Places in Middle-earth
Winding Stair, The
Type: Roads, Lanes, Ways
Location: Stairs cut in the rock of the Ephel Dúath, on the north rim of the Morgul Vale; on the path to Shelob's Lair; the Straight Stair is on the lower (western) section of the path, and the Winding Stair is on the higher (eastern) section.
They were in a deep dark passage that seemed still to go up before them, though at a gentler slope and without steps. ...
'There's another stair still,' [Gollum] said. 'Much longer stair.' ...
'But not so difficult. Hobbits have climbed the Straight Stair. Next comes the Winding Stair.'
At length they were once more aware of a wall looming up, and once more a stairway opened before them. Again they halted, and again they began to climb. It was a long and weary ascent; but this stairway did not delve into the mountain-side. Here the huge cliff face sloped backwards, and the path like a snake wound to and fro across it. At one point it crawled sideways right to the edge of the dark chasm, and Frodo glancing down saw below him as a vast deep pit the great ravine at the head of the Morgul Vale. Down in its depths glimmered like a glow-worm thread the wraith-road from the dead city to the Nameless Pass. ...
Still on and up the stairway bent and crawled, until at last with a final flight, short and straight, it climbed out again on to another level. The path had veered away from the main pass in the great ravine, and it now followed its own perilous course at the bottom of a lesser cleft among the higher regions of the Ephel Dúath.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
Contributors: Elena Tiriel 15Aug06