The Info List - Pamir Mountains

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The Pamir Mountains, or the Pamirs, are a mountain range in Central Asia at the junction of the Himalayas
with the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, Hindu Kush, Suleman and Hindu Raj
Hindu Raj
ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains. The precise extent of the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
is subject to debate.[1] They lie mostly in the Gorno-Badakhshan province of Tajikistan. To the north they join the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
mountains along the Alay Valley
Alay Valley
of Kyrgyzstan. To the south they border the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
mountains along Afghanistan's Wakhan
Corridor. To the east they are generally considered to extend to the range that includes China's Kongur
Tagh, a peak which is included in the "Eastern Pamirs"[2] more often than in the Kunlun Mountains, as Kongur Tagh
Kongur Tagh
and the Kunlun range are separated by the large Yarkand River valley; no valley of such significance separates the Pamirs and Kongur
Tagh, just political boundaries.


1 Name and etymology

1.1 Names 1.2 "A pamir"

2 Geography

2.1 Mountains 2.2 Glaciers 2.3 Climate

2.3.1 Paleoclimatology during the Ice Age

3 Economy 4 Exploration 5 Discoveries 6 Transport 7 Tourism 8 Strategic position 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Name and etymology[edit] Since Victorian times, they have been known as the "Roof of the World", presumably a translation from Persian.[3][4] Names[edit] In other languages they are called: Kyrgyz Памир тоолору, Pamir Tooloru, پامىر توولورۇ;

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, Persian: رشته کوه های پامیر‎, Rešte Kūh-hāye Pāmīr; Tajik: Ришта Кӯҳҳои Помир, Rişta Kûhhoyi Pomir; Pashto: د پامير غرونه‎ Da Pāmir Ğruna; Uyghur: پامىر ئېگىزلىكى, Памир Езгизлики, Pamir Ëzgizliki; Urdu: پامیر کوهستان Pamir Kuhestan; simplified Chinese: 葱岭; traditional Chinese: 蔥嶺; pinyin: Cōnglǐng; Wade–Giles: Ts'ung-ling or "Onion Range" (after the wild onions growing in the region);[5][6] Dungan: Памир or Цунлин, written in Xiao'erjing: پَامِعَر or ڞوْلٍْ. The name "Pamir" is used more commonly in Modern Chinese and loaned as simplified Chinese: 帕米尔; traditional Chinese: 帕米爾; pinyin: Pàmǐ'ěr. "A pamir"[edit] According to Middleton and Thomas, "pamir" is a geological term.[7] A pamir is a flat plateau or U-shaped valley surrounded by mountains. It forms when a glacier or ice field melts leaving a rocky plain. A pamir lasts until erosion forms soil and cuts down normal valleys. This type of terrain is found in the east and north of the Wakhan,[8] and the east and south of Gorno-Badakhshan, as opposed to the valleys and gorges of the west. Pamirs are used for summer pasture.[7][8] The Great Pamir is around Lake Zorkul. The Little Pamir
Little Pamir
is east of this in the far east of Wakhan.[8] The Taghdumbash Pamir
Taghdumbash Pamir
is between Tashkurgan and the Wakhan
west of the Karakoram
Highway. The Alichur Pamir is around Yashil Kul on the Gunt River. The Sarez Pamir is around the town of Murghab. The Khargush Pamir is south of Lake Karakul. There are several others. The Pamir River
Pamir River
is in the south-west of the Pamirs. Geography[edit]

Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
on map showing Sakastan
about 100BC

Slopes of Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
on the Chinese side and Muztagh Ata

Mountains[edit] The three highest mountains in the Pamirs core are Ismoil Somoni Peak (known from 1932–1962 as Stalin Peak, and from 1962–1998 as Communism Peak), 7,495 m (24,590 ft); Ibn Sina Peak
Ibn Sina Peak
(still unofficially known as Lenin Peak), 7,134 m (23,406 ft); and Peak Korzhenevskaya
Peak Korzhenevskaya
(Russian: Пик Корженевской, Pik Korzhenevskoi), 7,105 m (23,310 ft).[9] In the Eastern Pamirs, China's Kongur Tagh
Kongur Tagh
is the highest at 7,649 m (25,095 ft). Among the significant peaks of the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
are the following:[10]

Name Height in meters Coord. Sub-range Country

(Kungur Tagh) 7,649 (38°35′36″N 75°18′45″E / 38.593428°N 75.312560°E / 38.593428; 75.312560 (Kongur)) Kongur
Shan  China

Jiubie (Kungur Tjube Tagh) 7,530 (38°36′57″N 75°11′45″E / 38.615833°N 75.195833°E / 38.615833; 75.195833 (Kungur Tjube Tagh)) Kongur
Shan  China

Muztagh Ata 7,509 (38°16′33″N 75°06′58″E / 38.275855°N 75.1161°E / 38.275855; 75.1161 (Muztagata)) Muztagh Ata
Muztagh Ata
Massif  China

Ismoil Somoni Peak
Ismoil Somoni Peak
(formerly Communism Peak, Stalin Peak) 7,495 (38°56′36″N 72°00′57″E / 38.943422°N 72.015803°E / 38.943422; 72.015803 (Ismoil Somoni Peak)) Academy of Sciences Range  Tajikistan

Lenin Peak
Lenin Peak
(new name: Abu Ali Ibn Sino Peak; formerly Kaufmann Peak) 7,134 (39°20′37″N 72°52′39″E / 39.343724°N 72.877536°E / 39.343724; 72.877536 (Pik Lenin)) Trans-Alay Range  Tajikistan,  Kyrgyzstan

Peak Korzhenevskaya 7,105 (39°03′26″N 72°00′35″E / 39.057317°N 72.00983°E / 39.057317; 72.00983 (Peak Korzhenevskaya)) Academy of Sciences Range  Tajikistan

Independence Peak
Independence Peak
(also Qullai Istiqlol, formerly Revolution Peak, Dreispitz) 6,940 (38°30′36″N 72°21′15″E / 38.51°N 72.354167°E / 38.51; 72.354167 (Independence Peak)) Yazgulem Range  Tajikistan

Russia Peak 6,875 (38°53′46″N 72°01′44″E / 38.896°N 72.029°E / 38.896; 72.029 (Russia Peak)) Academy of Sciences Range  Tajikistan

Moscow Peak 6,785 (38°56′55″N 71°50′04″E / 38.948563°N 71.8344°E / 38.948563; 71.8344 (Moscow Peak)) Peter I Range  Tajikistan

Karl Marx Peak 6,726 (37°09′45″N 72°28′54″E / 37.1625°N 72.481667°E / 37.1625; 72.481667 (Karl Marx Peak)) Shakhdara Range  Tajikistan

Gora Kurumdy 6,614 (39°27′21″N 73°34′01″E / 39.455812°N 73.566978°E / 39.455812; 73.566978 (Gora Kurumdy)) Trans-Alay Range  Tajikistan,  Kyrgyzstan

Mount Garmo 6,595 (38°48′39″N 72°04′20″E / 38.810955°N 72.072344°E / 38.810955; 72.072344 (Mount Garmo)) Academy of Sciences Range  Tajikistan

Engels Peak 6,510 (37°10′18″N 72°31′22″E / 37.171671°N 72.522898°E / 37.171671; 72.522898 (Engels Peak)) Shakhdara Range  Tajikistan

Koh-e Pamir 6,320 (37°09′N 73°13′E / 37.15°N 73.21°E / 37.15; 73.21 (Koh-e Pamir)) Wachan Range  Afghanistan

Peak of the Soviet Officers 6,233 (38°25′26″N 73°18′07″E / 38.424°N 73.302°E / 38.424; 73.302 (Peak of the Soviet Officers)) Muskol Range  Tajikistan

Mayakovskiy Peak 6,095 (37°01′16″N 71°42′54″E / 37.021092°N 71.715138°E / 37.021092; 71.715138 (Mayakovskiy Peak)) Shakhdara Range  Tajikistan

Patkhor Peak 6,083 (37°53′21″N 72°11′21″E / 37.889167°N 72.189167°E / 37.889167; 72.189167 (Patkhor Peak)) Ruschan Range  Tajikistan

Leipzig Peak 5725 (39°20′53″N 72°28′37″E / 39.348°N 72.477°E / 39.348; 72.477 (Leipzig Peak)) Trans-Alay Range  Tajikistan,  Kyrgyzstan

Pik Skalisty 5707 (37°36′02″N 72°13′37″E / 37.6005°N 72.227°E / 37.6005; 72.227 (Skalisty Peak)) Schugnan Range  Tajikistan

Kysyldangi Peak 5704 (37°24′02″N 72°50′37″E / 37.4006°N 72.8435°E / 37.4006; 72.8435 (Kysyldangi Peak)) Southern Alitschur Range  Tajikistan

Remark: The summits of the Kongur
and Muztagata Group are in some sources counted as part of the Kunlun, which would make Pik Ismoil Somoni the highest summit of the Pamir. Glaciers[edit] There are many glaciers in the Pamir Mountains, including the 77 km (48 mi) long Fedchenko Glacier, the longest in the former USSR and the longest glacier outside the polar regions.[11] Approximately 12,500 km² (ca. 10%)[12] of the Pamirs are glaciated. Glaciers in the Southern Pamirs are retreating rapidly. Ten percent of annual runoff is supposed to origin from retreating glaciers in the Southern Pamirs[12]. In the North-Western Pamirs, glaciers have almost stable mass balances.[12] Climate[edit]

Part of the Pamir Mountain range
Mountain range
in springtime

Covered in snow throughout the year, the Pamirs have long and bitterly cold winters, and short, cool summers. Annual precipitation is about 130 mm (5 in), which supports grasslands but few trees. Paleoclimatology during the Ice Age[edit] The East-Pamir, in the centre of which the massifs of Mustagh Ata (7620 m) and Kongur Tagh
Kongur Tagh
(Qungur Shan, 7578, 7628 or 7830 m) are situated, shows from the W-margin of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
an East-West extension of c. 200 km. Its North-South extension from King Ata Tagh up to the North-West Kunlun foothills amounts to c.170 km. Whilst the up to 21 km long current valley glaciers are restricted to mountain massifs exceeding 5600 m in height, during the Last Glacial Period the glacier ice has covered the high plateau with its set-up highland relief, continuing west of Mustagh Ata and Kongur. From this glacier area an outlet glacier has flowed down to the north-east through the Gez valley up to c.1850 m asl and thus as far as to the margin of the Tarim basin. This outlet glacier received inflow from the Kaiayayilak glacier from the Kongur-north-flank. From the north-adjacent Kara Bak Tor (Chakragil, c. 6800 or 6694 m)-massif the Oytag valley glacier in the same exposition flowed also down up to c. 1850 m asl. At glacial times the glacier snowline (ELA) as altitude limit between glacier nourishing area and ablation zone, was lowered about 820 to 1250 altitude metres against today.[13][14] Under the condition of comparable proportions of precipitation there results from this a glacial depression of temperature of at least 5 to 7.5 °C. Economy[edit] Coal
is mined in the west, though sheep herding in upper meadowlands are the primary source of income for the region. Exploration[edit]

This section is based on the book by R. Middleton and H. Thomas[7]

Expedition in 1982 to Tartu Ülikool 350
Tartu Ülikool 350
Peak, which was considered to be the highest unreached peak in the territory of former Soviet Union at the time

The lapis lazuli found in Egyptian tombs is thought to come from the Pamir area in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. About 138 BC Zhang Qian reached the Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley
northwest of the Pamirs. Ptolemy vaguely describes a trade route through the area. From about 600 AD, Buddhist pilgrims travelled on both sides of the Pamirs to reach India from China. In 747 a Tang army was on the Wakhan
River. There are various Arab and Chinese reports. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
may have travelled along the Panj River. In 1602 Bento de Goes
Bento de Goes
travelled from Kabul
to Yarkand and left a meager report on the Pamirs. In 1838 Lieutenant John Wood reached the headwaters of the Pamir River. From about 1868 to 1880, a number of Indians in the British service secretly explored the Panj area. In 1873 the British and Russians agreed to an Afghan frontier along the Panj River. From 1871 to around 1893 several Russian military-scientific expeditions mapped out most of the Pamirs (Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko, Nikolai Severtzov, Captain Putyata and others. Later came Nikolai Korzhenevskiy). Several local groups asked for Russian protection from Afghan raiders. The Russians were followed by a number of non-Russians including Ney Elias, George Littledale, the Earl of Dunmore, Wilhelm Filchner
Wilhelm Filchner
and Lord Curzon
Lord Curzon
who was probably the first to reach the Wakhan
source of the Oxus River. In 1891 the Russians informed Francis Younghusband
Francis Younghusband
that he was on their territory and later escorted a Lieutenant Davidson out of the area ('Pamir Incident'). In 1892 a battalion of Russians under Mikhail Ionov entered the area and camped near the present Murghab. In 1893 they built a proper fort there (Pamirskiy Post). In 1895 their base was moved to Khorog facing the Afghans. In 1928 the last blank areas around the Fedchenko Glacier
were mapped out by a German-Soviet expedition under Willi Rickmer Rickmers. Discoveries[edit]

Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
from a NASA satellite image, April 2012

In the early 1980s, a deposit of gemstone-quality clinohumite was discovered in the Pamir Mountains. It was the only such deposit known until the discovery of gem-quality material in the Taymyr region of Siberia, in 2000.[citation needed] Transport[edit] The Pamir Highway, the world's second highest international road, runs from Dushanbe
in Tajikistan
to Osh
in Kyrgyzstan
through the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, and is the isolated region's main supply route. The Great Silk Road
Silk Road
crossed a number of Pamir Mountain
ranges.[15] Tourism[edit] In December 2009, the New York Times
New York Times
featured articles on the possibilities for tourism in the Pamir area of Tajikistan.[16][17] 2013 proved to be the most successful year ever for tourism in the region and tourism development continues to be the fastest growing economic sector. The META (Murghab Ecotourism Association) website (www.meta.tj) provides an excellent repository of tourism related resources for the Eastern Pamir region. Strategic position[edit]

Ismoil Somoni Peak
Ismoil Somoni Peak
(then known as Peak Communism) taken in 1989

Climbers near "Peak Communism" in 1978

M41 highway

Historically, the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
were considered a strategic trade route between Kashgar
and Kokand
on the Northern Silk Road
Silk Road
and have been subject to numerous territorial conquests. The Northern Silk Road (about 2,600 km (1,616 mi) in length) connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an over the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
towards the west to emerge in Kashgar
before linking to ancient Parthia.[18] In the 20th century, they have been the setting for Tajikistan
Civil War, border disputes between China
and Soviet Union, establishment of US, Russian, and Indian military bases,[19] and renewed interest in trade development and resource exploration.[20][21] China
has since resolved most of those disputes with Central Asian countries.[22] See also[edit]

Mountains portal Geography portal

Pamir National Park Pamir languages List of mountain ranges List of highest mountains Soviet Central Asia Central Asia Mount Imeon Ak-Baital Pass China– Tajikistan
border Kam Air Flight 904
Kam Air Flight 904
 – crashed into Pamir Mountains; the cause remains unknown


^ According to the Big Soviet Encyclopedia "The question of the natural boundaries of Pamir is debatable. Normally Pamir is regarded as covering the territory from Trans-Alay Range
Trans-Alay Range
to the north, Sarykol Range to the east, Lake Zorkul, Pamir River, and the upper reaches of Panj River
Panj River
to the south, and the meridional section of the Panj valley to the west; to the north-west Pamir includes the eastern parts of Peter the Great and Darvaz ranges." ^ N. O. Arnaud; M. Brunel; J. M. Cantagrel; P. Tapponnier (1993). "High cooling and denudation rates at Kongur
Shan, Eastern Pamir (Xinjiang, China)". Tectonics Vol. 12 No. 3. American Geophysical Union Publications. pp. 1335–1346. Retrieved 2015-05-02.  ^ Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed. 1911: PAMIRS, a mountainous region of central Asia...the Bam-i-dunya ("The Roof of the World"); The Columbia Encyclopedia, 1942 ed., p.1335: "Pamir (Persian = roof of the world)"; The Pamirs, a region known to the locals as Pomir – “the roof of the world". ^ Social and Economic Change in the Pamirs, pp. 13–14, by Frank Bliss, Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0-415-30806-2, ISBN 978-0-415-30806-9: Pamir = a Persian compilation of pay-I-mehr, the "roof of the world". ^ Li, Daoyuan (in Chinese).  水經注 [Commentary on the Water Classic]. 2. Wikisource. "蔥嶺在敦煌西八千里,其山高大,上生蔥,故曰蔥嶺也。(quoting from the 西河舊事) The Onion Range is 8,000 Li west of Dunhuangin Uzbek Language "Pamir Tog'i". Its mountains are high and onions grow on them, therefore it is called Onion Range."  ^ "The origin of the Chinese name "Onion Range" for Pamir". Depts.washington.edu. 2002-04-14. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  ^ a b c Robert Middleton and Huw Thomas, ' Tajikistan
and the High Pamirs',Odyssey Books, 2008 ^ a b c Aga Khan Development Network (2010): Wakhan
and the Afghan Pamir p.3 Archived 2011-01-23 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Tajikistan: 15 Years of Independence, statistical yearbook, Dushanbe, 2006, p. 8, in Russian. ^ Heights of mountains over 6,750 metres in accordance with: List lf all mountains of Asia with a height of over 6,750 metres. www.8000ers.com (retrieved 6 April 2010) ^ In the Karakoram
Mountains, Siachen Glacier
is 76 km long, Biafo Glacier
is 67 km long, and Baltoro is 63 km long. The Bruggen or Pio XI Glacier
in southern Chile is 66 km long. Kyrgyzstan's South Inylchek (Enylchek) Glacier
is 60.5 km in length. Measurements are from recent imagery, generally with Russian 1:200,000 scale topographic mapping for reference as well as the 1990 Orographic Sketch Map: Karakoram: Sheets 1 and 2, Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, Zurich. ^ a b c Knoche, Malte; Merz, Ralf; Lindner, Martin; Weise, Stephan M. (2017-06-13). "Bridging Glaciological and Hydrological Trends in the Pamir Mountains, Central Asia". Water. 9 (6): 422. doi:10.3390/w9060422.  ^ Kuhle, M. (1997):New findings concerning the Ice Age (LGM) glacier cover of the East Pamir, of the Nanga Parbat up to the Central Himalaya and of Tibet, as well as the Age of the Tibetan Inland Ice. Tibet and High Asia (IV). Results of Investigations into High Mountain Geomorphology. Paleo-Glaciology and Climatology of the Pleistocene. GeoJournal, 42, (2–3), pp. 87–257. ^ Kuhle, M. (2004):The High Glacial (Last Ice Age and LGM) glacier cover in High- and Central Asia. Accompanying text to the mapwork in hand with detailed references to the literature of the underlying empirical investigations. Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P. L. (Eds.). Extent and Chronology of Glaciations, Vol. 3 (Latin America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica). Amsterdam, Elsevier B.V., pp. 175–199. ^ "Official Website of Pamir Travel". Pamir Travel. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-03.  ^ "The Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
of Tajikistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-08.  ^ Isaacson, Andy (17 December 2009). "Pamir Mountains, the Crossroads of History". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-08-11.  ^ "''Silk Road, North China'', C.Michael Hogan, the Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham". Megalithic.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  ^ "India's `Pamir Knot'". The Hindu. 11 November 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-03.  ^ "The West Is Red". Time. Retrieved 2007-08-26.  ^ "Huge Market Potential at China-Pakistan Border". China
Daily. Retrieved 2007-08-26. [dead link] ^ "China's Territorial and Boundary Affairs". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China. 2003-06-30. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 

Further reading[edit]

Curzon, George Nathaniel. 1896. The Pamirs and the Source of the Oxus. Royal Geographical Society, London. Reprint: Elibron Classics Series, Adamant Media Corporation. 2005. ISBN 1-4021-5983-8 (pbk; ISBN 1-4021-3090-2 (hbk). Gordon, T. E. 1876. The Roof of the World: Being the Narrative of a Journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian Frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir. Edinburgh. Edmonston and Douglas. Reprint by Ch’eng Wen Publishing Company. Taipei. 1971. Toynbee, Arnold J. 1961. Between Oxus and Jumna. London. Oxford University Press. Wood, John, 1872. A Journey to the Source of the River Oxus. With an essay on the Geography of the Valley of the Oxus by Colonel Henry Yule. London: John Murray. Horsman, S. 2002. Peaks, Politics and Purges: the First Ascent of Pik Stalin in Douglas, E. (ed.) Alpine Journal 2002 (Volume 107), The Alpine Club & Ernest Press, London, pp 199–206. Leitner, G. W. 1890. Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being an Account of the History, Religions, Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other parts of the Hindukush. With a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And an Epitome of Part III of the author’s “The Languages and Races of Dardistan”. First Reprint 1978. Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi. Strong, Anna Louise. 1930. The Road to the Grey Pamir. Robert M. McBride & Co., New York. Slesser, Malcolm "Red Peak: A Personal Account of the British-Soviet Expedition" Coward McCann 1964 Tilman, H. W. "Two Mountains and a River" part of "The Severn Mountain Travel Books". Diadem, London. 1983 Waugh, Daniel C. 1999. "The ‘Mysterious and Terrible Karatash Gorges’: Notes and Documents on the Explorations by Stein and Skrine." The Geographical Journal, Vol. 165, No. 3. (Nov., 1999), pp. 306–320. The Pamirs. 1:500.000 – A tourist map of Gorno-Badkshan- Tajikistan
and background information on the region. Verlag „Gecko-Maps“, Switzerland 2004 (ISBN 3-906593-35-5)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pamir Mountains.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Pamirs.

Photos of the Tajik Pamirs, with emphasis on Wakhan
area Information and photos Pamirs Tourism Association in Khorog (Tajikistan) Kashgar
Pamir Youth Hostel in Kashgar
(China) Afghan's Little Pamir
Little Pamir
- photos of the life of ethnic Kyrgyz Juldu.com - photos and online guide to trekking in the Wakhan
and Afghan Pamir

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