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Sabalan Mountain

Photos by Raouf Mohseni

Sabalan is an inactive stratovolcano in Ardabil province of northwestern Iran. It is the third highest mountain in Iran and has a permanent crater lake formed at its summit. Sabalan has a ski resort (Alvares) and different tourist areas such as the Sarein spa. The mountain is known for its beautiful vistas, including the Shirvan gorge, where few climbers ever venture.

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Sabalan is located in north-west of Iran. The mountain offers many attractions throughout the year. On the slopes of the mountain the mineral water from springs attracts large amounts of tourists each year, many have faith in healing properties believed to be in the springs. The nomadic people of the area live in small villages, with their round “Yurt” tents appealing to tourism. Sabalan is a volcanic peak, and at 3,600 metres you can see gigantic ‘sculptures’ which are eroded volcanic stone outcrops which resemble animals, birds and insects.

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The climbing surface includes rocks of various sizes (Class 2 scrambling), and a moderate degree of fitness is required to climb it. The climb from the base camp starts easy, becomes challenging mid way, then eases in gradient near the top. The lake on the top remains frozen except for about four weeks in late July to early August.

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