Saturday, 23 March 2013

Avalanche season not over yet in Western Newfoundland

     by Keith and Heather Nicol

Photo 1- Selby says the thickness of snow was 3-4 meters
      I just received some photos of what appears to be a large avalanche that occurred recently in Gros Morne National Park. The coordinates are 49 41 47 N and 57 34 27.5 W which puts it about 3 km east of Western Brook Gorge near Narrow Pond. On the topographic map the hill seems pretty small but Selby (who sent me the photos) says that the left hand face of photo 1 is about 3-4 meters high. He said that the debris had chunks the size of small cars so there was lots of ice and snow involved !! What is unusual is that it appears to have slid to ground on the smooth bedrock (see photo 2). This is an east facing slope meaning that it would have received a lot of wind blown snow over the winter and hence the huge accumulation of snow. He took the photo on Tuesday, March 19, 2013  but doesn’t know when the avalanche came down.  Also as John Smallwood says in the video below – the combination of new snow on top of a crust layer is often the recipe for avalanches in the area he snowmobiles in near Hawke’s Bay. If you see avalanches in your travels send me an email ( with the GPS coordinates and a photo or two.We will add them to our avalanche data base. Also thanks to the Canadian Avalanche Foundation for funding avalanche awareness in Newfoundland.Thanks as well to Genuine Guide Gear ( for assisting with equipment for avalanche awareness sessions.

Photo 2- The avalanche seems to have slid on the smooth bedrock

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