British Team Ski Mount Damavand - Iran

On Saturday 19th March a British team climbed and made what is believed to be the 2nd British ski descent of Mount Damavand, Iran.

Chris on route to the Van after 3000m of downhill © Chris Lockyer
Chris on route to the Van after 3000m of downhill
© Chris Lockyer

Mount Damavand from the Dizin Ski resort, Iran © Chris Lockyer
Mount Damavand from the Dizin Ski resort, Iran
© Chris Lockyer
Mount Damavand (5671m) is the highest mountain in Iran and the Middle East and is the highest volcano in Asia.  A rare period of settled weather just after the team arrived in Iran dictated they attempt the summit within two days of arrival.  The summit team included John RobertsScott MackenzieDuncan Robinson and Chris Lockyer.  They were accompanied by a member of the Iranian Mountaineering Federation, Hossein Salehi.  Professional photographer Henry Iddon documented the trip and ascent, reaching a high point of 5000m on the mountain.  Henry had previously travelled from sea level to 5000m in just 3 days!

The team encountered excellent conditions on the mountain, with unusually good snow for this time of year.  The great conditions allowed for a 2 day ascent and 3 hour, 3400m ski descent over 12km from the summit to the road.  Summit conditions were unusually calm at -20 with 30/40km windspeeds.  Mount Damavand generally experiences strong winds and temperatures down to -60 on top throughout winter.

The only other British ski descent is thought to have been made by David Hamilton and the Eagle Ski Club in 2004.

More information including photographs and articles on the climb including experiences within Iran itself are due out in the near future from Henry.


Climbing the final slopes, 300m below the summit of Mount Damavand © Chris Lockyer
Climbing the final slopes, 300m below the summit of Mount Damavand
© Chris Lockyer

On the summit of Mount Damavand, over 5600m in Iran © Chris Lockyer
On the summit of Mount Damavand, over 5600m in Iran
© Chris Lockyer


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28 Mar, 2011
We had a really great trip and experienced genuine warmth from the people who looked after us, and who we met. Iran is such a country is contrasts, and (politics aside) probably one of the safest places I've ever been. There is no international tourism within the country, and we had people saying to us things like "can you see we're not all terrorists!". It was these friendly warm people that really made the trip great. The mountains are incredible, and the snow is ice cold light fluffy powder. There are so many unclimbed routes lines to ski, you could get loads done over a couple of months. All in all, highly recommend it. Thanks to the Iranian Mountaineering Federation for all their help, if anyone is interested in visiting drop one of us an email and we'll pass on their details & info etc.
28 Mar, 2011
Nice one Scott, thanks for the report and the beautiful photos you all brought back with you. It looks like a lovely trip! I lived in Azerbaijan for a while, and spent a lot of weekends out in the middle of nowhere there, and found the people to be really friendly too! The closest I got to Iran was a place called Masali, a short hop from the border, but I'd love to visit Iran one day... All the best Tony
28 Mar, 2011
There's my fairly standard point and shoot photos here:http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=300513&id=511049657&l=3540a62065 and I'll update a blog in the next day or so for anyone interested. I'd totally recommend going if you can get the chance. A beautiful and friendly country.
30 Mar, 2011
Looks brilliant guys, look forward to the main trip report and more of Henry's photos. (Good to see my old jacket getting out and about too Scott). Cheers Stuart
1 Apr, 2011
Cheers, I think we've all written at least some of the trip up on our blogs now.http://jr-climbing.blogspot.com and Scott'shttp://www.fightgravity.co.uk I'm sure Henry is doing something more formal for various things. If anyone wants any beta on going for themselves then get in touch. I can promise you the trip is worth the effort, even just for the side country in resort!