north to almost the very shores of Spouting Bay in the south. The mountain range was not high, but this far north it remained snowcapped year-round. The very northern sections of the range comprised rocky crags and bare cliffs. Sheltered valleys on the southern side of these mountains contained small stands of stunted fir and pine. These acted as oases in a desert of rock, ice and snow. South, past the Stairs to Hell, the range became more temperate and fertile. The valleys here were well forested with conifers, such as fir, spruce and pine.
A particularly dangerous part of the Ered Rhívamar was the cold and uninviting spur of Ered Úmarth, the Mountains of Ill-fate. Populated by ice-drakes and Snow Trolls, the cold, ice-covered peaks frowned down upon the warm, steaming valley of Evermist. The mountains were a trackless, pathless jumble of weathered, slick stones covered in moss and lichen. There were occasional sheltered valleys wherein grass and shrubs could grow, but these were few and difficult to reach.
The spring thaw brought many small streams and rivulets rushing down to the valleys, and along these grew many types of berries, herbs and other edible plants. The forests were home to many types of bears, including the Black Bear, Cave bear and Ovir families. Black mink and blue otters hunted and played along these little streams. There was an abundance of small forest deer and reputedly small pockets of the rare white hart. The hart was held sacred by the Jäämiehet, and anyone harming such a creature would certainly be held accountable by them. The lower southern valleys were home to small, wild mountain boars, while higher up, the dauntless bighorn sheep graced the highlands. Wolves of all types roamed the mountains—from the common timber wolf to Dire wolves, Grey Wolves or even the great white wolf.
They were home to unnatural things, some left over from the Elder Days. Reclusive Ice Giants shared the peaks, valleys and foothills of the Ered Rhívamar with some of the more sinister creatures of Morgoth. Ice-drakesed lair in many inaccessible crags of the northern face of the range, while their evil cousins, the colddrakes, dominated the southern peaks. Orcs and Trolls infested many subterranean warrens throughout the entire range, and wargs contested kills and hunting territory with their less wicked brethren
One or more Arthadan expeditions had crossed them, but records were sketchy. Carved on a rock slab overlooking the Bay of Whales was a message: "I, Malgolodh, son of the son of King Amlaith, forbid any to pursue further my quest. I will entomb myself in the hills to protect happier lands from the evil which has devoured my companions." Searches ordered by the King produced no recorded results Several glaciers wound their way out of the Ered Rhívamar. The most prominent of these cascaded over the southernmost ridge into Spouting Bay. Reaching the sea, the glacier there began to crack and splinter into the mountainous chunks of ice used by the Merimetsästäjät for their delvings. The Ystävät Talven called glaciers jäätiköt, rivers of ice.