The Fellowship of the Ring Book 2, Chapter 3
The hobbits hold a meeting of their own. Merry and Pippin wish they could go on the journey. Gandalf tells them that nothing has been decided yet. They have been talking for a while. Elrond is sending messengers out to discover who should go. Sam complains that they will be leaving when winter comes. Gandalf tells them to rest and says that he may go on the journey. This excites Frodo. Bilbo talks about the end of the book he has been writing and hopes it will be happy.
The days slip by and winter comes rolling in. Two months later all the messengers have returned with no sightings of riders in the region. It is decided that the expedition must begin soon. Elrond sets the number of the company at nine to match the nine black riders. He chooses the two hobbits, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir, Aragorn, and Gimli, Gloin's son. He cannot decide who the other two will be until Gandalf supports the choice of Pippin and Merry. Aragorn's sword is re-forged and given a new name. Frodo spends his few remaining days in Rivendell with Bilbo. Bilbo gives him his sword and his coat of mail. Frodo accepts the gifts reluctantly and Bilbo tells him to take care of himself. On the seventh day after the council, they leave. They take few weapons. Gimli is well armed. Gandalf and Aragorn take swords. The hobbits have their swords from Tom Bombadil. Elrond gives them warm clothing and food. Sam apologizes to the pony for the journey on which they are about to embark. Elrond calls the group together and announces that they all go by choice and may stop whenever they choose. Bilbo wishes them luck, "I don't suppose you'll be able to keep a diary Frodo, my lad, but I shall expect a full account when you get back." Book 2, Chapter 3, pg. 336.
They cross the bridge and move off into the cold hills with Gandalf and Aragorn in the lead. For many days they march and the hobbits feel like they are making no progress. After two weeks the weather begins to change for the better. They approach Moria, the location of the dwarves' ancient home. Gimili is struck by the sight and happy to see it. Only Strider is anxious. He thinks that the region is terribly uneasy. Gandalf heeds his concern. They set watches for the night. Sam sees a patch of darkness in the wind. Soon immense flocks of crows sweep over them. Gandalf says that they are being watched and must keep moving. For the rest of the journey, they are to light no more fires. They hide during the day and travel at night. Aragorn guides them swiftly.
They march on for two more nights and come near the mountains. Because of Saruman, Aragorn is not sure whether or not they are safe, but they move forward nevertheless. They abandon the idea of taking a passage through the mountain. They climb up to a pass over it. As they labor to ascend the mountain, it begins to snow. Soon it is thick and all around them and Gandalf is surprised to have such weather so far south. The storm escalates into a blizzard and they must halt near some rocks where they can find shelter. Frodo feels very sleepy and Boromir worries that the hobbits are going to freeze. Gandalf passes around a vial of elfish brew that makes them feel stronger. They try to make a fire, but Gandalf is the only one who can manage it. It burns low through the night. Near dawn the snow seems to stop. They look for wood. Gandalf and Aragorn realize that they are not going to be able to make it over the mountain and they look for a way down through the snow. They find a large drift and cut their way through it. When they return, they pick up the hobbits and carry them down through the snow. The crows circle around as they march away from the peak of the mountain.