Places in Middle-earth
Straight Stair, The
Type: Roads, Lanes, Ways
Location: Stairs cut in the rock of the Ephel Dúath, on the north rim of the Morgul Vale; on the path to Shelob's Lair; the Straight Stair is on the lower (western) section of the path, and the Winding Stair is on the higher (eastern) section.
They had come to the first stair that Gollum had spoken of.
'Careful!' he whispered. 'Steps. Lots of steps. Must be careful!' ...
Frodo and Sam at first felt easier, having now a wall on either side, but the stairway was almost as steep as a ladder, and as they climbed up and up, they became more and more aware of the long black fall behind them. And the steps were narrow, spaced unevenly, and often treacherous: they were worn and smooth at the edges, and some were broken, and some cracked as foot was set upon them. The hobbits struggled on, until at last they were clinging with desperate fingers to the steps ahead...; and ever as the stair cut its way deeper into the sheer mountain the rocky walls rose higher and higher above their heads.
At length, just as they felt that they could endure no more, they saw Gollum's eyes peering down at them again. 'We're up,' he whispered. ... Just a few more little steps and that's all, yes.'
'Hobbits have climbed the Straight Stair. Next comes the Winding Stair.'
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
Contributors: Elena Tiriel 15Aug06