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Ski touring in Alborz
Ski in Alborz

An Article by : Hamid Shafaghi

IFMGA mountain and ski guide in Iran , hamid.shafaghi@gmail.com

Hamid Shafaghi
IFMGA mountain and ski guide

What is Alborz massif  ?

Alborz is a range of very high mountains in Iran ( almost all the highest summits in Iran lies in Alborz massif ) and it’s around 900 kms from west to east . There are quite famous summits on Alborz like Damavand ( 5610 m) , Alamkuh ( 4850m ) and lots of more small and huge summits . Alborz is in some parts very close to the city of Tehran and access to it is easy and fast . Damavand is the highest summit in the range and also the highest volcanic summit in Asia . There are hundreds of other summits which most of them are skiaable .

Ski touring in Alborz
backcountry ski in Alborz

What are the classic tours in Alborz ? 

The most accessible less known area in Alborz for back country skiing is close to Dizin ski resort . With the new highway built on Chalos road , it’s possible to access the resort in 1 hour drive . From there a dozen of summits are skiaable in the area . Wolf ( 3000 m ) , Godjari ( 3100 m ) , Sekeno ( 3860 m ) , Hezarla ( 3700 m ) , Kolombastak ( 4150 m) , Haftkhan ( 3800m ) , Naz ( 4000 m ) , Kahar ( 3950 m ) , Menar ( 3800 m ) , Khonkahar ( 3400 m ) , Kasil ( 3500 m ) , Duna ( 3600 m ) and many other summits are accessible . Some of these summits are potentially dangerous with high risk of Avalanche and some of them are safe . Normally Alborz has more danger of Avalanche than Zagros as the temperature condition , wind, etc are quite different . There are lots of other summits also available from other spots.  From Polur village ( in east ) , it’s possible to reach Golezard the small ( 3400 m ) , Golezard the big ( 3700 m ) , Parvaneh ( 3700 ) , Angemar ( 4050 m  ) , Changizchal ( 3950 m ) and Doberar ( 4150 m ) also the wonderful Damavand ( 5610 m ) .

Backcountry ski Damavand

This place is mostly famous for it’s huge and wonderful northfaces plus Damavand which is the most popular place in Iran for backcountry ski in Spring ( I discuss this in another article ) . another area in Alborz which is nice to ski is Taleghan . Taleghan is the name of a village 2 hours drive from Tehran . There are a number of short easy and safe summits on this area plus some huge long days summits as well . Taleghan on shorter summits is normally skiaable in mid season . More to the west is the area of Alamkuh .

Alamkuh
backcountry Alamkuh

Alamkuh is a wild area which contains more than 100 summits above 4000 meters  . Most famous tours on this area happens on spring as there is high danger of avalanche in winter time . some famous tours on this area are Lashgarak 4200 m , Gardonkoh 4700 m , Alamkuh 4850 m , and many other tours in the northface of it . Alamkuh for sure has great beauty in Iran . ( I will discuss this on another article completely )

The place of accommodation in the area : 

In different part of Alborz , you could choose different kind of accommodation . Close to Dizin , a couple of hotels available for you plus some local flats for rental  . Close to Damavand it’s possible to stay in federation hut with hot shower . There is 1 hut in Polur and 1 hut in Rineh . There also some better accommodation available including some lux flat and series of hotels in Larijan ( which is a bit far from tours) . For Taleghan there are series of hotels and flats available . For Alamkuh area , at the base it’s possible to use federation hut in Vandarbon . Higher on the mountain it’s possible to use some simple hut also using tent for camping .

Drive time from Accommodation : 

In Dizin , most of the summits are available with a short drive . some remote summits needs up to 1 hours drive . In Damavand area most of the tours happens in Lasem which is 40 mins drive from the place of accommodation . In Taleghan , most of the tours are close to the village and in Alamkoh area , you could start tours from your tent 🙂

Backcountry ski Alborz

How is the snowpack in Alborz  ? 

Well it’s a general question . Normally the higher summits on Alborz has great potential for avalanche in winter time and they’re mostly suitable for spring ski tours . Even the smaller summits could be affected by conditions . It’s better to have good knowledge about the summits to choose wisely . Simple ski tours around ski resort is more safer if you are not confident . Normally with good condition , Alborz gives you great potential for wonderful skiing .

ski touring in Alborz

What is very special about Alborz ?

Easy access , wonderful summits for ski tours , some of the most famous ski tours in iran and mostly great snowpacks are the outstanding marks of skiing in Alborz .

I’ll be happy to help if you have further questions about Alborz .

Hamid Shafaghi , IFMGA , KMGA , Mountain and ski guide

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