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Ephel Dúath

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Ephel Duath
Ephel Dúath (Mountains of Shadow)
Location information


Permanent Resident(s)

Orcs (Particularly the Uruk-hai of Cirith Ungol and Morgul orcs), Shelob



Behind the scenes
First appearance

The Return of the King

Latest appearance

The Return of the King

Ephel Dúath also known as the Outer Fence are a range of mountains that make up Mordor’s western and southern borders.


They meet the Ered Lithui (Ash Mountains) at the Morannon (Black Gate), so that between them the mountain ranges effectively seal off Mordor from invasion on three sides. They house Morgul Vale, where the city of Minas Ithil resides. The Pass of Cirith Ungol leads through the Ephel Dúath from the Stairs of Cirith Ungol behind Minas Morgul to the Tower of Cirith Ungol, which is on the eastern side of the mountain chain, and is guarded by both Minas Ithil and Cirith Ungol, and is home to the giant spider Shelob, daughter of Ungoliant . In its northern reaches, lies the castle of Durthang, above Udûn. Its southern half is penetrated by the river Poros, which is fed by the Sea of Núrnen just south of Durthang and to the east are the Morgai.

To the far south-east of Mordor is the Ered Glamhoth, the tail of mountains that curves northwards off of the Ephel Duath.[1][2]


Their Sindarin name means literally 'Outer fences of dark Shadow'.[3]

Mountain Ranges of Arda

Ash Mountains | Echoriath | Ephel Dúath | Ered Gorgoroth | Blue Mountains | Ered Lómin | Grey Mountains | Ered Wethrin | Iron Hills | Iron Mountains | Misty Mountains | Mountains of Angmar | Mountains of Mirkwood | Mountains of Mithrim | Orocarni | Pelóri | Wall of the Sun | White Mountains | Yellow mountains


  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "The Land of Shadow"
  2. The Atlas of Middle-earth pgs. 92-3
  3. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth

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