Rest day. In contrast to the Himalayas, where our rest days at mid altitude are quite active (yes ~6000m is considered mid-altitude :P), moving about all day, climbing higher and descending, making the daily altitude gain much easier to digest, climbing Damavand, on the other hand, is much more straight forward… or actually straight up, so we invested a good deal of our rest day doing just that: resting!
Well hydrating and sleeping in late to shake off all traces of altitude headaches were our plans for the morning. The sun was high up, and some of the more industrious climbers were already back down by the time we first removed ourselves from the comfort of our tent.
Camp 3 was bustling with activity, climbers were eagerly coming up the mountain from Camp 2, busying themselves with pitching tents, making friends with new neighbors, and sharing food and climbing expectations. While others were descending from the summit exhausted, but happy with their achievement, sharing their experience.
Among the people coming up from Camp 2 we found our happy Romanian friends who were, like us the previous day, familiarizing themselves with the camp, and readying themselves for some well deserve rest. After sharing impressions and plans, we too headed up the mountain for an acclimatization climb, as the next day we were going to do our summit bid, and we needed to also actively prepare for it.
As we were leaving Camp 3, the trail was busy with climbers returning from the summit, all hidden behind thick layer of clothing. Going up seemed easy and the now lonely trail had its own charm, but the summit was far higher, hidden from sight. We got our bearings for the next day: basically all straight up and then a short traverse to the left and we’re on the summit. Sounds easy, right? :)))
True to their friendly nature, our Iranian tent neighbors happily greeted us as we run into them while they were also out doing their acclimatization climb. It is of great joy and somehow of importance to them to take pictures with foreigners visiting their country, and they especially appreciated to see a woman climber. They had done previous training climbing the mountains around Tehran and now they were taking a pretty wise climbing approach, unlike many other local climbers who take on climbing Damavand as quick as possible.
Back in camp we readied all necessary for our summit bid, as, soon after midnight, we were going to start our summit push. The setting sun enchanted us one last time with its unparalleled beauty and soon we were tucked into our down sleeping bags to an early sleep as in a few hours’ time we would be leaving for Damavand’s summit and a long day of ascending and descending.Tags: acclimatization, camp 3, damavand, iran, volcano