Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Gros Ventre Slide

February 23, 2018

Gros-Ventre-Slide (1)

Photographer: George Seielstad 
Summary Author: George Seielstad 

The gash in the forest of Bridger-Teton National Forest, just outside Grand Teton National Park, records a story combining weather, geology and human history. During the late spring of 1925, following a winter of heavy snowfall, intense rains exacerbated the melting snowpack to create a massive landslide on June 23. 50 million tons of debris swept downhill so fast that it rose hundreds of feet up the opposite slope. This landslide formed a natural dam on the Gros Ventre River and behind it a lake that extended for 5 miles (8 km). Only 2 years later (1927), this natural dam gave way. Instantly, an enormous volume of water washed down the Gros Ventre River, destroying the town of Kelly and killing 6 of its residents. Photo taken on September 25, 2017.