Gros Ventre Slide, Wyoming

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Gros Ventre Slide A River Dammed

The Gros Ventre slide may have been started by heavy prolonged rainfall. Some 50 million cubic yards of sandstone, limestone, shale and rock, about one mile long, 2000 feet wide and several hundred feet deep in places, plunged down and formed a dam 225 feet high and half a mile wide across the Gros Ventre River. A lake was created above the dam.

For almost two years this earth dam held; then on May 18, 1927, part of the dam gave way and a wall of water, mud and rock flowed down the canyon destroying valuable property. Ranch lands were ruined by mud and rubble and the town of Kelly, three and one half miles downstream, was practically wiped out. Six persons drowned.

Gros Ventre Slide Gros Ventre Slide
Gros Ventre Slide The Gros Ventre slide is located just east of Grand Teton National Park. Above: views of the landslide scar from the west.

Left: looking west down the valley of the Gros Ventre River toward the Tetons.

Gros Ventre Slide Beyond the foreground ridge in the photo above, the land is flat. The town of Kelly, mentioned in the historical marker above, is a small collection of buildings with no obvious signs of the flood.
Gros Ventre Slide Slide Lake, looking east (upstream)
Gros Ventre Slide Slide Lake looking southwest to the slide.
Gros Ventre Slide Left and below: views of the slide. The slide itself is forested and may have transported much of the forest cover intact. The slide scar is still largely bare even after three quarters of a century, probably because the  surface is largely bedrock devoid of soil.
Gros Ventre Slide Gros Ventre Slide

photos taken June 16, 2003

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Created 8 April 2003, Last Update 06 June 2020