High overall rates of permafrost cliff retreat, coupled with spatial variability, have been accompanied by increased uncertainty over future landscape dynamics. We map long‐term (>80 years) retreat of the shoreline and photogrammetrically analyze historic aerial imagery to quantify the processes at a permafrost coast site with massive ground ice. Retreat rates have been relatively constant, but topographic changes show that subsidence is a potentially critical but often ignored component of coastal sensitivity, exceeding landward recession by over three times during the last 24 years. We calibrate novel passive seismic surveys along clear and variable exposures of massive ground ice and then spatially map key subsurface layers. Combining decadal patterns of volumetric change with new ground ice variation maps enables past trends to be interpreted, future volumetric geomorphic behavior to be better constrained, and improves the assessment of permafrost coast sensitivity and the release of carbon‐bearing material.