and carpets.
• Arrival at IKA airport based upon departing flights, dinner at the Hotel Novotel or IBIS prior to check-in
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Tour Summary: Saturday, April 4 – 19, 2020

This is an all-inclusive tour – all transport, accommodations, guide(s), support, and meals as described in the trip itinerary is included in the per person tour cost.

The following costs are not included: International air transport to Iran, costs related to visa issuance from the Iranian consulate with jurisdiction, required travel insurance (please note must cover climbing and skiing activities), local Wi-Fi and mobile phone SIM service, equipment (as listed on required gear list), gratuities for guide(s) and drivers any personal expenses or souvenir purchases.

Overnights and accommodations
• Tehran: 3 nights
• Shemshak ski resort: 2 nights
• Reineh mountain hut: 3 nights
• Bargh Sevom mountain shelter: 1 night
• Shiraz traditional hotel: 2 nights
• Taft (Yazd) ecotourism: 1 night
• Isfahan traditional hotel: 3 nights
• IKA Tehran Airport Novotel/IBIS (optional): 1 night

Equipment List

We provide a comprehensive list for all equipment that participants should bring and that we supply for both skiing and climbing.


Equipment checklist

Trip FAQ

When is the deadline to register for the trip?
• The last day to register is February 1, 2020.

What do I need to do to register?
1) Complete the registration form.
2) Submit all required visa information: passport page, passport photograph, summarized CV/Resumé, and Residency form.
3) Deposit of Euro € 500,00. (the deposit is non-refundable except in the case of tour cancellation or visa refusal – less banking charges)

When is the final balance due?
• All accounts must be paid in full before March 1, 2020.

What is the refund policy?
• Deposits and Final Balance are refundable if the total tour is cancelled or if the participant is refused a tourist visa – less banking charges.)

What are all the costs involved in participating on this trip?
• Tour costs: € (double occupancy), € (single occupancy)
• Visa issuance (estimated with express mail charges $200)
• Travel Insurance

Is it difficult to get the visa?
No, it is not difficult. It is important however to have all of the documents as early as possible to be submitted. The visa process is a two-step process and works like this:

1. Submit all required documents to IDT. We will check them and prepare them in Persian and send them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Within two to four weeks the MFA will reply back with a Visa Authorization Code in the form of a PDF Visa. We will send a copy to you and then step 2 happens.
2. The client submits their passport and the Visa Authorization PDF to the Iranian diplomatic authority with jurisdiction. For USA residents this is the Iranian Interests Section in Washington DC. Usually, clients overnight their documents and within the week the office will overnight the passport with issued visa back to you. We will go over the exact details for both steps at the appropriate time. It is important to note that visas are issued usually just a few weeks prior to departure.

What airline should I fly on?
The following airlines fly to Iran from the USA via stopovers in Europe or the Middle East.

Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul) – multiple daily flights to Tehran
Aeroflot (via Moscow)
Austrian (via Vienna)
Emirates (via Dubai)
Lufthansa (via Frankfurt)
Qatar (via Doha)

When should I purchase my ticket?
• This is up to the individual.
• We officially confirm the trip when 8 participants have registered and paid their deposits.
• It is important to start looking at airfares as soon as you have decided to participate.

Can I use my ATM, credit cards, or Traveller’s cheques in Iran?
• No. You can only use cash. We suggest bringing an array of banknotes (USD, Euro, or any other major currency).
• It is best to over-budget the amount of cash you bring as you may decide to make some purchases or add something special to the program.

Can I speak with past participants who have climbed, skied and visited Iran?
Of course! Let us know and we can set you up via e-mail and then together you can decide what platform to communicate on. The more information that you have the better!

What are the local Iranian guides like?
There will be two crews used for this trip. For the first part of skiing and climbing you will be under the supervision of an licensed English-speaking Iranian climbing guide who is specialized in the Damavand climb as well as skiing in Iran. The second half of the tour – which focuses on the cultural will have a different English-speaking guide to accompany the group and enhance your visit and provide any assistance you may need.

Who are John and Kathleen?
Kathleen Egan and John Fiddler of Seattle are now experts on climbing in Iran and have make multiple trips –on their own, with travel industry people as well as leading adventure tours. This will be their third Damavand ascent and second round of skiing. They have a blog that details their international runs, hikes and climbs here at Knucklehead Adventure Tours.

What To Wear?

What to wear?

The majority of people in urban Iran dress very much as people do in the world’s major cities.  It’s important to keep in mind that all hotels and most restaurants and other structures are very well air conditioned and heated. (Sometimes heated too much) so the layered approach to dressing is essential for men and women). As you can see from the photos in the active section how sports attire is adapted.

Women are required to cover their hair with a scarf (also hat) in public and have a outer tunic / shirt with trousers (any kind) or ankle-length skirt. No restriction on color, material or fabric – the lighter the better. Men can only wear short pants at the beach – not in cities or towns.

What to eat?

What to eat?

Iran has a rich culinary tradition that is a diverse as its population.

Meals can be taken in the hotel, traditional and contemporary style restaurants and trendy cafés. When we are on the climb meals are prepared in the shelters and are tailored to guests dietary preferences – vegetarian, vegan, low salt, etc.