Climbing in Iran
posted on November, 2018

My recent trip to Iran was different from my
previous travels.
Usually I would go to a place with the specific
objective to try a certain hard route or to
participate in a competition. This time, together
with my boyfriend Marco we had planned a series of
activities and wanted to visit as much as we could
of this country. At this point I would like to
highlight, that what I consider the most wonderful
present I received from almost 20 years of
competition activity are friendships all around the
World. 6 years ago, me and Marco met this small
group of Iranian climbers at theyr first Ice
climbing World Cup competition and from this a
friendship evolved, that brought us finally to
accept theyr invitation and go and visit them in
Iran. We knew that competiton Ice climbing has been
developed a lot in Iran over the past years and so
we wanted to organize a workshop to share our
training experiences with the locals. I particularly
enjoyed the women's course, it was wonderful to see
this group of women between 13 and 40 years of age,
all eager to learn and enjoy the climbing discipline
I also love so much.
Our second task of the trip saw us exchange iceaxes
and crampons with climbing shoes and chalk bag, as I
was officially invited to participate in the Bisotun
Rockclimbing Festival. The village of Bisotun is
situated in the western part of the country in the
province of Kermanshah and it's 1.200 meter high
wall is considered one of the highest in the World.
At the moment there do exist about 50 multipitch
routes, but we decided to visit some sportclimbing
areas instead. The crag of Cheshme Sohrab surprised
us with some amazing routes of almost 40 meters of
lenght. I was very happy to be able to climb the
hardest route of the crag, a wonderful 8a+ on the
first day of our visit. The wall is vertical with
tecnical climbing in it's first part and then
becomes more overhanging with physical climbing in
the end. The second day we visited the crag of
Chalabeh, which is situated in a canyon and consists
of different walls of various heights. I mus say
that I did not expect to find such a high quality
limestone to climb on.
Sometimes it happens to me that I see a picture of a
climbing place in a magazine or on the internet and
I am so impressed, that I only want to go there, no
matter how far away this is. This was the case
with the climbing area of Sefid Mountain, also
called White Mountain, in Isfahan. This rock stands
on the South border of the city and has the form of
a mushroom, growing out of the ground.
The climbing style is very steep, on incredibly good
pockets and holds. I have never seen a similar kind
of rock and climbing directly above the apartment
towers of Teheran made for a unique setting.
Isfahan is a very touristic city thanks to its
cultural heritage. The Naghsh-e Jahan Square is one
of the biggest squares in the World and together
with the Shah Mosque and different bridges on the
Zayanderud river, they have all been declared World
Heritage sites by the Unesco. Unfortunately we only
had a few hours to visit this fabulous sites befor
we got on a taxi back to Teheran.
From Teheran we reached Polour, the mountain town
that is used as a starting point for Mount Damavand.
This quiet vulcano with it's 5.609 meters is not
only the highest mountain of Iran, but also of
the whole Middle East. Me and Marco wanted to make
our first experience on a high mountain and for both
of us it was our first time above an altitude of
4.000 meters. We spent two nights in the Bargah-e-
Sewom shelter at 4.200 meters, before attempting the
summit. Because of the high altitude and our too
short acclimatization time we slept very bad and the
way to the summit felt very very exhausting. But I
the spectacular view and the happyness to have it
made to the summit and to have won over the
tiredness, paid back for all the fatigue.
The last objective of our trip was bolting a new
Drytooling route, because we wanted to create a
training route on which the locals could measure
themselves in this quite new climbing discipline in
Iran. After spending 3 hard days of bolting in a
overhanging wall, Marco finished the new route and I
was able to do the first ascent of it, followed by
our dear friend Masoud. We proposed the grade
of D13-, which means that this new route becomes the
hardest Drytooling route of the country. Me and
Marco decided for the name 'La via della seta', the
Italian name for Silk Road, remembering this ancient
road that connected our two countries of
Italy and Iran.
This trip was incredibly various, at times also
quite exhausting with all the different activities,
travels and the quantity of luggage we had to move.
But it was also incredibly rewarding and we will
never forget all the natural and cultural beauty we
saw and on top of all, the hospitality we