Derak name – because it looks like A Pregnant Woman which means Mother, so it is called as Derak
Height – 2900m, 9514 ft | Location – Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Peak at – Zagros | Type – Sedimentary (loose mud and stones mostly)
Grade – Easy – Moderate – Difficult (depends on the height, season and route)
Best time –
Early morning in winters as evenings get freezing cold, negative temperatures
Late evenings in summer as summers are really hot in Shiraz until late in the long days
Our Climb – 9 November 2017, 5:00 a.m. local time | Trekkers – 6 | Temperature – 7°C
My Experience – Accepting Fear – It’s okay to be Afraid
It’s impossible to climb these fascinating mountains that lay for hundreds of kilometers, I exclaimed when I saw them from the aeroplane, while arriving at Shiraz!
Mr.Reza arrived at 4:30a.m. to take us – Sachin and me, to Derak. Everyone said “it’s an easy trek”, so I excitedly join in the group of weekend trekkers to Derak, at early morning in the chill weather. On arriving at the foot hills we meet – Mr. Mojtaba and Mr. Mehrdad and the walk begins on a nicely laid path at an inclination of 10°-15° up. Only when my nose started running, I understood my body is working to warm in and that is the sign of normalcy. We are lucky to have the beautiful moonlight, saving us from holding a torch with our hands outside the jacket.
The hour before the dawn is the darkest hour of the night, someone had once said, yet in this darkest hour, the shining moonlight is giving us a good view of the light brown mountain that seem to shed itself on us anytime it desires. The unpreparedness is taking over me, making me feel tired even before the actual climb but the curiosity of stepping on the “impossible” that my mind believes is driving me. Mr. Cheetah, I would prefer to name Mr. Mehrdad, as he is the fastest trekker, the records say, he is far ahead while Mr. Mojtaba, Sachin and Reza follow. Reza is slowed down to accompany me. Breathing becomes difficult and the urge to inhale through mouth increases but the biting air dries the throat quickly thereby making it difficult to breathe.
Walking on the zigzag path of stones, skeptical about reaching the destination of 800m height, Sachin and Reza jump back to help me as I am struck on the wrong route I have stepped in, finding it difficult to get down three steps of the cut rock. I am wearing my Himalayan trek shoes yet the fear of falling down by slipping from the rock as the edgy zigzag path has space enough for just one person to stand. Fear takes better of me, until Sachin shouts at me pulling me to safety while Reza holds my other hand.
The view is beautiful, the path high, dawn setting in, birds chirping. We are late, we are far, we are together. Sips of water and the view of Shiraz city, the valley view between the two edges of engulfing mountain, raises the spirit to go high up.
“Wow. look at the yellow line, the hot man, the Sun is rising, it’s spectacular”.
Sachin, Reza and I are awestruck with the magic the yellow rays spell on the design of clouds in the subtle blue sky.
Normally, Reza would reach the destination 40 minutes earlier to our current time but I was holding him back. Sachin is unbelievably faster in his sports shoes, which I would never attempt climbing up with such shoes.
“Reza, Reza, help, I am struck, my feet are drifting back and there’s nothing to hold ahead” Reza pulls me one step up and I find a safe landing place.
I quit! I told. Reza you go, I don’t want to come up anymore, because it will be difficult for me to get back. Sitting here I’m thinking, I can actually go up and complete it, I may never get a chance to climb Derak up but I’m glad I stopped. I know I am on a mission here, mission to fulfill my professional goals, Derak, I have come for my love of mountains, the fascination of climbing the unclimbale I had once thought. I am glad I know my body better than anyone else, I underestimate it often but I will not force it to where it does not belong. My body is precious, it represents my mind and my soul. It’s OK to say no. No. I can’t do this. It’s slippery.. But it’s just 3 steps, I know I can. But I don’t want to. One slip, and I’m all down on the stoned levels. I am in Iran for work and that’s my purpose. Mountain is my love, my passion. I shall not lose my purpose for my passion. But if this was a mountain trip meant only for trekking, I would have still required help from other people. It’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to not to be strong as others. It’s okay to accept your limits. It’s okay to be what I am. Only I know my horizons better, only I know when to push them far, only I am the best the way I am. I shall improve step by step, yet I may never climb such a path of stones and mud, loose or strong, or I may just do it as bad as now. I am glad I am struck here in my fear.
Woah, look the cheetah of the mountains, is here. “Are you okay?, come with us, Mr. Reza shall come with Mr. Sachin behind”
Mr. Cheetah takes the left. Phooof!!!! I am struck here in fear of the path on right and here it is, the way down on left! See, fear is indeed a blessing in disguise, had I gone down to challenge my fear, I would have been lost maybe for a while or forever, but now I have Mr. Cheetah, the trekking pole from Mr. Pole (Mr. Mojtaba, because he lends me one of his trekking pole gauging my fear) and the company of Mr. PhD
I am glad I didn’t challenge myself. I didn’t succumb to my fear. I paused.
Sitting at the spot where I quit, I feel calm and satisfied.
The journey down is fun, ironically I wonder why did I take so much time to climb up, funnily, at this point where I’m standing, I was so afraid while going up that Reza and Sachin pulled me forcefully for me to step out of my fear of sliding down from the laterally cut rock. I am enjoying the company of Mr. PhD (Mr. Farzad, aspires to pursue PhD and that’s inspiring enough to keep learning) as he shares his pride on Indians being the most intelligent people with the highest resumes, degrees, students and professionals in the USA, his dream destination for Doctorate.
The zigzag path is now heading to the straight route at approximate downward inclination of 10°. My feet are hurt by the stones underneath but the knees are spared from the shocks. Families with children climbing up in the chill wind and warm Sun. Our plan of climbing early morning is commendable as we don’t have to sweat and dehydrate like late climbers. Mashallah! Soon we can savor the cookies and cake we’ve bought for this trip. Mr. Cheetah and Mr. Pole are waiting for me.
I thank Reza, for making my dream come true, of climbing the mountain, I once thought would never be possible. Thank you Reza!!
Reza and Sachin arrive an hour later, all credit goes to me for their delay, with a scratch on Reza’s forearm, as he slipped exactly at the same place where I quit. While I am writing this, I didn’t know that a fascinating journey would end in so much taste –
Yes, It’s okay to be afraid sometimes, as you are the best judge for yourself, you know when to challenge the fear and when to let it be. Peace with your own-self is all that matters in the end.