|“The Hope slide, near Hope, British Columbia. Image by Fawcett5, August, 2005.” |
(Image in public domain, Wikipedia)
In the early morning of 9 January 1965, a small avalanche occurred in the Nicolum Valley, near Hope, in southwestern British Columbia. Three vehicles travelling on this stretch of Highway 3 (known locally as the Hope-Princeton Highway) came upon the debris, preventing them from going further. While they waited on the road, a second, deadly slide struck when a massive amount of rock came down Johnson Peak, destroying its southwestern face.
It was the “largest landslide ever recorded in Canada […] estimated at 47 million cubic metres […] of pulverized rock, mud, and debris 85 metres (279 ft) deep and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide, which came down the 2,000-metre (6,600 ft) mountainside”. 
Four people – the waiting travellers – were killed in their cars and trucks. Rescuers recovered two bodies; the other two “have remained entombed under the rock since 1965”. 
My parents and my sister and I must have seen the Slide when we drove through BC during our summer vacation in 1966, but I don’t remember it. The next time I saw the devastation was in May 1980, a few months after my family moved to Hope.
A video of what the area looks like today is available at Hope Slide.
Here are some pictures I took during my 1980 visit to the Hope Slide. I’ve been back to the site a few times since that year. The landscape hasn’t really changed; it’s still quiet, bleak and desolate-looking.
|The valley floor, looking east (1980)|
|Information board explaining the events of that fateful day (1980)|
|Looking east, with my brother in the centre pointing to the mountain (1980)|
|A northeast view, with my father and his friend Paul (1980)|
1. Wikipedia contributors, "Hope Slide," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hope_Slide&oldid=585452999 : accessed January 8, 2014).
2. Wikipedia contributors, "Hope Slide," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.