In the days in which the Noldoli fled from Valinor, a neck of ice called the Helkaraksë stretched out from the western lands across the water that divided them from the Great Lands. It came almost to the eastern shore, but was separated from it by the Qerkaringa, a treacherous passage of water. The gulf around the isthmus and narrow sound was full of ice floes and dangerous currents.
After arriving at the shores, the Noldoli tried and failed to cross the gulf in boats. The could not cross the Helkaraksë because of the Qerkaringa, where water and ice crashed through the strait, making it impassable. While they were camped on the shores, the cold increased, and the Qerkaringa became jammed with ice, stopping the current. Over this ice the Noldoli made the dangerous crossing of the Qerkaringa onto the eastern shore, though many of them were lost.
Other versions of the legendarium
In an earlier draft of the text describing this region in The Book of Lost Tales, Qerkaringa refers to the neck of land, although it is stated the name is also sometimes applied to the sound of water by extension. Tolkien later decided Qerkaringa was the water, and called the neck of land Helkaraksë. He made a note specifying which name belonged to which in the margins.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VII. The Flight of the Noldoli", pp. 166-9
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Elvish Poetry and Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets", in Parma Eldalamberon XVI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, Carl F. Hostetter and Bill Welden), p. 136
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I, pp. 264-5
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VII. The Flight of the Noldoli": "Notes and Commentary", note 5
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"