- "Therefore Feanor halted and the Noldor debated what course they should now take. But they began to suffer anguish from the cold, and the clinging mists through which no gleam of star could pierce; and many repented of the road and began to murmur, especially those that followed Fingolfin, cursing Feanor, and naming him as the cause of all the woes of the Eldar."
- —The Silmarillion Of the Flight of the Noldor
The Helcaraxë or "Grinding Ice" was an icy waste between the lands of Aman and Middle-earth. Its exact nature is left unclear, but it seems to have been an area of broken and shifting pack ice covering the northernmost parts of the Great Sea.
The Helcaraxë was first crossed by Melkor and Ungoliant after they destroyed the Two Trees. After being abandoned by the House of Fëanor in Araman, Fingolfin and his people braved this dangerous, frozen wasteland on their journey to Middle-earth. They endured great hardships and lost many including Elenwë, wife of Turgon, who perished in the crossing. This crossing of the Helcaraxë greatly diminished the original Host of Fingolfin by the time they finally arrived in Middle-earth at the first rising of the Moon The Helcaraxë ceased to exist after the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age.
Earlier versions of the legendarium
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||西爾卡瑞西海峽|
|Danish||Helkaraxë ("Den Knagende Is")|
|Kazakh||Һелцарахе (Cyrillic) Helcaraxe (Latin)|
|Serbian||Хелкаракс (Cyrillic) Helkaraks (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Ҳелчарахе (Cyrillic) Helcaraxë (Latin)|
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter III: "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Introduction"
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Second Age, "Introduction"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter VII: "The Flight of the Noldoli"