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

Tour itinerary duration

16 days & 15 nights
5 cities
Full Board

Day 01 Arrival 

Arrival at the airport and continue to hotel.

  • Visit:
  • ACC: Hotel in Tehran
  • Meal: Dinner
  • Distance: 50 KM
  • Time: 1 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: –
  • Adventure Highlight: –

DAY 02 VISIT CAPITAL

Have breakfast & start a full day city tour

  • Visit: Golestan palace, national jewelry museum, former US embassy
  • ACC: Hotel in Tehran
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 20 KM
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Golestan Palace (the most famous highlight of Tehran)
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 03 SKI IN SHEMSHAK

Eat breakfast and 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

  • Visit: Shemshak Ski Resort
  • ACC: Hotel in Shemshak
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 65 KM
  • Time: 7 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: Ski in Tochal Ski Resort

DAY 04 ONE MORE DAY SKIING

Take the Shemshak resort lift to the last station. ski up to the Abak peak 3450m., then ski down to the resort

  • Visit: Shemshak ski resort
  • ACC: Hotel in Shemshak
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance:
  • Time: 7 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: Ski in Shemshak Ski Resort

DAY 05 FIRST DAMAVAND VIEW

Transfer via Haraz road to the Golezard peak 3350m near Polur village. Ascend and ski in Golezard and then transfer to the Rineh mountain hut 2050m 45min

  • Visit: Polur village, Rineh mountain hut
  • ACC: Rineh mountain hut
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 120 KM
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: 

DAY 06 FULL DAY SKIING

Transfer to the Lasem village 2300m. Skin up to the peak Parvaneh 3950m. for a full day of skiing

  • Visit: Lasem village, Parvaneh peak
  • ACC: Rineh mountain hut
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 70 KM
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: 

DAY 07 WELCOME TO ROOF OF MIDDLE EAST!

Start climbing Damavand from 2500m depends of snow. 5-6 hours to the shelter 4200m

  • Visit: Damavand region
  • ACC: Bargah Sevom Shelter on Damavand
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance:
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: Climbing Mt. Damavand

DAY 08 ASCEND THE DAMAVAND MOUNTAIN

Summit attempt about 8 hours to the top and 3 hours ski down to the shelter 4200m

  • Visit: Damavand region
  • ACC: Rineh mountain hut
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance:
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: Climbing Mt. Damavand, Ski in Damavand

DAY 09 GOODBYE DAMAVAND

Final descent or transfer to Tehran

  • Visit:
  • ACC: Hotel in Tehran
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 100 KM
  • Time: 6 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight: 

DAY 10 FLY TO The CITY of Love

Morning transfer to the Mehrabad domestic airport in Tehran en route visiting Azadi Tower. Then fly to Shiraz and start city tour.

  • Visit: Shahcheragh (from exterior view), tomb of Hafez
  • ACC: Hotel in Shiraz
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 900 KM
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE:
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 11 ENJOY SHIRAZ

Have breakfast & start a full day city tour

  • Visit: Arg-e citadel, Vakil Bazaar area, the Rose Mosque, Qavam House and Gardens, Eram Gardens
  • ACC: Hotel in Shiraz
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance:
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Eram garden (one of the best Persian gardens in Iran)
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 12 VISITING ACHAEMENID EMPIRE

Morning visit Persepolis and then continue to Yazd

  • Visit: Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam and Pasargad
  • ACC: Hotel in Yazd
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 460 KM
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Persepolis (the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire) and Pasargad (The tomb of Cyrus the Great)
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 13 FULL DAY IN YAZD

Have breakfast & start a full day city tour and then continue to Isfahan at evening

  • Visit: Zoroastrian Yazd – the towers of silence and fire temple, explore the bazaar and Fahaadaan district on foot and Dowlatabad Garden and walking on Si-o-se pol bridge
  • ACC: Hotel in Isfahan
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 330 KM
  • Time: 8 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Dowlatabad Garden (the tallest adobe-made windcatcher in the world)
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 14 UNCOUTABLE HIGHLIGHTS OF ISFAHAN

Have breakfast & start a full day city tour

  • Visit: Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Shan and Sheikh Lotfollah mosques, Ali Qapu Palace, and Grand Bazaar of Isfahan (Qeysarieh), Chehel Sotoun palace, Vank cathedral in Jolfa, Khaju Bridge.
  • ACC: Hotel in Isfahan
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance:
  • Time: 6 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Naqsh-e Jahan Square (one of the kargest squares of the world) and Chehel Sotoun palace (built by Shah Abbas II to be used for his entertainment and receptions)
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 15 ANOTHER ASPECT OF ISFAHAN

Continue to the Varzaneh desert and then drive back to Isfahan and walk in the city

  • Visit: Varzaneh desert and Jameh mosque of Isfahan
  • ACC: Hotel in Isfahan
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 200 KM
  • Time: 6 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Jameh mosque of Isfahan (the most important and among the earliest religious buildings in Iran)
  • Adventure Highlight:

DAY 16 DEPART FROM IRAN

Transfer to IKA airport en route visiting the village of Abyaneh and Kashan en-route (distance and travel time)

  • Visit: Fin Garden, Agha Bozorg mosque, Bazaar of Kashan, Abyaneh village
  • ACC:
  • Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Distance: 500 KM
  • Time: 10 hrs
  • UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Fin garden (a historical Persian garden), Abyaneh village (the most beautiful and oldest villages in Iran)
  • Adventure Highlight:

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.

SEE ATTACHED

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.

Partners