The Yehimal, a name meaning "Rock-Snow", or the Mountains of Snow, and sometimes called the Yehimal Mountains or simply the Yehimals,[note 1] was an immense mountain range that formed the primary barrier between the three continents of Zakhara, Faerûn, and Kara-Tur, and between them the Hordelands. They were famed as the largest, highest, most extensive, and indeed greatest mountain range in all the known lands of Toril.
The Yehimal was undoubtedly the most majestic natural wonder in all the Hordelands, thanks to its soaring, glacier-topped peaks. These ranged in height from 15,000 feet (4570 meters) to astonishing 30,000 feet (9140 meters) above sea level, marking them as the tallest in the world.[note 2] The mountains were formed from folded and upthrust granite, with jagged profiles.
The mountains sprawled southwest of Shou Lung in Kara-Tur and lay south and east of the Jumpa River Gorge, which delineated the mountains from the steppes of the Hordelands. The Yehimal effectively dominated and separated the steppes from the southern kingdoms.
The Yehimal appeared to have been formed as a result of the southeastern part of the continental plate being pushed over its own southwestern part. As the colossal mountains of the Yehimal were forced upward, the Jumpa River Gorge was driven downward, creating twice over an insurmountable physical barrier across half the continent.
The Yehimal was an enormously extensive system of mountains that sprawled across three continents. It comprised multiple lesser mountain ranges and branches, each of which had lesser mountain ranges and branches of their own. Some of the most significant were:[note 3]
- The Kun-Yen Shan: This formed the northern edge of the main mass of the Yehimal, facing onto the high Katakoro Plateau. It trailed eastward, becoming the first arm extending east into Kara-Tur.
- The A-Ling Shan: A small continuation of the Kun-Yen Shan's northern face, it curved northwest, separating the southwestern corner of the Katakoro Plateau from the Golden Water lands of southeast Faerûn.
- The Ghalyi Shan and Katakoro Shan: From the A-Ling Shan, a chain of mountain ranges bent northeast, encompassing the Katakoro Plateau. In the east, it descended in stages to the plateau. In the west, sheer cliffs fell down to the Jumpa River Gorge.
- The Dustwall Mountains: From the A-Ling Shan, these mountains stretched westward, separating the Golden Water lands from the Raurin Desert. It curved north in the Giant's Belt.
- The Po Yul Dzayul Range: The second arm extending east into Kara-Tur, this one bisecting the high plateau of Tabot.
- The Wu Pi Te Shao Mountains or Peerless Mountains: A series of mountain ranges standing in the southern part of the Yehimal. One arm of the Wu Pi Te Shao—the third of those of the Yehimal extending east into Kara-Tur—ended in the Shao Mountains in the southwest. A third arm ran south, like a spine down the center of the 500-mile-wide (800 kilometers) isthmus linking Faerûn and Zakhara; on the west lay the Utter East and the last outpost of Faerûn, while on the east lay the Sempadan Forest and the ends of Kara-Tur.
- The World Pillar Mountains or Jibal al-Akbas: These lay at the southern end of the Wu Pi Te Shao Mountains. They were the greatest mountain range in Zakhara, and separated northeast Zakhara from the Sempadan Forest.
- Annual rainfall: 12 in/305 mm
- Average temperature: −5 ℉/−21 ℃
Flora & FaunaEdit
Although the mountain valleys could be quite fertile, the high altitudes could barely support life, owing to the bare rock, extreme cold, unending wind, and thin air. The majority of vegetation at these heights were only beds of hardy lichens and mosses, and no natural plants grew at all above around 17,000 feet (5180 meters).
The Jumpa River began in the Katakoro Shan and was fed by the whole northwestern face of the mountains, making it one of the most high-volume rivers of the mountains. It flowed through the Jumpa River Gorge, paralleling the foot of the mountains, and through the Great Pass of the Yehimal.
Yeti dwelled in the Yehimal, as did some go-zu and me-zu oni. Asperii were also known to roam the Yehimal. As for dragons, t'ien lung made their homes here; conversely, copper dragons were confirmed not to inhabit the Yehimal.
According to dwarven legends, the Yehimal was the site of the very first dwarf settlements on Toril, founded some tens of millennia before the 14th century DR, that is, around −16,000 DR. Scholars estimated that they later made a great exodus out of the Yehimal, migrating into the continents of Faerûn, Kara-Tur, and Zakhara and dividing into two or three major branches. The ones who ventured north into Faerûn are theorized to have made their first settlements under the lands that would be known as Semphar, before spreading westward. By −15,000 DR, they'd already founded their first great kingdom, Bhaerynden, beneath the Shaar.
The Yehimal are of course based on the Himalaya, also a vast and extensive mountain range, with a similar name (meaning "Abode of Snow"), formed through similar plate tectonics, and also dividing continents and cultures.
- ↑ With the word "Yehimal" appearing to mean "Mountains of Snow" in an unknown language, the occasionally used name "Yehimal Mountains" may be an example of a tautological place name, that is, translating to "Mountains of Snow Mountains". However, this name appears commonly in the later sources and is adopted here for clarity and ease of organization.
- ↑ For comparison, these mountains are taller than Mount Everest, at 29,029 ft (8,848 m).
- ↑ Descriptions and lore that are specific to the individual mountain ranges (whether parts or branches of the Yehimal) will be presented on the pages for those mountain ranges.
- ↑ The Horde presents general climate data and descriptions for all "high peaks" ranges of the Hordelands, including the Yehimal. Although not specific, the information is included here for reference.
- ↑ The Horde presents general encounter tables for high mountains in the Hordelands. To be precise, only creature information specific to the Yehimal is included here.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), p. vii. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 26.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Troy Denning (November 1998). Faces of Deception. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1183-2.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Map: The Horde). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 (1989). Kara-Tur Trail Map. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-88038-783-7.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), pp. 1, 13. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ Curtis Smith and Rick Swan (1990). Ronin Challenge. (TSR, Inc), p. map. ISBN 0-88038-749-1.
- ↑ Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Maps). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- ↑ Jeff Grubb (August 1992). Land of Fate (Maps). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-1560763291.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 63. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ Troy Denning (1998). “Rogues Gallery: Faces of Deception”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #3 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 112–118.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.