The Pamir mountains of beautiful Tajikistan are, without doubt, the least visited mountain range in the world, yet one which offers some of the most magnificent landscapes, picturesque rural scenes, exhilarating trekking and the genuine hospitality to be found anywhere on the planet.
Summers, and thus the standard trekking season, are short, winters long; locally available supplies, the transport and maps are limited; a lack of even the most elementary Russian or Tajik languages can leave the visitor floundering in frustration; the internal security regulations of the Vazorati Amniyat, or the Russian and Tajik Border Forces (who patrol the external i.e. Tajik-Afghan and Tajik-Chinese borders) can prove to be the final insurmountable obstacle; but the rewards outstrip the time and energy invested in organising a trip on the Roof of the World.
Despite the lack of apparent interest shown by outsiders, the Tajik Pamirs have played host to a series of illustrious travellers and explorers, and notably the famous Buddhist pilgrim-explorer the Hsuan Tsang (c.640 AD) and Marco Polo, who was describes passing through Ishkashim in c. 1271. The Pamirs lay astride the Silk Road, connecting the China to what is now the Middle East, though the actual routeways meandered north and south of the Pamirs, through the Ferghana and what is now the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan.
The real heroes, the true pioneers, are of course the Tajiks and the Kyrgyz who settled the valleys and the high pastures of the Pamirs and withstood the winters year in, year out, for centuries, irrigating the land with thread-like channels running many kilometres across rocky mountain slopes, subsisting off meagre grain harvests and their livestock, building their own houses and making their own clothes, occasionally trading with distant markets in Afghanistan, Kashgar, and Bukhara. These were the communities that were truly isolated and dependent on their own ingenuity for their survival. Foreign exploration was focused largely on areas to the north, west and the east of the Pamirs and it wasn't until Anglo-Russian military rivalries forced the pace in the mid-nineteenth century that the Pamirs became the focus.
The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, the Tian Shan,the Karakoram, the Kunlun, and the Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains and since the Victorian times they have been known as the "Roof of the World", translated from "Pamir". They are also known by the Chinese name of the Congling (Wade-Giles: Ts'ung-ling) or "Onion Range" (from the wild onions growing in the region).
The precise degree of the Pamir peaks is debatable. They lie mostly in Gorno-Badakhshan province, the Tajikistan and Badakshan Province, Afghanistan. To the north they join the Tian Shan mountains along the Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan. To the south they join the Hindu Kush Mountains along the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan, the Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Pakistan. To the east they may end on the Chinese border or extend to the range that includes the Kongur Tagh which is sometimes included in the Kunlun Mountains. The Trek or trekking is a long journey undertaken on foot in areas where common means of transport is generally not available. Trekking is not mountaineering; it is days of walking, along with the adventure.
In the USA and UK, mountaineering refers to walking outdoors on a trail for recreational purposes. A day hike refers to a hike that can be completed in a single day, but not requiring an overnight the camp. Multi-day hikes with camping is referred to as the backpacking. In the United Kingdom the hiking is usually called the rambling, which resulted in the hiking organization named Ramblers. The Bushwhacking specifically refers to difficult walking through dense forest, undergrowth, or bushes, where forward progress requires pushing vegetation aside. In extreme cases of bushwhacking where the vegetation is so dense that human passage is impeded, a machete is used to clear a pathway. The Australians use the term bushwalking for both on- and off-trail hiking. The New Zealanders use tramping (particularly for overnight and longer trips), walking or bushwalking. Multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, the Nepal, the North America, South America, and in the highlands of East Africa is also called trekking; the Dutch refer to trekking also