The Red Mountains (Q."Orocarni", S. "Ered Ceren", Av."Órotikarâni" Wm."Sulthôn Arkârn" or "Hurmkâni") of Eastern Middle-Earth were snow-capped from winter to spring.
Reaching for the sky, like giant towers of red stones, this mountain range has amongst the noblest summits that one can watch on Arda. From the first fringes of the range, the mountains gently rise to higher altitudes. However, the tallest peaks rarely reach 11,000 feet above sea level. In spite of their relative low profile, the Orocarni mountains represent a formidable obstacle to natural elements and creatures’ travels.
The Red Mountains undoubtedly play a large part in Aegan and Kârn Ôrd weather. The powerful northern winds sweep and strike the flanks. However, the many rivers whose waters run on the slopes of the Orocarni towards the Ilviona river have created numerous fertiles and green valleys.
The Orocarni mountains are very old and, in the Aegan region they have been relatively spared by Morgoth's taint and by Valar wrath. Thus, they have begun being eroded by the northern winds. The stone predominantly is orange-red, due to important veins of quartz, iron and aluminium oxides and copper. When the moon is full and the sky is clear, the traveller can witness the mountains progressively blaze from top to bottom when they are bathed in Ithil light. All volcanoes having exited in the Orocarni are silent and still since before the First Age. Indeed, most of their craters have become mountain lakes. Some mines are active by small Dwarven settlements from Rûrîk. They mostly extract iron, copper, aluminium and other precious metals only Dwarves know (metallurgy is not Wômaw most loved skill). Wherever one considers them, the Orocarni flanks are significatively steeper on their western side. And the more one goes north, the more accentuated it is.
Even if the Orocarni mountains are not extremely difficult to cross, passes are relatively infrequent. Indeed, only 5 mountain passes are used on a regular basis, thus being known and secure. Many less travelled pass do exist, but they can be treacherous to use and deadly in winter. Descending from the north we first find the Gula din Trasnet that leads west to the great Lake of Khelkeneni. This pass is over 11,500 feet high. It is known to be extremely dangerous all around the year as stone falls are frequent while winter brings incredible snowstorms. The Three Passes are located near the border between Helcar Sael and Karn Ord. They are called : Vilnia din Vultor, Vilnia din ve Tràdan and Vilnia dinu Tchinca isvoror. These 3 Passes are located in the part of the Orocarni range that is called the Scarà din Iru (Stairs of the Sun). They are between 6,500 and 7,500 feet high. If the winds frequently blow through the Three Passes, they offer many shelter houses all along the roads that cross them.
The most southern pass is the Gula din Pitica. This pass is the only one of the five that is not natural: it was carved by the Dwarves of Ruurik during early Second Age. It is made up of thousands of stairs near to vertiginous chasms created ages ago by raging, impetuous streams now hundreds of feet below. This is why this pass is very rarely used during winter months as the steps are covered with frozen water and ice.
It is to be noted that all 5 passes are located west of the Trade Road that cross the region from North to South.
The foothills of the Orocarni: Gradina dinu Suvoiar (The Garden of Streams)
This area is locate between the Ilviona western bank and the eastern foothills of the Orocarni. It is covered with streams and rivers. Only three of them have some importance : Jonia, Aliagena and Porominaleth (a name given by Numenoreans traders meaning: City (menelos) of the North (for)).
Furthermore, the region possess many mountain lakes, Karn Ord being the largest. In its southernmost part, Gradina dinu Suvoiar is occupied by Ilviona’s mouth, a huge swamp: Tara dinu Apà tràdàtor (the Land of Treacherous Waters). It is said this swamps are inhabited by horrible creatures. West of the swamp, the Orocarni foothills become a gentle plain before reaching the Pensulà dina Colinà Vintànin (the Windy Hills Peninsula).
Settlements and Places of Note
Âlk Brôd Âlk Irgâk Ahul Akhuzdah Angsars-Morthrog Baas Baraz-lagil Baruzkhizdîn Blackhorn Pass Druins Cleft Dwarf's Pass Five Spring Pass Fullagrod Gabilzahar Great North-Hall Khalarazûm Khazad-Madûr Lastalaika's Lair Mang Mindo Clytac Monars Narag-gund Nargubraz Radimbragaz Red Pass Ruurumakh Sart Stairs of the Sun Tâna Thisule Thunderpass Treason Pass Tumunamahal Urulis Pass Utumkôdur's Lair White Forge Wind-Gates Yelshey
Retrieved from [Realms of Arda]; original reference:
- 1ICE MERP 2003
- 2From Eric Dubourg and Gabriele Quaglia, Fan module: Large Map Gazetteer
- 3*Fan module: Aegan, Karn Ord and Helcar Sael