After Damavand, Alam-Kuh is the second highest mountain of Iran. It is located in Mazandaran province and as part of Alborz Mountain Range. You find Alam-Kuh in a region known as Takht-e Suleiman which if we translate it to English would mean Solomon’s Throne. The name of the mountain is a combination of two words, “Alam” and “Kuh”. Looking through Dehkhoda Dictionary you will see that Alam means flag, famous, tall as well as “what is surrounded by sky”, and Kuh means mountain. Together, they come to mean a mountain that is surrounded by sky which refers to the height of Alam-Kuh. What’s more, all around Alam-Kuh, you can find peaks that are above 4000m.
The majestic mountain is around 4848m, and here we like to call it the K2 of the country. In trekking tours, we usually suggest a program that includes both Alam-Kuh and Damavand. Then, Alam-Kuh would provide the necessary acclimatization for Damavand. Besides, it would give you a chance to visit the Caspian Sea and have a very relaxing time in one of the northern cities of Iran.
If Damavand is known as the highest mountain of Iran, Alam-Kuh is known as the most technical one, mainly because of its big wall in Alamchal area.
If you want to visit Alam-Kuh and you are in Tehran, then you have to head to Chalous road. Through this road, you will get to Kelardasht and then you have to move forward to Roodbarak and Vandarbon (2250m.). Next, you have to choose the route you want to take. The main routes of the mountain are Hesarchal and Alamchal. First, we will go through Hesarchal.
Alam-Kuh Ascend: Hesarchal Route
Hesarchal is the easier route of the two. From Vandarbon you ride 4×4 cars to an area called Tangeh Galu (3200m.). Here you will unload your luggage and mules will carry them for you. Then, the trekking starts, and after 2-3 hours you will get to Hesarchal (3750m.). Hesarchal is a vast field, where most mountaineers camp there. The tour operator company Atour Adventure Group has a summer camp there that provides services such as tent, mattress, warm freshly cooked meal, hot and cold beverage, and electricity to mountaineers.
Next day you should go for acclimatization. Therefore, you should choose one of the 4000m peaks nearby and summit it. This will make you ready for the big summit. At last, it’s summit time, it will take around 5-6 hours to reach Alam-Kuh. Then, you will get back to camp where warm food awaits you. After proper rest, you descend with lots of memories and probably photos.
Alam-Kuh Ascend: Alamchal Route
While Hesarchal route is more popular and common, Alamchal route is what Alam-Kuh is famous for. This route is more difficult and leads to a big wall. But first, you have to reach from Vandarbon to Alamchal. Unlike Hesarchal, the trekking for this route begins from Vandarbon. The trekking continues until you reach Sarchal where the refuge is located. The next day, you have a 4-hour trek ahead of you to get to Alamchal where you have to camp for the night. Here you have to once again decide which route to take, for there are various ways including climbing the wall, or the rocky routes that surround it. Carrying luggage with mules is partly possible for this route as well.
Alam-Kuh is one of the main destination of Iran and one of the most popular one. Considering the variety of paths, it can be an ideal destination for rock-climbing, mountaineering, and trekking.