• Liberty Bell avalanche zone; it even continues down the hillside to the highway below.
  • Spiral Gulch avalanche zone
  • The area we commonly refer to as the Annex. The Liberty Bell slides reach the highway for a second time here.

The hairpin curve - North Cascades Highway

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Photo courtesy of Cliff & Joy Schwab.

We're overlooking what is typically referred to as the hairpin curve along the North Cascades Highway. This photo was taken on Friday, April 8, before we started clearing the snow off the highway.

The hairpin curve runs through several major avalanche zones - as can be seen here www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/5242152485/in/set-72157625298....

From this perspective, it sure makes the avalanches across the highway appear small. The reality is, though, that the slides are up to 60 feet deep over the highway in the Liberty Bell avalanche zone.

patjan33, wesh, urlgirl, pam3la, and 27 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. captain4550 37 months ago | reply

    Looks like there are 3 slides across the road already. One of these days I am going to drive that road but I think I will wait until after mid June.

  2. GrafikFeat 37 months ago | reply

    Awesome shot...

  3. EllenBerdan 37 months ago | reply

    Interesting to see from above! Glad the road is closed in winter. It's a spectacular drive! From east to west is best!

  4. aka_fb1 37 months ago | reply

    I agree with the east to west route. Way prettier and a lot of fun on the motorcycles. However, next winter season, we are trying to get a group together to snowshoe the highway. I cannot think of a nicer way to see it.

  5. frogman2007 36 months ago | reply

    captain4550, not every place along the Highway is avalanche prone. The NWAC also issues daily avalanche forecasts throughout the winter. The mountains can easily be enjoyed in the winter as long as caution is exercised.

  6. GrafikFeat 36 months ago | reply

    Are you kidding me?
    I'd walk there now before they open it to cellphone wielding drivers.

  7. phreespirit 36 months ago | reply

    I made the drive in Aug 2009 and it was STUNNING. The only bad weather we hit was torrential rains in, you guessed it, Rainy Pass. Other than that, it was a breathtaking delight. Was hoping to do the drive again on Sunday, May 15th, 2011 but it looks like that won't be happening :(

  8. captain4550 36 months ago | reply

    I am sure the mountains offer enjoyment all year round but I still maintain that one should weigh the risks vrs. enjoyment before going. Cautious people are killed every year on the mountains around here. Unexpected things happen. I will stick to transversing the highway during the summer months. The risks are considerably minimized during those days.

  9. Kyle Kruchok 33 months ago | reply

    That would be the coolest job to have. Hiring?

  10. Taxtropel 29 months ago | reply

    And people are killed by the millions every year around the world simply driving. Not to mention the deaths from preventable illness and habits. The risk of the mountains, although there, is a minimal risk when compared to the risks we take on a daily basis. So get out of your cubicles and live a little!

  11. localguy2012 24 months ago | reply

    On the photo WDOT identifies a feature as Spiral Gulch. It is actually Spire Gulch - named after South Early Winter's Spire at the top of the gulch.

  12. AlexSven1 24 months ago | reply

    I couldn't agree more Taxtropel

  13. seeseagle 23 months ago | reply

    This would be a fantastic spot for a web camera.....how bout it guys?

  14. CAVU4 18 months ago | reply


    I want you flying my plane !

  15. cntry44grl 13 months ago | reply

    Oh, yes! Web camera! Every morning all winter long I peek at pass web cams. Would like one of this view.

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