White Mountains

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The White Mountains
Mountain range
"Dusk" by Raine Kuusi
General Information
Other namesEred Nimrais
LocationBetween Gondor and Rohan
TypeMountain range
DescriptionTall, snow-capped mountains
InhabitantsMen, Dwarves, Orcs
GalleryImages of the White Mountains

A black darkness loomed beyond, and in it glinted, here and there, cold, sharp, remote, white as the teeth of ghosts, the peaks of Ered Nimrais, the White Mountains of the realm of Gondor, tipped with everlasting snow.

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 south-west, and ended at Ras Morthil.

Geographic features

Important peaks

The mountain range’s notable peaks were, from west to east, Thrihyrne, Starkhorn, Dwimorberg, Írensaga, 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 passes over the White Mountains, and many of the kin of Nimrodel are said to have been lost there.[1]


There are multiple rivers which have their sources issuing forth from the White Mountains.

On the Western facing (from North to South);

On the Northern facing (from West to East);

On the Southern facing (from West to East);



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.[2]


Throughout history the White Mountains were inhabited primarily by Men, including the Drúedain, Dunlendings, Rohirrim, and Gondorians; but also at times by Orcs and in the Fourth Age by 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 Oathbreakers.

The valley on the southern side were under the rule of the King of Gondor, and the lords of Blackroot Vale, Ringló Vale, Tumladen and Lossarnach were loyal fiefs.[3]

From T.A. 2510, the northern vales and hills became under the rule of the Rohirrim, mighty horse-lords from the North. They settled in Helm's Deep, Dunharrow and Grimslade, and built their capital Edoras on an outlying hill.[3]

After the Battle of Azanulbizar in T.A. 2799, thousands of orcs fled south and troubled Rohan for two generations. Although the Rohirrim fought them off, some Orcs managed to reach the Mountains; King Walda was killed by an Orc at Dunharrow.[4]

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.[5]


The Sindarin name of the White Mountains, Ered Nimrais, consists of ered ("mountains") and nimrais ("white-peaks; pale-horns").[6]

Other versions of the legendarium

In drafts of The Lord of the Rings, these mountains are initially referred to as the South Mountains[7]:400 and Black Mountains.[8]:472

Portrayal in adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

In the scene The Lighting of the Beacons Gondor calls to Rohan for aid, the film then depicts the beacons being lit one by one along various peaks on the northern side of the White Mountains until the final beacon is sighted by Aragorn in Edoras.