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Hair-Trigger Avalanche
One yodel out of place would attract, not the jolly echo of a lonely goatherd, but fifty tons of express-delivery snow.

Someone in the mountains triggers an avalanche by shouting or making another loud noise (shooting a gun, detonating an explosion, sneezing), especially if other characters have warned him about this before.

Examples

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    Comic Books 
  • Played for Drama and Laughs in Tintin in Tibet.
  • One issue of Thorgal starts with someone blowing a horn in the mountains, with the protagonist commenting on how irresponsible it is. The whole issue is a Timey-Wimey Ball and culminates with a Girl of the Week taking The Slow Path to cause the avalanche on purpose, killing the time traveler and saving Thorgal's life but putting him out of the loop in the process.
  • In the first Kaamelott comic book, L'Armée du Nécromant, the knights are caught in an avalanche while fighting a horde of zombies in the mountains. At first they think it was from Merlin casting a spell, but in fact it was because Karadoc and Perceval were yelling while charging into the fray.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Simpsons Movie, when the family moves to Alaska, Bart amuses himself by clapping while Homer is outside to trigger avalanches. Homer thinks he's clapping for Alaska and asks Lisa to join in. He is then swept away by the ensuing avalanche.
  • On Balto, the sled dogs have to escape an avalanche triggered by one of the dogs sneezing.
  • Mulan: Shooting a rocket into a snow-filled cliffside is how Mulan defeats the rampaging Hun horde.
  • Nu, Pogodi!. The Wolf tries to shout his trademark threat to the Rabbit, and gets hit by a small amount of snow. Then he tries to say it, and gets hit by more snow. He finally tries to whisper, and exits, pursued by an avalanche.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: After kidnapping the women, the men start an avalanche so they can't be pursued by the townspeople by firing pistols into the air repeatedly while the women all scream at the top of their lungs.
  • xXx: Xander intentionally causes an avalanche with a grenade and then snowboards his way down the mountain in front of it.
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Bond and Traci are skiing away from SPECTRE mooks when Blofeld detonates a flare above some hanging rocks and ice, triggering an avalanche.

    Literature 
  • Mentioned in Reaper Man.
    One yodel out of place would attract, not the jolly echo of a lonely goatherd, but fifty tons of express-delivery snow.
  • Averted in The Snow Tiger by Desmond Bagley. Although it's assumed a light aircraft carrying journalists triggered a fatal avalanche, an expert testifies afterwards that tests involving aircraft (including supersonic jetfighters) proved this was impossible.
  • Mentioned in Frankenstein. As Victor Frankenstein climbs a mountain, he remarks that even a loud voice would be able to trigger an avalanche.

    Live-Action TV 
  • I Love Lucy episode "Lucy in the Swiss Alps". The main cast is in a cabin with a big cliff of snow over it, trying not to make any noise that would trigger an avalanche. When Lucy slams the door it causes an avalanche.
  • The Benny Hill Show: In a sketch, Benny causes an avalanche by sneezing after taking some snuff.
  • Happens to Father Larry Duff in one of the Father Ted Christmas Specials when an avalanche is triggered by his phone ringing.
  • In the next-to-last episode of Hogan's Heroes, the boys are charged with blocking a mountain pass. Denied the chance to mine the pass itself, they are resorted to attempting one of these. Their chosen method is a jam session with Carter on the horn and Hogan on the drums. The bad news: It fails. The good news: Col. Klink produces a timely Sneeze of Doom.
  • Tested (and busted) by the MythBusters in several ways. Yodeling, cracking a whip, and firing up to two automatic rifles all failed to set off an avalanche. It took quite a few charges of TNT to cause one.
  • "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues": In 1950, Indy (Harrison Ford) and his friend are pursued and take refuge from a snowstorm in a cabin. After the bad guys catch on them and steal the artifact of the day, Indiana Jones seems to give up and just play on a soprano sax... until he blows a long note, making the snow on top of the cabin and the nearby trees fall down and bury the villains.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

     Western Animation 
  • Jonny Quest TOS did this twice.
    • "House of Seven Gargoyles". A member of the submarine crew fires a rifle while under Strontium Glacier, causing it to collapse on Ivar and themselves.
    • "Calcutta Adventure". Dr. Quest's ultrasonic amplifier causes an avalanche that destroys the bad guys and their base.
  • Played with in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Idiot Box".
    SpongeBob: I think we should keep our voices down in case of avalanche!
    Patrick: What?
    SpongeBob: I said we should keep our voices DOWN in case of avalanche!
    Patrick: What should we keep down?
    SpongeBob: (shouting) OUR VOICES!
    (Squidward kicks the box)
    (avalanche sounds plus SpongeBob and Patrick screaming in terror emit from their cardboard box)
  • American Dad! episode "A Smith in the Hand" does it twice when Stan screams it causes an avalanche.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In one episode, Velma gets a nasty cold. As the villain controlling the monster robot is getting away, Scooby aims Velma so her sneeze is toward the mountains, causing an avalanche and catching the bad guy.
  • The Simpsons
    • Episode "Mountain of Madness": The first avalanche is caused by Homer & Mr. Burns clinking two glasses together in a toast. The second is caused by their boisterous "Huzzah!" after digging themselves out of the first. Then,
    Homer: I think when we yelled we caused another avalanche. (another avalanche)
    Burns: (whispering) We should... be... careful... not... to speak... unless... it's... absolutely... pos-i-tively... necessary. (AVALANCHE)
    Homer: Shh. (AVALANCHE) You're... causing... more... avalanches. (AVALANCHE) I (AVALANCHE) think (AVALANCHE) they've (AVALANCHE) stopped. (Beat... AVALANCHE)
    Burns: Let's go. (AVALANCHE)
    • In the episode "Mr. Plow", Barney's burp caused an avalanche.
  • In the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Koopa Klaus," Koopa's Scrooge-like yelling about Christmas causes one.
  • In the Total Drama World Tour episode "Slap Slap Revolution", the teams have to sing a song in an avalanche area in Austria. It's very quiet, until Tyler shouts out in happiness because Lindsay finally recognizes him after six episodes.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "The Iceman Ducketh", Bugs Bunny warns Daffy Duck not to talk too loud or it might start an avalanche. Daffy whispers whether it's okay to speak now, but Bugs can't understand him, so Daffy shouts the question and is buried by falling snow.
  • This happens in one of the Heyyy, It's the King! shorts on CB Bears. The avalanche is caused by the sound of the hippo character eating potato chips.
  • Occurs in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragonshy". While climbing a (snowless) mountain, Twilight Sparkle warns the others that they're entering an avalanche zone, and that the smallest noise could create a rock slide. Fluttershy, already on pins-and-needles, instantly panics and shouts "Avalanche!" when she feels something touch her backside, triggering a rock slide.
  • In a Jimmy Neutron TV movie, Jimmy and his buddies are spies, and one scene has them climbing Mount Everest. The following dialogue ensues:
    Carl: (singing) We're spies! And it's really cold! I wish I had some hot chocolate!
    Jimmy: Quiet, Carl! You could start an avalanche!
    Sheen: (at the top of his lungs) AVALANCHE?!
    (rumbling is heard)
    Jimmy: ...Like that.
  • The Wild Thornberrys: One episode had Eliza's broken yodel be enough to cause a huge avalanche.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy intentionally does this in order for him and Beezy to go snowboarding.
  • In the first episode of Inspector Gadget, Gadget triggers a small avalanche while trying to sing along with the Mad Yodeler's sheet music.
  • Dennis's dad on Dennis The Menace (US) calls out for him and gets a local's warning too late.
  • Happens in Adventure Time. In "Death in Bloom", Finn warns Jake that they have to be quiet because the skeletons nearby will notice them if they make any noise. Immediately after he warns him about this, Jake let's out a large fart which causes a rock avalanche and get's him and Finn spotted. Jake's reasoning? "I thought it would be funny..."
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Cabin Fever", Ed Bighead screams his frustration at having to share a mountain cabin with Rocko and Heffer for the weekend, causing the snowy slope nearby to bury the cabin and trap the group inside.
    Ed: How can I rest when I have to spend by weekend with those two PINHEADS!?
  • Brainy Smurf causes one in the beginning of The Smurfs episode "The Smurfs That Time Forgot".
  • Played with in the winter episode of Nu, Pogodi!. After Wolf is foiled by Hare once again, he bellows "HAAAAAAAAAAREE!!!" at the top of his lungs. Echoes rock the mountaintops... then about a handful of snow falls onto Wolf's head. Intimidated, he says it again in normal voice, there's an ominous rumble and he's covered by some more snow. He shrugs it off and whispers "Hare!", and, naturally, triggers a full-scale avalanche.


Hailfire PeaksThese Tropes Were Frozen TodayHarmless Freezing
Ghibli HillsA Mountain Of TropesLiteral Cliffhanger
Ground-Shattering LandingThe Ground Beneath Our FeetHere There Be Lions
Grievous Bottley HarmJustForFun/Tropes Examined by the Myth BustersHair Trigger Explosive

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