Mehrchal, a beautiful mountain near Tehran

Mehrchal, a beautiful mountain near Tehran

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 7, 2010
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer

Mehrchal, July 7

I may be wrong but I think among all the capital cities in the world Tehran is the only one (with 12 million people) where you can do ice climbing in the middle of summer. It takes you only half an hour of driving (20 miles) and 15 minutes of hiking to get to the ice wall.
I was in Tehran from June 19th till July 12th, and I went to a couple of mountains. One of them was Mehrchal (3921m). Mehrchal massif includes several peaks with 8 of them higher than 3500m. There are lots of scenic routes and spectacular areas in this region. One of them is Hassandar canyon. This spectacular canyon with impressive rock-walls is one of the most avalanche-prone areas in the whole region.
Hassandar canyonHassandar canyon

In one area in this canyon the thickness of ice/snow can reach more than 20 meters. This is where people can do ice climbing.
Hassandar ice cave

Hassandar ice wallHassandar ice wall

The interesting thing is that it takes only about 15 minutes from where you park your car to get to the ice wall. This area is one of the places where the members of the ice climbing teams in Iran do practice in summer time.
Hassandar ice caveHassandar ice cave

Hasandar ice wallHassandar ice wall

Unfortunately, this year (2010) Tehran had a very dry winter with very low precipitation and not many avalanches. On top of that the unprecedented high temperature (above 100 for 4 weeks in a row in Tehran) caused the snowfields to be much smaller than those in the normal years.
Hassandar snow/ice field

Hassandar This part of the canyon is usually filled with ice/snow early in summer

There are also a couple of nice waterfalls in this canyon.
Hassandar waterfall (1)Hassandar waterfall (1)

Hassandar waterfall (2)Hassandar waterfall (2)

I made some plans to go to Mehrchal with 2 friends On July 7. There are several routes going to Mt. Mehrchal. We took the one starting from the village of Zagoon (zaygan). To make the trip more comfortable my friends brought along a donkey. They filled the donkey’s pack saddle with food. The donkey was an interesting one. He had some mental problems, so that apparently a while back he bit a dog (a German shepherd one) on the back and killed him. In another incident he attacked another donkey passing through the river in Zagoon, and tried to drown him!!! However, he was nice with the human beings.
The donkeyThe mentally retarded donkey!

We started the hike at around 6:00AM. First we had to hike up the Hessarak canyon. At the beginning the slopes were gentle. However, they gradually became very steep. On the way there was a farm breeding ostriches.
Ostrich farmOstrich farm

Hesarak canyonSlopes are getting steep

On the way up the views are very nice.
Hessarak canyonA nice waterfall

Hessarak canyon

After about one and a half hour we reached a spring called bacheh-owak. We decided to have breakfast next to the spring. The view was spectacular.
Bacheh owak springBacheh Owak spring

Mt. AshyordMt. Ashyord

Mt. TochalMt. Tochal

Grazing horsesA couple of horses are grazing

After about an hour we continued our way towards Mt. Mehrchal. We had to pass Mt. Molarsam (3200m), Mt. Bozghaleh-chal (3550m) and Mt. Pirzankoloom (3850m) before we get to Mt. Mehrchal (3921m). The weather was unusually warm, and everytime we got close to any snow field the shepherd dogs laid down on the snow to let the heat escape from their body. The temperature in Tehran was 108 on that day.
On the way towards MolarsamOn the way towards Molarsam peak

Kholeno massifKholeno massif


After about half an hour we reached Molarsam peak. I spent some time to take some pictures, then we continued towards Bozghale-chal.
Molarsam peakMolarsam peak


Towards Bozghaleh-chalOn the way towards Bozghaleh-chal

After about half an hour we were on top of Bozghaleh-chal. It took another half an hour to go from Bozghaleh-chal to Pirzankoloom. The vegetation in this area was diverse but the most important plant was thyme which is very expensive. You could find plenty of them in this area. We decided to pick some on the way back.
Pirzankoloom & MehrchalPirzankoloom & Mehrchal

Mehrchal & SaiMehrchal & Sai

Unfortunately, the weather was hazy and the view was not very clear.
Kholeno massifKholeno massif from the summit of Pirzankoloom



Looking SE from PirzankoloomAtashkooh & Mehrchal from Pirzankoloom

After spending some time on Pirzankoloon, we decided to go to Mehrchal, and have our lunch on the way back on Pirzankoloom. We left the donkey on Pirzankoloom and started the last part of our hike towards Mehrchal. It was surprising that in the whole trip we didn't see anybody in the mountain except a shepherd near Bacheh-owak spring. Again, after about half an hour we were on top of Mehrchal.
On the way to MehrchalOn the way to mehrchal from Pirzankoloom

Mehrchal summitMehrchal summit

AtashkoohAtashkooh & Saka from Mehrchal

LavasanatLavasanat and Latian lake from the summit of Mehrchal

We spent some time on Mehrchal summit enjoying the views and taking pictures. The weather was very hazy so that after 1:00PM Damavand was totally invisible. At around 2:00PM we were back on top of Pirzankoloom having lunch. We picked some thyme on our way back to Bozghaleh-chal.
We had our last stop again next to Bacheh-owak spring making tea and chatting about the trip. We were back in Zagoon at around 6:00PM.

Getting there

There are several ways to go to Mehrchal. The most popular way is going from the village of Emameh. Another way is to take the route from the village of Garmabdar. We took the route from the village of Zagoon. To get there, from NE of Tehran take the Lashgarak road and go towards Fasham. From Fasham square take the road to your right going to Zagoon. After about 6Km you will be in Zagoon. Park your car there, and start your hike from Hessarak canyon.

To go to Hassandar, about 1Km before Zagoon to your right you can see Hassandar canyon.


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nader - Jul 27, 2010 11:07 am - Voted 10/10


I look forward to seeing this trip report. On the farsi climbing site I have been reading that recently a group of 80 mountain blogger climbed this peak (So-oode Ghalam). You can read about it here:

I wanted to climb Mehrchal back in 2005 but it seemed to have 2000 m of vertical climb and I did not have much time. I liked the pictures you took. I had climbed the Kharsang Kooh and Janestoon Peaks. It is good to see them from this angle.


kamran - Jul 28, 2010 10:05 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Mehrchal

Thank you Nader for your votes and comments.
I got very busy yesterday, and I didn't get a chance to work on the trip report. I will finish it today. I enjoyed the trip very much. I took the route from Zagoon with 1700m vertical climb. Most people go to Mehrchal from Garmabdar or Emameh but I like the route from Zagoon better.

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