Tochal is a mountain with a ski resort at the very edge of north Tehran. It’s a very popular destination for Tehranis to come to walk and relax, and a place to escape the hubbub of the city.
The first level, called the Roof of Tehran, is only 2 miles (about 3.2 km) from the khabgah in Velenjak so is very accessible. This level overlooks Tehran. There are coffee shops, small restaurants, other amusements, and a ticket booth for the cable car.
In September 2016 I went with a German fellow student from Dehkhoda up to peak of Tochal. It was a hot day in Velenjak but I took at coat just in case it was cold at the top. In the event I didn’t need it. I kept my sleeves rolled up all day.
It is possible to walk all the way to the summit, and some people do, but we took the cable car (or telecabin as it is named in Iran). This took about an hour, including stops.
The cable car does not go all the way to the summit. Station 7 is the terminus, and from then one must use one’s feet. The walk takes about 30 minutes. It is uphill all the way on loose rocks which slip away under the feet, but is not actually difficult.
At the summit
There are a couple of small shelters at the summit which people naturally tend to congregate around. It must be very cosy inside in the event of inclement weather. We chatted for a while with some of the other people up there.
According to GPS on my Huawei P8, the altitude where I took the photographs was 3,962 metres, or 12,999 feet. That is in keeping with the 3,964 metres or 13,005 feet which is reported elsewhere.
The air was pristine and not at all cold, and it was very sunny.
I was hoping the air would be clear, and it was. In the far distance, 40 miles or 65 kilometres away, is Mount Damavand – the tallest mountain in Iran. It is taller by about 2.600 feet than Monte Bianco/Mont Blanc, but is less prominent.
With respect to colour accuracy, one is not stating here about the capabilities of the camera (Canon G1X – the older model), but the sky really was very blue indeed.
The general brown coffee coloured air above Tehran was discernable. It is easy to imagine this is pollution. We were also confident that we could just about see Tajrish.
A day or so later I had heavy sun burn on my face and arms. We learn by our mistakes!
Another trip in March 2017
I made another trip to Tochal early March 2017, solo this time. Lacking boots I couldn’t make it to the summit – I kept slipping over in the snow every two steps. But on the lower part I enjoyed watching people skiing. The air was again beautifully clean and fresh.
Half an hour later the weather closed in quickly.
At that point I made for home as I lacked any proper equipment. My raincoat and gloves did their work.
Tochal is a great place to visit. If you go to Tehran, find some time to go to Tochal.