Zagros, which means “Great Mountain”, were named by Iranian and Indo-European immigrants. These mountains are found in Asia, and are the longest mountain ranges covering Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. They cover the Eastern part of Turkey and the North-Western part of Iran. Their total length is 1,500 km, which is equal to 932 miles. The highest point of the Zagros Mountains is Dena.
Dena is a smaller range within the Zagros Mountains, and has a length of over 80 kilometers and an average width of 15 km. It is found within the boundaries of Isfahan, Kohgiluyeh, Boyer-Ahmad, Chaharmahal, and Bakhtiari provinces.
Mount Dena has more than forty peaks, which are over 4,000 meters high. The highest peak in the Dena sub-range and the entire Zagros Mountains is Qash Mastan, which is 4,409 meters above sea level. However, there also other peaks that are popular with visitors, for example, Hose Daal, which is close to a city called Sisakht, situated 30 km to the north of Yasuj town.
The Zagros mountain ranges are divided up to many sub-ranges that vary from 10 kilometers to 250 kilometers in width. Zard Kuh is another high point of the ranges, which is 4,548 kilometers. The highest peak on Iran’s side is Mount Cheekah Dar, which is 3,611 meters above sea level.
In the south the summits are lower than the north. In the Far Province, summits are lower than 4,000 meters, but rich contents of limestone rocks make them an attractive site to climbers.
Photo Credit: CC-BY-SA JOSHUA DOUBEK
To climb the Zagros from either the North or the South, one needs guides who are well versed with the landscape to help you go through. It is also worth noting that the rainfall in these ranges varies from 600 millimeters to 800 millimeters, and during this period various rivers that meander through the mountains overflow.
One of the interesting things that climbers can come across if they climb from the Iraqi side are meeting and interacting with Kurdish people. They welcome you to their homes for delicious traditional Kurdish meals prepared by the locals. Other activities include dressing up like the locals and getting to know the fascinating local culture. By the way, visiting these ranges also promotes the local economy.
Past this point up to the peak, one is able to get a great panoramic view of the scenery and the country that lies below. These ranges have not been explored greatly previously, and there are no tourism infrastructures up to the city, that’s why it’s necessary to carry all the gear and organize every detail with a guide.
A great plus that comes with visiting the Zagros Mountains is visiting one of the oldest citadels found in the world called Erbil. To climb successfully, one should ensure they arrange with accommodation and food, and have insurance to cover any accidents.