Fragile Beauty: The Vanishing Icefall of Damavand

Submission 2024

Photo of Damavand Icefall moments before collapse, highlighting its fragile beauty.
Submitted by:Hossein Rasaei
Department:Tourism and Nature-based Sports
Faculty:Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

On June 24, 2019, while leading European climbers on Mount Damavand’s south face, I captured the Damavand Icefall moments before its collapse at 5000 meters. This image, once a staple in trekking guides, now marks the fleeting nature of ice landscapes due to climate change. It vividly documents the rapid environmental transformations in mountainous regions, significantly affecting both biodiversity and mountain tourism. This photo directly supports my PhD research on climate change’s impact on mountainous destinations and tourism, aiming to enhance awareness of climate change’s drastic effects on our natural and recreational environments. It stands as a call to action, urging responses to mitigate these urgent environmental challenges.

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How was your image created?
The image was captured using a Samsung A60 smartphone, selected for its ability to vividly capture details under diverse lighting conditions without the need for additional photographic equipment. Shot at 4608 x 2240 pixels resolution and a DPI of 150, the photo was taken without flash in natural light to authentically represent the serene yet somber atmosphere of the climb. The composition emphasizes the stark contrast between the enduring rock and the ephemeral ice, underlining the icefall’s vulnerability moments before its collapse. This incident marked a profound personal and professional turning point, reinforcing my focus on the impacts of climate change on mountain environments.