Thursday, August 6, 2020
News Alaskan 4th of July Tradition: Launching Cars Off a Cliff

Alaskan 4th of July Tradition: Launching Cars Off a Cliff

Celebrating the independence of the USA by destroying cars.


  • The Glacier View Car Launch is an annual event in Alaska.
  • Cars are rolled off a cliff to celebrate the 4th of July.

There are many ways to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States. We can gaze at a show of fireworks, watch a parade or get together around a barbecue and raise our glasses to commemorate the Declaration of Independence. However, many residents of Alaska attend the annual Glacier View Car Launch, which is said to be an Alaskan tradition.

Simply put, they gather at the bottom of a 300-foot cliff in Glacier View—a small town with a population of about 250—to watch cars and trucks go airborne and finish their miserable life in a ball of twisted metal and plastic.

As the crowd watches in their fold-out chairs to the sound of music, one by one, or even two at a time, cars get launched with a piece of lumber jammed against the gas pedal and dive off the precipice, landing half-way down, body trim flying in the air. Some vehicles hit the ground and roll all the way to the bottom of the cliff. A pond was specifically created for the event, to prevent any scrapheaps from pursuing their trajectory and reach the 4th of July celebrating audience.

The first car to be launched in the video is a rather sad-looking Volkswagen Passat wagon, which was spray-painted in red, white and blue, followed by a 90s Chevrolet Blazer four-door SUV. Next up, a Pontiac Grand Am takes the ceremonial dive, landing only a few feet away from the Blazer and barrelling down the hill.

What seems to be a Ford Explorer is also sacrificed, followed by a Geo Metro as it barks out a final scream before hitting the ground. Not be outdone, the event organizers than launch a roofless Buick LeSabre and a very square SUV (an Isuzu Trooper, perhaps) at the same time, much to the delight of the crowd below. A first-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee then takes the 4th of July dive and gets pretty good air before crashing right beside the mangled Blazer.

After an identified white econobox rolls off the cliff, missing the jump entirely, a midsize sedan takes off with more gusto and rolls all the way down the hill after a hard landing. The spectacle ends with the final vehicle launched, a late-70s Chevrolet C/K pickup that rips into pieces as it lands and rolls over the existing piles of scrap that remained half-way up the hill. The crowd goes wild.

The Glacier View Car Launch is a very odd 4th of July tradition, but an entertaining one nonetheless.

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