a young man looking at the summit of Damavand and get prepared for the climbing

How To Prepare For Climbing Damavand Mountain?

Time to read: 11 Mins | Published on May 4, 2020
How to prepare for climbing Damavand mountain? Well, that’s one of the most important questions to ask when you decide to step into the unknows of a new mountain.

If you’ve started reading this article, you’ve probably thought about ascending Damavand summit before. You might or might not already know that this conically shaped peak with the height of 5600 meters is the highest summit in the Middle East, and also the highest volcanic summit in Asia.  It costs much less to ascend this summit compared to its sister peaks with similar heights across the world. However, that does not mean you should underestimate how to prepare to climb Damavand mountain both physically and mentally. Also, it will play a crucial role for you to have the right equipment and diet during your ascent journey.

It’s interesting to mention that according to the head of Iran Mountaineering federation, during 2017, more than 25000 people have ascended Damavand summit from which 1500 individuals were non-Iranian climbers. Therefore, that only goes to show how much this beautiful mountain summit is loved among international mountaineers.

Also, having clear routes, decent shelters, and accommodation camps and not having to face snow and rock walls on these routes are among the most important reasons that Damavand summit successful ascent rate is very high among international hikers.

In this article, we’ll tell you all about how you should prepare to climb Damavand mountain on every level. Therefore, you’ll learn to be mentally and physically ready for ascents with similar heights as Damavand. Your stomach will also thank you during your trekking journey as you’ll know everything about the right food and snacks during your adventures!

Climbers on the way to Damavand camp3

Damavand summit successful ascent rate is very high among international hikers.

First Step for a Successful Ascent: Prepare the Mind!

To prepare for climbing Damavand mountain, you’ve got to prepare yourself mentally for the challenges you’ll face during the ascent. One thing to help calm your mind is trusting that our Damavand climbing guides in our Iran tours are committed to be by your side. They will help you during all these challenges and ensure your successful ascent to the summit. Another tip that helps to prepare the mind is to divide your ascent journey into small pieces. So, only think of what’s ahead of you for the next hour during your trekking journey. Take it one step at a time.

Also, the harder and more challenging routes bring even more joy once you conquer the peak! Keep thinking of the incredible pride that will fill your heart once you take the return route back home.

Second Step for a Successful Ascent: Prepare the Body!

Imagine for a day-long ascent, you’d need to partake in +12 hours of heavy physical activities at high altitude. Therefore, you’d need to have a prepared body for a successful ascent.  Most of the climbers who decide to ascent Damavand will successfully conquer the summit if all conditions are suitable.

However, it is essential to know having a prepared body will ensure to reduce the risks of AMS (Acute mountain sickness). Also, knowing how to prepare for climbing Damavand mountain physically will make your experience a much calmer and peaceful journey. In the next sections of the article, we’ll discuss more how to prepare your body for a successful ascent. This information could be helpful for all your hiking endeavors and not just Damavand climb.

Third Step for a Successful Ascent: Nutritious Diet!

The food we eat every day include proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fat, etc. However, it’s much better to have a controlled diet the days before your ascent to ensure you give your body all the nutrients it needs for a successful ascent. Diet is one of the most crucial factors in how to prepare for climbing Damavand mountain and any other summit. The diet for a successful ascent will mainly include but not get limited to proteins and carbohydrates. We’ll explore in short, the best diet during and before your ascent in the next sections of this article.

How to Prepare Our Body for Climbing Damavand?

Just like any other sport, the best way to get better at climbing and prepare yourself for an ascent is to climb and climb and climb. However, if you live in a place where you do not have access to any mountains, you do not need to worry. There are other ways you could prepare your body. Having discipline and goals in your physical activity plan and staying committed to your plan are two of the main elements to ensure a successful ascent journey. You’ll need to keep the below three points in mind as you plan for your physical preparedness:

  • Raising your power and muscle strength
  • Enhancing your heart strength and cardiovascular system’s function
  • Adjusting to height differences (acclimatization)

Enhancing Muscle Strength and Cardiovascular Functionality

Running

One of the best activities that complement mountain climbing is running. This sport will not only heighten the strength of your lower body parts but also enhance your cardiovascular fitness. That leads to easier breathing while you are on your way to ascending a summit! Running can be a great way to prepare yourself for climbing Damavand mountain as well.

One of the most effective plans for running is to schedule a plan to run 3 days of the week between 6-10 kilometers. Of course, running long routes is hard work. Therefore, we suggest you start with shorter routes and increase the distance by 500 meters every time. In the end, you won’t believe the progress you’ll make by the end of the month. Some tips to keep in mind while running are to avoid running downhills because it will hurt your knees in the long run. Also, make sure to wear suitable running shoes, drink enough water, and stay hydrated and also don’t forget to breathe deep and continuously.

If running is not your thing, any sports that raise your strength and resistance (two main elements for physical preparedness during climbing) can be a good practice. You can participate in those activities days before your ascent journey.

One of the other sports that can help you prepare for climbing Damavand mountain is cycling. This sport just like running can strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular system while filling your heart with joy. Also, you could add uphill and harder routes to your normal route to make it even more fun!

Be sure to add activities that enhance your lower body strength to your daily plan. As you become more skilled and get more prepared for climbing Damavand mountain, you could learn the needed techniques for acclimatization programs. That will make you ready for your big day waiting in the horizon!

a man running in the mountain and the trees in the background

One of the best activities that complement mountain climbing is running.

Adjusting to Height Conditions or Acclimatization

However, the third factor in physical preparedness, which is acclimatization is a bit more complicated than the previous two factors in preparing for climbing Damavand mountain.

Acclimatization

Basically, there is no concern about adjusting to height for heights less than 2500 meters from the sea level. However, as the height increases, the air pressure will become less. Therefore, each breathe will include less and less numbers of oxygen molecules. That means your body will need to work a bit harder to gain the oxygen it needs. The body will try to do this by taking a faster and deeper breath. That will be visible, especially while partaking in activities such as taking a step. Naturally, your body will be short of breath after each try, and resting a bit can have a crucial role in reducing respiratory exhaustion.

The best way to acclimatize before your ascent is to hit the mountains and ascent higher heights gradually. To prepare for climbing Damavand mountain, these ascents have to take place with calmness, and you would need to avoid high speed while taking a hike! Spending the night at higher heights without first adjusting to the height difference can be quite bothersome and lead to respiratory and breathing issues. It could also cause nausea, headaches, and dizziness.

climbers look at the lake on Damavand acclimatization plan

Lar lake view from around Camp3 in the acclimatization plan

In very intense scenarios, hydrocephalus could even lead to brain inflammation and injury. As this sickness becomes more visible, the person will be sleepy and dizzy for hours. They will also lose their balance while walking. The sickness might also cause them to have double-vision. In the worst cases, it could also cause pulmonary edema. The cause of lung inflammation in individuals that have ascended to higher heights is that their lungs are filled with fluid. That can lead to extreme sickness and can take a few minutes to show visible signs. These signs can be traced in breathing issues and, in some cases, followed with a gurgling sound in the patient’s chest. These signs have to get diagnosed fast enough to carry the mountaineers down from the higher heights.

In case you do not have the possibility of climbing to high mountains before your Damavand ascent, you could also plan to come a bit earlier to Iran.  That way, you can ascend one other +4000 meters high summit in Iran. This could help you physically prepare for climbing Damavand mountain beforehand. Also, some of the ascent schedules in our trekking tour packages have been designed with a slower pace. They also avoid sudden movement to higher heights, which could help you acclimatize more appropriately.

Some other important tips to prevent AMS are correcting your breathing pattern during the ascent. It is also helpful to consume enough liquids and water and have decent night sleep. Our Damavand climbing guides will ensure to help you with all of that during your trekking journey. They’ll make sure to increase your success rate and be by your side to conquer the Damavand summit healthily and happily.

How to Have a Decent Diet for Your Ascent Journey?

Diet Before Your Damavand Trekking

To prepare for climbing Damavand mountain, you have to eat food from which you don’t feel either hungry or too heavy and full. If you are planning to go to a short and heavy climb, it’s better to consume carbohydrates that get absorbed quickly. Good examples are dried fruits, bananas, oatmeal, potatoes, or rice pudding. However, if you are planning to partake in a lighter but longer schedule, it’s better to eat carbohydrates that your body digests slowly. That will be foods such as brown rice, beans, and snacks that release their energy slowly.

When you consume anything, be sure to eat 30 grams of carbohydrates like a banana 30 minutes before your ascent. To prepare for climbing Damavand, it is also helpful to eat 20 grams of protein 30 minutes before your ascent. That will ensure amino acids will enter your bloodstream and prevent you from getting muscle cramps and also feeling tired. You could have a piece of turkey or two boiled eggs as an example.

Before your ascent, be sure to stay away from consuming fatty food to properly prepare for climbing Damavand mountain. Your body digests fats very slowly, and fatty foods could lead to gastrointestinal complaints during your trekking journey!

Diet During Your Damavand Trekking

If you ask how to prepare for climbing Damavand mountain when it comes to your diet during your ascent, the answer will be quite easy to follow. For heavy ascents be sure to consume food that will provide enough storage of glycogen for you. That can ensure you get the energy you need at any time. Every 75 to 90 minutes, consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates. If your blood sugar drops after an hour of climbing, be sure to eat every 60 minutes.

If it takes longer for you to eat something, your muscles will decay, and exhaustion will take over you. That will result in less successful ascent. For the ascents that are very difficult scheduled in a short amount of time, ensure to eat high-quality carbohydrates. Those can be the best source of energy fuel for your body. If you want to prepare for climbing Damavand mountain from the hardest route in a short time frame, eat carbohydrates that get digested slower. Therefore, you don’t feel so empty and hungry during the evening. Dried berries, wild rice, wide leaf vegetables, sweet potatoes, split peas, beans, and honey are good examples. Those foods are full of vitamins, nutritious ingredients, anti-oxidants, and fiber. All of that will help to reduce the inflammation and provide your needed energy.

During very challenging ascents, consume 80-100 grams of carbohydrates every 60 minutes. You could eat fruits such as apples and mangos. Peanut butter and honey are also great examples. Don’t forget to drink water every 30 minutes especially if you consume jelly-like snacks.

It’s important to remember ascending Damavand summit won’t need a lot of professional background. Also, you do not need professional equipment like the other summits of the same height. However, because of the higher altitudes and the duration of your ascent schedule, you might face some minor challenges. We’ve designed our Iran tour packages in a way that all of the above tips are maintained during your journey. Also, knowing how to prepare for climbing Damavand mountain will ensure you’ll have a memorable and successful ascent on your journey.

tourist sitting around dinner table in the tent of camp3 Damavand

Dinner at Camp3 Damavand

Note: We have many tours of Damavand trekking that you could choose between them based on your trip duration or your body readiness.

how to prepare for climbing Damavand

Saeid Mobaseri

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