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Places in Middle-earth

High Pass of Rivendell, The

Type: Mountains, Hills, Promontories

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Other Names The Pass of Imladris,
Cirith Forn en Andrath ('The High-climbing Pass of the North')

Location: The High Pass runs east-west through the Misty Mountains from near Rivendell to near the Old Forest Road.

Description: The High Pass runs approximately east-west through the Misty Mountains. The west end is north of Rivendell; the east end of the pass is south of the Eagles' Eyrie and north of the western end of the Old Forest Road.

On the maps, "Wilderland" and "The Misty Mountains", the High Pass appears to the north of both Rivendell and the end of the Old Forest Road by about 20 to 40 miles.

The Atlas of Middle-Earth, Revised Edition, by Karen Wynn Fonstad, Section 4, Regional Maps

However, it appears that Tolkien intended the High Pass to lead directly to the Old Forest Road:

[The] earlier draft of this section ... [refers] to "the ancient Forest Road that led down from the Pass of Imladris and ... into the Greenwood.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 14

Long days after they had climbed out of the valley and left the Last Homely House miles behind, they were still going up and up and up. It was a hard path and a dangerous path, a crooked way and a lonely and a long. ... [Bilbo] shivered. It was getting bitter cold up here, and the wind came shrill among the rocks. Boulders, too, at times came galloping down the mountain-sides, let loose by midday sun upon the snow ... The nights were comfortless and chill, and they did not dare to sing or talk too loud, for the echoes were uncanny, and the silence seemed to dislike being broken - except by the noise of water and the wail of wind and the crack of stone...

The Hobbit, Ch 4, Over Hill and Under Hill

First/Second Age History
Sauron, well-informed of the [Last] Alliance, had sent out ... Orc-troops ... to harry any forces that attempted to shorten their road by crossing the Mountains. ... [But] the main might of Gil-galad, together with Isildur and part of the Men of Arnor, had come over the Passes of Imladris and Caradhras, and the Orcs were dismayed and hid themselves.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 20

When [Isildur] at last felt free to return [after the Last Alliance] to his own realm [Arnor] he was in haste, and he wished to go first to Imladris ... He therefore determined to make his way north from Osgiliath up the Vales of Anduin to Cirith Forn en Andrath, the high-climbing pass of the North, that led down to Imladris. He ... had marched that way to the war [Last Alliance] with men of eastern Arnor in the company of Elrond.

It was a long journey, but the only other way, west and then north [via the North-South Road] to the road-meeting [at Bree] in Arnor, and then east [via the Great East Road] to Imladris, was far longer. ... Isildur set forth from Osgiliath ... expecting to reach Imladris in forty days [on foot].

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

Third Age History
There were many paths that led up into those [Misty] mountains [from Rivendell], and many passes over them. But ... most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers. The dwarves [Thorin Oakenshield's company] and the hobbit [Bilbo] ... took the right road to the right pass. ...

All was well, until one day they met a thunderstorm - more than a thunderstorm, a thunder-battle. ... They were high up in a narrow place, with a dreadful fall into a dim valley at one side of them. There they were sheltering under a hanging rock for the night ... When [Bilbo] peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants [trolls] were out and were hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them, and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang. ... They could hear the giants guffawing and shouting all over the mountainsides.

The Hobbit, Ch 4, Over Hill and Under Hill

It was in this pass that Thorin Oakenshield and his company were captured by Orcs.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 4

"Indeed," said Glóin [father of Gimli], "if it were not for the Beornings, the passage from Dale to Rivendell would long ago have become impossible. They are valiant men and keep open the High Pass [of Rivendell] and the Ford of Carrock [read: the Old Ford; see Note under Beornings]. But their tolls are high" ...

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 1, Many Meetings

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 1.17.04; added links: ET 5.30.04

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