4253 m, 13954 ft
51.56229 E, 36.07046 N
Meeshchal rises to the northeast of the 4387 m Mt. Kholeno the Great in the Central Alborz Mountains of northern Iran. To the southeast, a 4150 m saddle separates Meeshchal from Kholeno the Great. Between Meeshchal and Kholeno the Great, you will find a broad U-Shaped and snow filled valley that ranges in elevation from 3800-4100 m. This valley gives rise to one of the branches of the Varengeh Rood River. The western slopes of Meeshchal form the very steep eastern wall of the mentioned valley.
(R) Meeshchal, (L) Sarkharsang
To the north, a rocky ridgetop connects Meeshchal to the 4203 m Sarkharsang Peak. The eastern and southern slopes of Meeshchal drop more than a thousand meters to the upper portions of the Lar River. The summit of Meeshchal is made of two rocky high points with the same elevation.
From Gavan Poshteh
Kholeno & Meeshchal
Meeshcal is a long way from any trailhead. A round trip to the summit of Meeshchal will take at least one and a half days. The closest route is via Kholeno the Great Peak. From the summit of Kholeno the Great (4387 m), you will descend a scree slope to a 4150 m saddle and then do class III scrambling on a rocky ridgetop to reach Meeshchal (The distance is just below 2 Km, see picture below). Another longer approach from the Varengeh Rood River Valley is also possible (See “Route to Kholeno Glacier”).
4203 m, 13790 ft
51.56367 E, 36.07994 N
Following a rocky ridgetop 1.5 Km north from the summit of Meeshchal will take you slowly down to a 4130 m saddle before abruptly rising to the summit of Sarkharsang Peak. The northern and western slopes of Sarkharsang Peak drop to the upper branches of the Varengeh Rood River and its southeastern slopes go down to the bottom of the Lar River Valley. To the north of Sarkharsang Peak you will find a snow-filled bowl surrounded by rocky slopes. To the northwest, Sarkharsang’s ridgeline creates a 3957 m sub-peak. From certain parts of the Varengeh Rood Valley, the sub-peak might be mistaken for Sarkharsang Peak.
Sarkharsang on the left
Sarkharsang & P3957
Sarkharsang & Palvan
Mt. Kholeno & its glacier
There seems to be a small glacier on the north slopes of Mt. Kholeno the Great (4387 m) in a valley that is bound to the east by Kholeno’s northeastern ridgeline and to the west by a very long ridgeline that gives rise to the Siyoonza Peak (4208 m), Asbichal Peak (4200 m) and Point 4091 m. Detailed information about this glacier seems to be non-existent. All sources that I have ever seen about glaciers in Iran limit their discussion to the glaciers on Mt. Damavand, Takhte Soleyman Massif, Sabalan Massif and Zard Kooh area (see "External Links" below). The information below comes from my own observations and estimations. I am not a geologist and have visited the Kholeno area only in mid June when much of the north facing slopes were still covered by the remains of winter snow. This makes it difficult to distinguish a true glacier from a seasonal snow field (at least from far away). While many of the valleys in the Kholeno Massif do point to glacial activity in the distant past, the mentioned valley is the only one that raises the possibility of the existence of an active glacier.
Mt. Kholeno & glacier on right
The glacial ice seems to start below the summit of Mt. Kholeno the Great at an elevation of 4200 m and drop steeply to 3900 m where it reaches a long field of crushed rock that fills most of the bottom of the valley. The field continues 500 m in length dropping to an elevation of 3800 m where it ends in a steep hill that is nothing more than a huge pile of rubble. This is probably the terminal moraine of the glacier. It sits where the glacial valley joins the valley that goes between the Meeschal & Kholeno the Great Peaks. This landscape seems to be a mini version of the glacial landscapes found among the peaks of the Takhte Soleyman Massif (60 Km to the NW) where the glacial ice seems to continue under the fields of crushed rock causing the rock to slowly move over long periods. It is not known to me if the glacier on Mt. Kholeno is still active (if the rock pile moves like a river).
Directions to Varengeh Rood Village:
From downtown Tehran drive the Tehran-Karaj Freeway 40 Km west to the town of Karaj and take the Chalus Road exit. Drive the Chalus Road up the mountains roughly 70 Km till the junction of the road that goes to Dizin Ski Area (2250 m). Turn onto this road and follow it a few Km till you see a side road on the left that goes to Varengeh Rood Village (2325 m). Turn onto this road and follow it a few Km till the end of it at the village (2450 m).
No fees/permits required.
Azad & Kaman Kooh
This text seems to be quite old but it is a good source about glaciers in Iran (It does not say anything about the glacier on Mt. Kholeno).