About 100 km from Khorog, the agriculture in the valley of the Gunt river  comes to a halt. The altitude there is about 3600 metres. There cattle are replaced by yaks. The yak endures the rarefied atmosphere very well and is indispensable for travelling through snowdrifts during winter. When it is necessary to proceed through obstacles of snow, the yaks push forward and make paths for the horses. It is also possible to ride yaks, and they serve as milk producers.
We found the highest crops grown along the upper course of the Gunt. At the mouth of the Dusukhdara river, the barley can barely ripen and is used as a green fodder for cattle. This is the limit of agricultural crops. Beyond begins the Pamirs themselves, an area of sparse, cattle-herding Kirghizian populations.
It could be said that a plant breeder and botanist have no business looking for new plants to cultivate among the mountains and deserts of Middle Asia, a region where the plateau of the Pamirs is one of the most characteristic natural areas.
In contrast to the classical geographical scheme of the European mountains, including the Caucasus, the mountains of Inner Asia are characterized by a totally different pattern as far as the distribution of precipitation is concerned. In the mountains of the Caucasus the amount of precipitation usually increases in relation to altitude. Precipitation in Inner Asia  and also in Central Asia  decreases the higher up one ascends. To his amazement a traveller finds himself there in an alpine desert or, at best, a semi-desert. The mean annual amount of precipitation according to data from the military posts in the Pamirs is 60 mm a year. So, what should an agronomist do in the Pamirs?