Tolkien Gateway

High Pass

High Pass
Mountain pass
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Mountain-path (Colored by H.E. Riddett).png
"The Mountain-path" (coloured) by J.R.R. Tolkien
General Information
Other namesPass of Imladris, Cirith Forn en Andrath
LocationMisty Mountains above Rivendell
TypeMountain pass

The High Pass was a pass over the Misty Mountains. On its western end was the refuge of Rivendell,[1] and from there the East Road climbed into the mountains until it reached the mountain under which lied the Goblin-town.

There were actually two passes at this location. The lower pass was more prone to being blocked by Orcs, hence most travellers used the higher pass outside of those rare occasions when the Orcs were suppressed.


[edit] History

The High Pass was first used during the Great Journey when Oromë led the the Eldar through the Hithaeglir.[2]

Later the High Pass was used by the Dwarves, who connected their roads (the East Road and the Men-i-Naugrim through Mirkwood) with it.[3]

In the Second Age the High Pass was used by the army of Gil-galad and Elendil when they marched to Mordor in the War of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. After this war Isildur was slain by Orcs watching the way towards the pass.[4]

The Pass became dangerous again because of the Orcs. Only with the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, which nearly wiped out all Orcs of the mountains, did it became safe again. Nevertheless in T.A. 2940, the goblins of Goblin-town had burrowed their way back to it, and Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves of Thorin were captured the next year during the Quest of Erebor.[5]

During the War of the Ring, Grimbeorn the Old and the Beornings kept the High Pass open,[6] but the Fellowship of the Ring bypassed the High Pass because the eastern side of the Misty Mountains had become too dangerous.

[edit] Names

The High Pass was also known as the Pass of Imladris. In Sindarin, the pass was called Cirith Forn en Andrath ("the high-climbing pass of the north"); cirith + forn + andrath).[4][7]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In the draft for the chapter, "The Ring Goes South", Elrond gave a name for both the High Pass and the Goblin Gate, which was Annerchin.[8]

[edit] Portrayals in Adaptations

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The High Pass can be found in the region of the Misty Mountains and is divided into two areas: the Northern High Pass and the Southern High Pass. The mountain pass to the Vales of Anduin to the east was reopened by the Beornings following the War of the Ring.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

The Dwarves take the High Pass, except without Gandalf. They end up in the middle of a fight between Stone-giants.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Nancy Smith, "Index questions"; cf. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 207
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "The Annals of Aman": §61, p. 83
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", note 14
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 207
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXIV. The Ring Goes South"
Route of Thorin and Company
Bag End · Green Dragon · The Shire · Lone-lands · Last Bridge · Trollshaws · Trolls' Cave · Rivendell · High Pass · Front Porch · Goblin-town · Goblin-gate · Eagle's Eyrie · Carrock · Beorn's Hall · Wilderland · Forest Gate · Elf-path · Mirkwood · Elvenking's Halls · Forest River · Lake-town · Long Lake · River Running · Desolation of the Dragon · Ravenhill · Back Door · Lonely Mountain · Great Hall of Thráin