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White Mountains

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White Mountains
Mountain range
Raine Kuusi - Dusk.jpg
General Information
Other namesEred Nimrais
LocationBetween Gondor and Rohan
TypeMountain range
DescriptionTall, snow-capped mountains
RegionsGondor and Rohan
InhabitantsMen, Dwarves

The White Mountains, or Ered Nimrais was a great mountain range that lay between Calenardhon/Rohan in the North and Gondor in the South. They ran 600 miles (965 kilometers) from Thrihyrne in the north-west to Mindolluin and Amon Tirith in the east. A low spur sprung off southwest, and ended at Ras Morthil.


Geographic Features

Important Peaks

The mountain range’s notable peaks were, from west to east, Thrihyrne, Starkhorn, Dwimorberg, Irensaga, Halifirien, Calenhad, Min-Rimmon, Erelas, Nardol, Eilenach, Amon Dîn, Mindolluin and Amon Tirith.

At the foot of Thrihyrne was the valley known as Helm's Deep, and the Glittering Caves of Aglarond were underneath its spurs.

The three mountains Starkhorn, Dwimorberg and Irensaga enclosed the valley of Dunharrow, and the Dwimorberg was also the home of the Paths of the Dead.

Halifirien, Calenhad, Min-Rimmon, Erelas, Nardol, Eilenach, and Amon Dîn were strategically chosen hilltops on the northern side of the range. They were the Warning beacons of Gondor. There was probably a beacon-row on the south side too.


There were no passes over the White Mountains. If the Fellowship of the Ring were to avoid the Gap of Rohan, they would have to follow the coast around Ras Morthil on the cape of Andrast. The only passage through the mountain range was at the Paths of the Dead, but only the most courageous (or foolhardy) ever ventured that route.


Several rivers sprung from the White Mountains, among them the Adorn, the Deeping-stream, the Snowbourn and Mering Stream on the north side, and, on the south side, the Erui, the Ringló, the Ciril, the Morthond and the Lefnui.



The White Mountains were presumably made by the Vala Aulë when he helped in the construction of Arda. It is also possible that the were created by Melkor, and served the same goal as the Misty Mountains.

A local legend among the indigenous people of Gondor told of giants making the mountains, to keep Men out of their lands by the Sea. One of them, Stiffneck or Tarlang died there and some peaks are his neck and head; the stones he was carrying were known as Cûl Veleg and Cûl Bîn.[1]


Throughout history, the White Mountains were inhabited by Men, Drúedain, Dunlendings, Rohirrim, Gondorians, Orcs, and Dwarves.

The Drúedain lived along its northern edges, leaving Púkel-men at Starkhorn and Drúwaith Iaur. They resettled to a forest that would later be named after them: Tawar in-Drúedain.

In the Second Age, the White Mountains were populated by a people related to the Dunlendings who had been servants of Sauron. They swore allegiance to Isildur, but betrayed him and were cursed: they became known as the Army of the Dead.

From T.A. 2510, the northern vales and hills became under the rule of the Rohirrim, mighty horselords from the North. They settled in Helm's Deep, Dunharrow and Grimslade, and built their capital Edoras on an outlying hill.

The valley on the southern side were all that time under the rule of the King of Gondor, and the lords of Blackroot Vale, Ringló Vale, Tumladen and Lossarnach were loyal fiefs.

After the Battle of Azanulbizar in T.A. 2799, thousands of orcs fled south and troubled the Rohirrim for two generations.

In the early Fourth Age, Gimli, son of Glóin led a colony of Dwarves and settled in the Glittering Caves, of which he had discovered the value during the Battle of the Hornburg.


The Sindarin name of the White Mountains, Ered Nimrais, consists of ered ("mountains") and nimrais ("white-peaks; pale-horns").[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, omitted entry quoted in Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 536-7
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 33