The High Pass also known as Cirith Forn en Andrath was an important mountain pass over the Misty Mountains.
The High Pass was first created before the First Age by Oromë the Vala, in order to allow for a crossing of the mountains by the Eldar. Later in the First Age the High Pass was used by the dwarves, who connected their roads (the Great East Road and the Men-i-Naugrim through Mirkwood) with it.
It is worth noting that there are actually two passes at this location. The lower pass is more prone to being blocked by orcs; hence, most travellers using the higher pass outside of those rare occasions when the orcs were suppressed.
In the later days of the Second Age, the High Pass was used by the armies of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men led by Gil-galad and Elendil when they marched through it on their way to confront the armies of Sauron in Mordor.
During the later Third Age the Pass became dangerous again because of the orcs increasing in the mountains, only with the advent of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, which nearly wiped out all orcs of the mountains, did the pass become safe again. Afterwards, the pass was considered to be safe for about one-hundred and forty years until about TA 2940, just before the Quest of Erebor when the goblins of Goblin-town had delved an entrance to their underground tunnels on the pass. Thorin and Company were captured there in TA 2941 when they intended to pass through the mountains on their way to the Lonely Mountain (Erebor).
After the Battle of the Five Armies, the pass was once again free from danger and was maintained by the Beornings and for many years afterwards it had become important to trade between peoples living in Eriador and Rhovanion. During the War of the Ring, the Fellowship of the Ring bypassed the High Pass because the eastern side of the Misty Mountains had become too dangerous. It was also the most obvious route they could take from Rivendell.
Places of Middle-earth and Arda
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda:
- Unfinished Tales: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
- The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
- The Atlas of Middle-earth pgs. 76 & 80