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Top 50 interesting facts about Avalanche

Following is our collection of incredible Avalanche fact check articles and charts explaining insights about Avalanche. Sometimes weird, funny, and true Avalanche facts.

avalanche facts
What is Avalanche?
  1. Wolverines are being trained to find and rescue avalanche survivors, because they are naturally inclined to sniff out animals 20 feet below the snow and eat them.

  2. Barry, a mountain rescue dog in Switzerland, saved more than 40 lives of stranded people buried under avalanches during his lifetime (1800-1814).

  3. Canada's longest running military operation involves firing artillery rounds at mountains to trigger avalanches.

  4. Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian commando in WWII. The lone survivor of an ambush, he survived an avalanche, severe frostbite and snow blindness, having to amputate his own toes, and being relentlessly pursued by Germans for nine weeks before being whisked to safety in Sweden by locals.

  5. An Irish climber by the name of Ger Mcdonnell died shortly after saving 4 other trapped climbers on the world's deadliest mountain, K2. The rescued party was taken by an avalanche hours later. His feat was one of the greatest rescues in mountaineering history but was reported only as a tragedy.

  6. In 1959 nine ski hikers died mysteriously in the Ural mountains after fleeing their camp. Their deaths were never solved, and theories for the cause range from bear or yeti attacks to avalanches and military testing.

  7. Avalanche Airbags exist, and they're used when people fall into an avalanche. They help people survive by "making them bigger" and so staying closer to the surface by the principle of inverse segregation

  8. "White Friday"; during World War 1 in Italy an avalanche struck an army barracks killing 270 soldiers. Both Italian and Austrian sides then deliberately fired shells into the weakened snowpacks in an attempt to bury the other side. 10,000 people were killed altogether.

  9. If you die falling in a Tree Well it is called a Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death (NARSID)

  10. Everest has what is called the "Graveyard in the Clouds" which is from hikers dying that haven't been found or are unable to be recovered, but from time to time their bodies reappear after a glacier move or avalanche.

What are some fun facts about avalanche?

Peter Freuchen was an Arctic Explorer who, after getting trapped by an avalanche used his feces to fashion a dagger to free himself.

The main reasons that people die in an avalanche are due to wounds, hypothermia, and suffocation. Only one in three people that are buried during an avalanche are found alive.

If trapped in an avalanche the best chance of survival is to 'swim' out of it to try and stay as close to the surface as possible.

Avalanches can occur as a result of snow build up that was wind driven and not from direct snowfall.

An avalanche can reach high speeds in a short period of time, as fast as 80km an hour in only 5 seconds.

The vast majority of deaths on Mt. Everest are from falls, exposure, or avalanches, but in 1987 a Japanese mountaineer managed to drown.

Mount Rainier sits at 13,211 feet. Geologists believe the mountain was once 16,000 feet but due to mudflows, glaciations and avalanches, its elevation decreased over time.

An Asteroid will pass so close to Earth in the year 2029 that it will trigger asteroid avalanche.

After being trapped in an avalanche Peter Freuchen tore out his beard, dug his way out with chisel made from his own frozen faeces then amputated his own gangrenous toes with pincers and a hammer.

Wolverines also eat leftovers of dead animals, killed by wolves and bears. Due to their excellent sense of smell, they can detect carrion hidden under the snow after the avalanche. Wolverines will also dig snow if they sense the smell of the hibernating mammal.

The human body sinks in avalanche debris quickly. After the avalanche snow slide has begun to slow, a buried victim should clear space to breathe and punch their hand upward, before the snow slide stops as the snow becomes like concrete immediately.

The US National Park Service uses recoilless rifles as a form of avalanche control.

While over 4,000 people have attempted to climb Mt. Everest, only 660 people have been successful and 142 people have died trying and 120 are still buried on the mountain. The usual cause of death is being buried by an avalanche where millions of tons of snow fall down off the mountain slope.

In some areas prone to avalanches crews will trigger them under safer conditions to reduce the buildup on dangerous slopes.

St. Bernard is best known as search-and-rescue dog, specialized for finding people trapped in the snow or lost in the avalanches.

The old woman wearing the red hat who’s sifting through the ashes of her fire ravaged home in Prince Avalanche is a real person the film crew came across while filming in ruined homes. Everything she tells Paul Rudd about her home and what she’s looking for is a real moment caught on camera.

Preventative measures are often taken in areas where human life is threatened by avalanches. Repeatedly traveling on a snowpack can help to stabilize it. Explosives can be used to trigger small avalanches.

The German battleship Bismarck hit the seafloor so hard when it sank it created an undersea avalanche and mini earthquake

There used to be so many passenger pigeons in America, that flocks of them flying overhead could easily block out the sun and create darkness in the middle of the day for a few minutes. They could also break the limbs of trees when setting down on them, causing feathery avalanches.

Most avalanches occur on a slope that has an angle between 30 to 45 degrees as steeper slopes slough off the snow continuously, which avoids snowpack buildup.

Jan Baalsrud, a member of the Norwegian commando group Linge Company, who spent 9 weeks on the run in occupied Norway after a mission went wrong. Escape included being buried in an avalanche, frostbite, and amputation of his is own toes. His route to safety is marked as a hiking trail today. - fact check

In 1999 in Montroc, France, an avalanche killed 12 people in their chalets after burying them in 100,000 tons of snow.

Aside from logging, other threats to the Pacific Temperate Rainforest include floods, avalanches, and landslides. Forest fires are not common because of the high rainfall and more moderate temperatures throughout the year.

The worst avalanche disaster in the United States took place in 1910. A train wreck triggered the avalanche and approximately 96 people died as a result.

It is estimated that approximately 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers died during World War I as a result of avalanches at the Austrian-Italian front.