The Avalanche Insurgency is the war between two eco-terrorist organizations known as Avalanche and Shinra Electric Power Company that spans Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- and the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, and lasts between εγλ 0001 and εγλ 0007. The war, which ends with the total defeat of the first incarnation of Avalanche and the marginalization of the second incarnation, sees the use of guerrilla warfare, terrorist attacks, genetically engineered super soldiers and Summon Materia.
With its victory in the Wutai War, Shinra had reached world hegemony.[note 1] Around this time, an anonymous man who had studied life in Cosmo Canyon established Avalanche[note 2]. Under the leadership of Elfe and Fuhito, the movement became a global insurgent group fighting to save the Planet from the misuse of Mako energy. Fuhito is a ruthless and cold leader, willing use any methods deemed necessary to achieve his goals.
First Avalanche incarnation
Down with the Shinra!Avalanche rallying cry
Sometime after the formation of Avalanche, a girl named Felicia who had lost her memories, came to Cosmo Canyon and became the organization's leader taking on the name "Elfe". She worked with a scientist named Fuhito, whose plans far exceed a revolution of Shinra - he wants all people returned to the Planet, essentially seeking a total genocide. Elfe and Fuhito meet a bandit leader named Shears, who has his own reasons to hate Shinra.
Together the three work to destroy Shinra with an army of insurgents. They recruit the Shinra Vice President, Rufus Shinra, to fund their operations and supply them with intelligence of Shinra defenses and movements. Rufus cares not for Avalanche's beliefs, but hopes for Avalanche to kill his father, President Shinra, so Rufus could succeed him. Using SOLDIER data, Fuhito creates an attack squad called the Ravens. This movement of Avalanche is vicious, willing to do anything to defeat Shinra.
Avalanche fights the Turks, a Shinra black-ops group, but most of their battles end in draws. They unsuccessfully try to bomb the Sector 8 mako reactor, and attempt to capture the Mako Cannon at Junon and use it to attack Midgar - a mission foiled by Sephiroth who also duels Elfe. They conduct a number of missions across the globe, in far-off places like Modeoheim and even inside the Shinra Building. Eventually cornered in Wutai, they survive a Shinra onslaught by feigning their movement is defunct, something they can only do with the help of Rufus.
They later resurge in Corel attempting to destroy the local reactor but suffer a devastating defeat; the town is destroyed by the Shinra army, and Rufus Shinra - Avalanche's most important supporter - is captured by the Turks. Barret Wallace, who will later become the founder of the second smaller Avalanche movement, is involved in the battle on Shinra's side.
Soon after Elfe loses her strength from an ancient Summon Materia called Zirconiade inside her, and Shears leaves the organization to work with the Turk leader, Verdot, who is Elfe's father. The Turks defect with their leader to find four Materia to defeat Zirconiade. Rufus is punished for aiding Avalanche, and is placed under house arrest in the Turks' hidden headquarters, but is labeled as being on an "extended assignment overseas".
While Shears is gone and Elfe is too weak to lead, Fuhito becomes the true leader of Avalanche. During his command, the group breaks down as Avalanche soldiers act as little more than zombies of Fuhito's will. Several members leave, disgusted how the group has changed. One of them is Shalua Rui, who sustains great injuries during her escape, but ends up being killed in battle on October 5, εуλ 0007. What remains of this Avalanche group is either defeated or falls apart, and Elfe leaves with her father to escape Shinra. This marks the end of the first Avalanche movement and, at least for the time being, all serious opposition to Shinra hegemony in the world.
Rufus is neither killed nor stripped of his title for being a traitor; President Shinra merely orders him to be placed under house arrest. His absence is explained by claiming he is on an "extended assignment overseas".
Second Avalanche incarnation
A second, far smaller, Avalanche is created in Midgar by Barret Wallace, a former citizen of Corel. After Corel was destroyed and several Avalanche members defected the organization, Barret met up with one such member in Cosmo Canyon and was told of the ideals that drove Avalanche and their goals before being taken over by Fuhito. This gave Barret the incentive to form a resistance group of his own (it's unknown whether this was after the full destruction of Avalanche or not, but it is likely due to the timescale and implied injuries Barret sustained from Scarlet).
Although having some fundamental disagreements with Fuhito, Barret takes up the fight where Fuhito left off. On December 9, εуλ 0007, Avalanche bombs Mako Reactor 1, killing an unknown number of civilians. They launch a similar operation the next day, with Mako Reactor 5 as their target, but are taken by surprise by the Shinra Intelligence Agency and face the Air Buster. The battle splits up the group, as Cloud Strife, a mercenary hired by Avalanche, falls into the Midgar Slums.
While Avalanche tries to reunify and gather intelligence they discover Shinra plans to drop the plate above Sector 7 to wipe out the group. Avalanche fails to prevent this, and everybody in Sector 7 is killed including three members of the group. This marks the practical defeat of the second Avalanche movement, although the remaining members still put up a fight to rescue Aeris, who was kidnapped by the Turks before the destruction of Sector 7. They infiltrate the Shinra Building but are arrested by the Turks and imprisoned.
Sephiroth reemerges and indirectly helps the party escape. The surviving members choose to pursue him rather than to keep fighting for a lost cause in Midgar. Avalanche can be said to live on with Cloud's party, but the group rarely identifies itself with that name following the events in Midgar, and Barret Wallace eventually makes clear Avalanche is no more. Although he later declares the rebirth of Avalanche, this "third" incarnation rarely engages the Shinra directly and focuses on dealing with Sephiroth and the Weapons (see the Jenova War).
The surviving members from the second incarnation of Avalanche keep working against the Shinra although their main focus is to stop Sephiroth. They finance a local resistance during the Siege of Fort Condor, scoring a (albeit indirect) victory over Shinra. Cloud's party prevents the Shinra from obtaining the Huge Materias and eventually finishes off the Shinra leadership by killing Scarlet and Heidegger in the aftermath of the Raid on Midgar.
After these events, the group presumably disbands, though the former members keep in touch with each other. The memory of Avalanche's struggles may be symbolized along with the memory of Aerith's death by the pink ribbons worn around the arms of the party.
Final Fantasy VII Remake depicts Avalanche as a once-unified movement that has since fractured, with many cells having splintered off from the main group. To distinguish itself, the central organization has taken the nomer Avalanche HQ. Despite differences in methods and beliefs, the various factions do still cooperate with each other. The existence of a greater movement was alluded to in the original game, but only Barret's group was ever shown.
Avalanche HQ aims to overthrow Shinra and free the people with minimal bloodshed, having perhaps learned from the near-disaster brought about under Fuhito's leadership. Barret believes that ending Mako exploitation is an urgent matter warranting extreme measures, and falls out with the rest of the organization. This resulted in a separation or expulsion from Avalanche HQ around a year before the events in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Avalanche infiltrates Mako Reactor 1 and plants a bomb, but it fails to explode. President Shinra, who has been watching through security cameras, sets the reactor to self-destruct in order to mobilize the masses against Avalanche. The explosion is far more powerful than the one planted by Avalanche, wrecking parts of Sector 8 and leading the group to believe that they had miscalculated the amount of explosives needed.
- In the original continuity, the nation of Wutai was soundly defeated and reduced to a tourist trap. From what has yet been revealed in the Final Fantasy VII Remake, in this continuity the war ended on a more inconclusive note. While Shinra seems to have come out strongest in military terms, it opted not to crush Wutai and rather accept a ceasefire that put the war on hold. Wutai is still referred to in belligerent terms by Shinra.
- In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, a man in Sector 7 went to Cosmo Canyon and studied life and learned of the mako reactors, causing him to hate Shinra with a passion, fitting the description in the Ultimania. This person could be the unknown man who started the resistance movement despite denying it when questioned about being connected to Avalanche.
- Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega
- Barret: "And then...? I don't know what's going to happen, now that there is no Avalanche."
- Final Fantasy VII, Biggs: Think how many of our people risked their lives, just for this code...
- Final Fantasy VII Remake, Tifa: Can't believe it's already been a year. I don't know how we managed.