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Places in Middle-earth

Redhorn Gate, The

Type: Mountains, Hills, Promontories

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Other Names
Redhorn Pass
Pass of Caradhras

Location: A pass over the Misty Mountains between Caradhras on the north and Celebdil on the south; drops down into the Dimrill Dale in the east; the only route over the mountains between the High Pass of Rivendell and the Gap of Rohan.

Description: 'It is for the Dimrill Dale that we are making,' said Gandalf. 'If we climb the pass that is called the Redhorn Gate, under the far side of Caradhras, we shall come down by the Dimrill Stair into the deep vale of the Dwarves.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

The travellers reached a low ridge crowned with ancient holly-trees ...

[Gandalf said,] 'We have reached the borders of the country that Men call Hollin ... Five-and-forty leagues as the crow flies we have come [from Rivendell], though many long miles further our feet have walked. The land and the weather will be milder now, but perhaps all the more dangerous.' ...

[Aragorn said,] 'Regiments of black crows are flying over ... Hollin is no longer wholesome for us: it is being watched.'

'And in that case so is the Redhorn Gate,' said Gandalf; 'and how we can get over that without being seen, I cannot imagine.' ...

All that day the Company remained in hiding. ... At dusk the Company set out, and turning now half east they steered their course towards Caradhras ...

Guided by Aragorn they struck a good path. It looked to Frodo like the remains of an ancient road ... from Hollin to the mountain-pass. ... though now [the stones] lay tumbled and ruinous in a bleak, barren land.

For two more nights they marched on, climbing steadily but ever more slowly as their road wound up into the hills, and the mountains towered up, nearer and nearer. On the third morning Caradhras rose before them, a mighty peak, tipped with snow like silver, but with sheer naked sides, dull red as if stained with blood. ...

'Winter deepens behind us,' he said quietly to Aragorn. ...'Tonight we shall be on our way high up towards the Redhorn Gate. We may well be seen by watchers on that narrow path, and waylaid by some evil; but the weather may prove a more deadly enemy than any.' ...

[Answered Aragorn,] '... it is no good our delaying the passage of the mountains. Further south there are no passes, till one comes to the Gap of Rohan. I do not trust that way since your news of Saruman.' ...

When they returned to the Company Gandalf spoke ... it had been decided to face the weather and the high pass. ...

'From signs that we have seen lately,' said Gandalf, 'I fear that the Redhorn Gate may be watched; and also I have doubts of the weather that is coming up behind. Snow may come. We must go with all the speed that we can. Even so it will take us more than two marches before we reach the top of the pass.' ...

The Company set out again with good speed at first; but soon their way became steep and difficult. The twisting and climbing road had in many places almost disappeared, and was blocked with many fallen stones. ... By midnight they had climbed to the knees of the great mountains. The narrow path now wound under a sheer wall of cliffs to the left, above which the grim flanks of Caradhras towered up invisible in the gloom; on the right was a gulf of darkness where the land fell suddenly into a deep ravine.

Laboriously they climbed a sharp slope ... They went on. But before long the snow was falling fast ...

Gandalf halted. Snow was thick on his hood and shoulders; it was already ankle-deep about his boots.

Aragorn [said], '... I knew the risk of snow, though it seldom falls heavily so far south, save high up in the mountains. But we are not high yet; we are still far down, where the paths are usually open all the winter.' ...

While they were halted, the wind died down, and the snow slackened until it almost ceased. They tramped on again. But they had not gone more than a furlong when the storm returned with fresh fury. The wind whistled and the snow became a blinding blizzard. ...

The Company halted suddenly ... Stones began to fall from the mountain-side, whistling over their heads, or crashing on the path beside them. Every now and again they heard a dull rumble, as a great boulder rolled down from hidden heights above. ...

[Said Gandalf,] 'It is no good going on. Only a little higher, if I remember rightly, this path leaves the cliff and runs into a wide shallow trough at the bottom of a long hard slope. We should have no shelter there from snow, or stones -- or anything else.'

'And it is no good going back while the storm holds,' said Aragorn. 'We have passed no place on the way up that offered more shelter than this cliff-wall we are under now.' ...

The Company now gathered together as close to the cliff as they could. It faced southwards, and near the bottom it leaned out a little, so that they hoped it would give them some protection from the northerly wind and from the falling stones. But eddying blasts swirled round them from every side ...

[Said Aragorn,] 'The dawn is not far off.' ...

Very slowly a dim light began to grow. At last the snow stopped altogether.

As the light grew stronger it showed a silent shrouded world. Below their refuge were white humps and domes and shapeless deeps beneath which the path that they had trodden was altogether lost; but the heights above were hidden in great clouds still heavy with the threat of snow.

Gimli looked up and shook his head. 'Caradhras has not forgiven us. ... The sooner we go back and down the better.'

To this all agreed, but their retreat was now difficult. ... Only a few paces from the ashes of their fire the snow lay many feet deep ... in places it had been scooped and piled by the wind into great drifts against the cliff. ...

[Said Boromir,] 'See! Though all is now snow-clad, our path, as we came up, turned about that shoulder of rock down yonder. It was there that the snow first began to burden us. If we could reach that point, maybe it would prove easier beyond. It is no more than a furlong off, I guess.' ...

Then swift as a runner over firm sand [Legolas] shot away ... and vanished round the rocky turn. ...

An hour, maybe, went by, though it seemed far longer, and then at last they saw Legolas coming back. At the same time Boromir and Aragorn reappeared round the bend far behind him and came labouring up the slope.

'Well,' cried Legolas as he ran up, '... I have brought back a gleam of good hope for those who are doomed to go on feet. There is the greatest wind-drift of all just beyond the turn ... little wider than a wall. And on the other side the snow suddenly grows less' ...

They came at length to the great drift. It was flung across the mountain-path like a sheer and sudden wall, and its crest, sharp as if shaped with knives, reared up more than twice the height of Boromir; but through the middle a passage had been beaten, rising and falling like a bridge. ...

They passed through the lane; but hardly had Frodo touched the ground when with a deep rumble there rolled down a fall of stones and slithering snow. The spray of it half blinded the Company as they crouched against the cliff, and when the air cleared again they saw that the path was blocked behind them.

... with that last stroke the malice of the mountain seemed to be expended, as if Caradhras was satisfied that the invaders had been beaten off and would not dare to return. The threat of snow lifted; the clouds began to break and the light grew broader. ...

Soon they all stood once more on the flat shelf at the head of the steep slope where they had felt the first flakes of snow the night before. ...

From the high place they looked back westwards over the lower lands. Far away in the tumble of country that lay at the foot of the mountain was the dell from which they had started to climb the pass. ...

A cold wind flowed down behind them, as they turned their backs on the Redhorn Gate, and stumbled wearily down the slope. Caradhras had defeated them.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 3, The Ring Goes South

Northward the [Dimrill] dale ran up into a glen of shadows between ... the Mountains of Moria. At the head of the glen a torrent flowed ... over an endless ladder of short falls....

'Yonder is the Dimrill Stair,' said Aragorn, pointing to the falls. 'Down the deep-cloven way that climbs beside the torrent we should have come, if fortune had been kinder.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 6, Lothlórien


The Last Alliance of Elves and Men is formed.

Gil-galad and Elendil march east to Imladris.

The host of the Alliance crosses the Misty Mountains.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Second Age

There can be no doubt that Sauron, well-informed of the Alliance, had sent out such Orc-troops of the Red Eye as he could spare, to do what they could to harry any forces that attempted to shorten their road by crossing the Mountains. In the event the main might of Gil-galad, together with Isildur and part of the Men of Arnor, had come over the Passes of Imladris and Caradhras, and the Orcs were dismayed and hid themselves. ... [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 20

c. 1150
The Fallohides enter Eriador. The Stoors come over the Redhorn Pass and move to the Angle, or to Dunland.

Celebrían, journeying to Lórien, is waylaid in the Redhorn Pass, and receives a poisoned wound.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

In the days of Arahad I [2455 - 2523 III] the Orcs, who had, as later appeared, long been secretly occupying strongholds in the Misty Mountains, so as to bar all the passes into Eriador, suddenly revealed themselves. In 2509 Celebrían wife of Elrond was journeying to Lórien when she was waylaid in the Redhorn Pass, and her escort being scattered by the sudden assault of the Orcs, she was seized and carried off. She was pursued and rescued by Elladan and Elrohir, but not before she had suffered torment and had received a poisoned wound.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur

Thrór slain by an Orc in Moria.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

He [Thrór] was a little crazed perhaps with age and misfortune and long brooding on the splendour of Moria in his forefathers' days; or the Ring, it may be, was turning to evil now that its master was awake, driving him to folly and destruction. From Dunland, where he was then dwelling, he went north with Nár, and they crossed the Redhorn Pass and came down into Azanulbizar.

When Thrór came to Moria the Gate was open. Nár begged him to beware, but he took no heed of him, and walked proudly in as an heir that returns. But he did not come back.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Durin's Folk

January 3019
The Company reach Hollin.

11, 12
Snow on Caradhras.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 14Jul04

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