THE UNIQUE OROGRAPHIC feature known as the Pamir Knot takes its name from the mountains on which it is centered, the Pamir. The “knot” refers to the convergence of some of the world’s major mountain ranges, including the TIAN SHAN, Karakorum, Kunlun, HINDU KUSH, and Pamir systems. The origin of the word pamir is unclear, although the Tajik name for the region is Bom-i-Dunyo, or “roof of the world.” Other sources claim “feet of the sun” and the high altitude grasslands of the region as sources of “pamir.” While a number of countries claim to be home to the Pamir Knot, it is actually centered in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of eastern TAJIKISTAN. Fringe areas extend into AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, CHINA, and KYRGYZSTAN.
In terms of relative location, the Pamir Mountains region remains one of the least accessible areas in the world. High peaks of the Pamir include Communism Peak (24,590 ft or 7,7495 m), Lenin Peak (23,403 ft or 7,133 m), and Peak Evgenia Korjenevskaya (23,311 ft or 7,105 m). In terms of mountaineering, these towering peaks have been scaled a number of times, although lesser peaks of the Pamir remain as yet unconquered. Considerable temperature variation exists within the Pamir region, with winter daily lows ranging from 1 degree F (-17 degrees C) in eastern areas to 21 degrees F (-6 degrees C) in the west. The Pamir region is heavily glaciated, including Murghab Pass, which stretches for 144 mi (231 km).