Mountain climbing challenges
Mountain climbers generally need to possess a vast collection of mountaineering skills and techniques. They’re also often faced with financial issues. Every mountaineer seeks the opportunity to climb and conquer peaks and the challenge of conquering multiple peaks is an intrinsic part of this sport. There are many ongoing mountaineering challenges in the world. Some of these challenges are:
- Climbing fourteen 8000-meter peaks
- Climbing the most prominent peak in each of the seven continents
- Climbing five 7000-meter peaks in the Pamirs and Tian Shan ranges (to get the Snow Leopard award)
- The Explorers’ Grand Slam
- Climbing the second most prominent peak in every continent
- Climbing a volcanic peak in each continent
Among all these challenges climbing volcanic seven summits, one in each continent seems the most plausible. The financial issues and the level of difficulty that a mountaineer will have to deal with to complete this challenge are less intense compared with the other ones. The so-called name “Volcanic Seven Summits” is given to the group consisting of the highest volcanic peak of each continent. Although this mountaineering challenge may seem easier than the others, it has its own difficulties as the mountain climbers will have to travel to seven different locations in order to complete it. In addition, conquering the lesser-known peaks of the volcanic seven summits can be rather difficult, which makes this challenge more interesting.
The Volcanic Seven Summits
The volcanic seven summits are:
- Mount Damavand in Asia
- Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa
- Mount Orizaba in North America
- Mount Ojos del Salado in South America
- Mount Sidley in Antarctica
- Mount Elbrus in Europe
- Mount Giluwe in Australia and Oceania
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the volcanoes of volcanic seven summits challenge. It is the most prominent peak in Africa with 5895 m of altitude thus being one of the mountains of the seven summits challenge as well. Located in Tanzania (on the border with Kenya), this potentially active volcano has three volcanic cones named Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. With 5149 m of elevation, the Mawenzi cone is the third most prominent peak in Africa and is located near Kibo cone. Shira cone is 4005 m high, making it the third-highest peak of Kilimanjaro.
Pico de Orizaba or Mount Orizaba is a stratovolcano located in Mexico, 1287 km away from the border of the United States. It is the most prominent peak in the country and the third-highest one in North America with 5636 m of altitude. In addition to being one of the volcanic seven summits, this currently dormant volcano is one of the most attractive summits to conquer in Mexico.
Mount Ojos del Salado
Located on the border between Argentina and Chile, Mount Ojos del Salado ( Nevado Ojos del Salado) is the highest active volcano in the world with 6893 m of elevation. It is also one of the volcanic seven summits and the second most prominent peak in the Andes mountain range in South America. This volcano is 20 km away from the San Francisco pass and is in the middle of the Andean Volcanic Belt which is more than 80 km long.
Located in Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica, Mount Sidley is the highest volcano and summit on the continent. This possibly dormant volcano is also the seventh summit of volcanic seven summits with 4181-4285 m of altitude. Bill Atkinson, a mountain climber from New Zealand, was the first person to conquer this summit in 1990.
Mount Elbrus (5642 m) is located in southern Russia, in the eastern part of the Caucasus Mountains and north of the Iranian Plateau near the Russia-Georgia border. This dormant stratovolcano has two summits with the western one being 5642 m high and the eastern one 21 m shorter. Elbrus summit is the highest spot in Europe; thus making the list of volcanic seven summits. The name Elbrus was driven from the same route as the Alborz Mountains (Elburz Mountains); therefore, it is an Iranian name as well.
Mount Giluwe (4367m) is the second most prominent peak in Papua New Guinea and the highest volcano in Oceania. Giluwe volcano is one of the volcanic seven summits. Australian immigrants were the first ones to conquer Giluwe peak; however, there are still disagreements about it. Mount Giluwe has magnificent and unique flora due to its location.
Mount Damavand (5610 m) is a potentially active stratovolcano located north of Iran and in the Alborz mountain range (Elburz mountain range). This isolated peak is the most prominent peak in Iran and the Middle East as well as the highest volcano in Asia, making it one of the volcanic seven summits. The more detailed location of the unique Damavand Volcano is Larijan District, Mazandaran Province, Iran. When the sky is clear, Damavand Peak is visible from Tehran, Varamin, Qom, and the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Mount Damavand is a significant attraction and a valuable treasure to Iranians. It was the first natural attraction in Iran to be registered as a National Iranian Natural Phenomenon on July 3, 2008. In addition, Mount Damavand has been mentioned in Iranian literature and mythology several times.
Mount Damavand Elevation
The exact elevation of Mount Damavand has long been a controversial matter. The National Statistical Centre of Iran has declared Mount Damavand height to be 5610 m while NASA believes it to be 5670 m. Furthermore, the elevation of Damavand Peak is 4667 m relative to the lowest valley between this mountain and the nearest prominent peak, placing it 12th on the list of most prominent peaks in the world. Mount Damavand is ranked higher on this list than mountains such as K2 and Kanchenjunga. There are also other well-known mountains on this list such as Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, and Kilimanjaro. This method of height measurement and ranking demonstrates the prominenceMount Damavand in comparison with its surrounding area, which is the main reason it is visible from a long distance.
As mentioned before, Mount Damavand is a potentially-active stratovolcano. Formed during the Quaternary period, this volcano first erupted 1.78 million years ago. It last erupted between 600-280 thousand years ago and hasn’t had any eruptions since. The age of the current form of Mount Damavand is estimated to be 38500 years using the Carbon-14 method. The sulfur smoke and Damavand hot springs show that Damavand volcano is potentially active. There are also active fumaroles on Mount Damavand, making it more unique. These fumaroles are constantly emitting sulfur smoke. Damavand volcanic crater is 400 m in diameter and is covered by a lake.
Is it difficult to climb Mount Damavand? (Damavand Difficulty Level)
Iran is located on the Iranian plateau. This mountainous country has two major mountain ranges called Alborz (Elburz) and Zagros and more than 100 summits with more than 4000 m of elevation. Iran is below the north temperate zone; thus, there won’t be any problems for climbing Damavand during summer. The features of this magnificent mountain make it rather accessible for those who have average physical fitness and choose the appropriate time to climb Mount Damavand. Mountain climbers can easily climb Damavand, reach 5610 m of altitude, and enjoy the beauties of this fascinating volcano with proper acclimatization. This fact is one of the many features that make Damavand tours appealing.
The special features and the accessible amenities in Mount Damavand have made Damavand trekking tours more enjoyable and feasible. The existence of shelters and huts as well as access to rooms with beds, toilets, and the internet (at 4200 m of altitude) are some of the special amenities available in Mount Damavand. Furthermore, it’s possible for the mountain climbers to have their extra belongings transferred to Bargah-E-Sevom hut (4200 m) by mules.
Moreover, there are natural hot water springs available near Mount Damavand, where mountaineers can go to relax and regain their energy after their Damavand trek. The water of these hot springs contains sulfur and other minerals, is beneficial for the skin, and helps reduce cramps. It’s highly recommended to spend some time at Damavand hot water spring after conquering Damavand peak.
Is climbing Damavand safe? (Damavand trekking safety)
Damavand trekking routes are very safe and non-technical, allowing mountain climbers to conquer this peak without technical mountain climbing skills. In addition, the risk of avalanches during winter is very slight. Mount Damavand has amazing natural glaciers that create a fascinating sight for mountain climbers when climbing it.
Which is the easiest way to access Mount Damavand? (Access to Mount Damavand/Reaching Mount Damavand)
Although it may seem difficult to access a mountain with 5610 m of altitude, the basecamp of Mount Damavand is only a 3-hour drive away from Tehran, the capital of Iran. The sulfur smoke coming out of Damavand may be visible on the way if the sky is clear.
Iran and Damavand safety
- According to the secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization Iran is a very safe country for tourism[Source].
- Iran is a safer travel destination than Russia, Egypt, India, Turkey, Brazil, and Thailand, based on the World Economic Forum report published in 2019[Source].
Despite what some media has spread, Iran is a safe country. According to travelers who have visited Iran, this country is much safer than many other popular tourist destinations based on their observations and experiences. Iran tours are among the safest in the world and Iranian tour operators prioritize the safety of their travelers above all else. Therefore, those looking to visit the stunning Iran destinations don’t need to be concerned.
Furthermore, Damavand Mountain is very safe based on mountain climbers’ reviews found on websites and tourism-related platforms such as TripAdvisor. Enthusiastic mountain climbers can safely and successfully climb Mount Damavand and step on the highest volcano in Asia and the most prominent peak in the Middle East with Damavand guided tours.
How long is a Damavand trekking trip? (Damavand trekking tour duration)
Climbing Mount Damavand and stepping on its beautiful peak is an achievable dream even for amateurs. All that’s necessary to reach this goal is the stable summer weather, physical fitness, and proper acclimatization. The days required for conquering Mount Damavand can vary between 2 -6 days based on many factors such as the overall physical conditions of the mountaineers. In addition, the elevation that the mountaineers live at and their ability to adapt to high altitudes can play a major role. It’s also possible to climb Damavand in one day; however, only for professionals and those who’ve spent a few days at 4500 m of elevation before their Mount Damavand trekking tour.
A reasonable and affordable trekking tour
Damavand trekking trips cost considerably less than trekking trips in other similar mountains. It’s possible to start trekking in Damavand and making unforgettable memories by paying only 60$ for a license. The other costs of climbing Mount Damavand such as meals, accommodation, fees of an Iranian mountain guide, and carrying the extra belongings are affordable as well.
You can find detailed information and prices of our affordable Mount Damavand trekking tour packages in our Damavand Tour page.