Michigan Ice Fest Welcomes ASOLO Back To Ice Fest!

December 22nd, 2014 Comments off


Asolo, the leading manufacturer of mountain boots, and the organizers of the Michigan Ice Fest are pleased to announce its collaboration with this years Ice Fest demo!  Coming back for their second year,  climbers from all over the Midwest will be able to test out the Asolo ice climbing boots and give them a test ride on some cold Michigan Ice!




The boot that Asolo athletes chose to face frozen waterfalls all over the world is the Eiger GV: a model designed for fast ice climbing, alpine hiking and technical climbing. Made with Gore-Tex® Duratherm® uppers, Eiger GV offers the perfect thermal insulation ensuring maximum waterproofness and breathability.


Welcome Asolo to the Michigan Ice Fest!  Be sure to stop in and check out a pair of Asolo boots at this years Michigan Ice Fest!



Ice Conditions 12-17

December 18th, 2014 Comments off

16046708705_6689f8e688_zGloom, despair, and agony on me….deep dark depression excessive misery……if we had no bad luck we’d have no luck at all.  Last weeks warm up had a devastating effect of the ice in Munising.  We hit the Curtains today and found several pillars that had fallen down and only one climbable route.  The good news is that winter has returned and hopefully we will be back in business in a week or so.


We found this little pillar on the way over to the Dryer Hose and it is something that I have never seen formed before.  With all of the water in the ground table, new seeps are forming all over the park!

15859257238_b87ea681fc_zThe Dryer Hose on the other hand has been devastated with all of the melt.  Looks like we will have to give it two more weeks before it will be climbable.  Keep checking back for current conditions or call the store at 906-226-7112 to get up to date information!

Ice Conditions 12-7-14

December 8th, 2014 Comments off


Another glorious weekend in the U.P. and many folks were out searching for climbable ice!  The last few weeks have been a perfect storm for producing early season ice, lots of snow combined with warm day time temperatures, and cold nights have seep climbs nice and fat!  The true waterfalls are also a couple weeks ahead of schedule but are still not suitable for climbing.


In Marquette, there are two climbs, the Lakeshore Climb and near Hogback Mountain and both saw ascents over the weekend. Bryan DeAustine and Mike Tyron reported fat conditions on the Grotto.  The Lakeshore Climb near Hidden Beach is fatter then normal at the base and very thin conditions at the top. Also to note, with the high water levels in Lake Superior this year, there is very little room at the belay compared to years past.  Keep this in mind if the lake is kicking up some waves there might not be any safe ground for a bottom belay.


The Dryer Hose is starting to form up with a very large cone for this early in the season.  The front side of the pillar is extremely thin and with lots of water flowing over it.  Please use patience on climbing any pillars at Pictured Rocks as these formations are extremely delicate and need a few more weeks to solidify.  Seeps on the other hand are very fat given that it is only early December!  The Curtains along Sandpoint Road are slowly developing with a few routes climbable.  Today we headed out the Lakeshore Trail to climb some of the curtains that form between Intersection Falls and Sweet Mother Moses.  Snowshoes were not needed up to Intersection Falls but came in handy walking along the base of the climbs.







There are dozens of shorter climbs that have formed along this section of the park.  If you are psyched to get on some early ice, there are certainly some short climbs formed and ready to go………might be another two weeks of cold temps before we can start climbing some of the classics that Munising is famous for.  Check out the following photos…..pretty amazing for December 7th!

Three Sisters

Three Sisters


East Channel, Grand Island

East Channel, Grand Island


Lake Shore Climbs

Lake Shore Climbs

Meet Me In Minnesota….Who Wants To Go To The Sandstone Ice Fest?

December 2nd, 2014 Comments off


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Sandstone Ice Festival!  Located in Sandstone Minnesota, this vibrant festival kicks off the ice climbing season in the Midwest as it is a gathering of kindred spirits who share a love for all things cold.   This year the Michigan Ice Festival is comin’ on over and bringing a whole bunch of gear for folks to try out!  If your coming to the fest you will have the opportunity to check out La Sportiva, Scarpa, Black Diamond, Petzl, Grivel and Cassin gear!  We look forward to seeing all of our Midwest friends and getting on some of that Minnesota ice!

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Ice Conditions 11-30-14

November 30th, 2014 Comments off


With colder temperatures returning to Upper Michigan we went out looking to see what damage the rain and warm weather did to our early season ice.


While it is hard to see this ice come down, by mid season these climbs sure will have interesting bases.  All waterfalls are  still flowing pretty good and won’t be climbable for a while.


From Prelude Curtain to the Curtains proper there are three climbable climbs.  All climbs are thin at the bottom and the top outs are super sketchy as the turf is still not frozen.









Check back next week as we will try to post more information on different climbs with hopefully some fat conditions!

Gold Level Sponsor Black Diamond To Send Kyle Dempster!

November 24th, 2014 Comments off


For years Gold Level Sponsor Black Diamond  has sent amazing athletes to our event  ensuring that we get the highest quality instructors, and are entertained in the evening with inspiring stories of climbing around the world.   This year BD  has graciously agreed to send Kyle Dempster!

Kyle Dempster who hails from the climbing mecca of Salt Lake City, owns a coffee shop, Higher Ground, and wins golden ice axes (known as the Piolet d’Or) for his ascents around the world, and to top it off, is a Black Diamond sponsored athlete.  Kyle, excited to be at this year’s Ice Fest, eat a pasty for possibly his first time in his life, and experience the Big Lake in winter.  Kyle began climbing with his cousin, Drew in 1994 at the age of 12 and partook on his first international expedition to Canada’s Baffin Island in 2005 at the age of 21 again with Drew. This trip, a turning point in his life in which he nearly gave up climbing, with Drew’s passing brought Kyle back to Baffin Island again to make peace with his memory.  Since then, he has been traveling the world from Pakistan to China climbing high altitude walls with many ascents around home in the Western US climbing ice and rock.


One of Kyle’s latest trips was a bike tour across Kyrgyzstan, inspired by his father who is a long time cyclist from Salt lake City.  He spent two months solo biking across the country, climbing many peaks along the way.  He learned a lot about the bike, himself and how much food he could carry at once with the goal of biking into a mountain range, climbing a peak and having a large enough food reserve for bad weather and biking back out to resupply.  It was a grand adventure and his hope is that the trip can be inspirational to other climbers seeking alternative modes of climbing transportation.


 So stoked to have Kyle joining the ranks of athletes who have presented/instructed at the Michigan Ice Fest!  Thanks again to our Gold Sponsor Black Diamond for making it possible for Kyle to be at this years Michigan Ice Fest!


Ice Conditions Report 2014/2015

November 23rd, 2014 Comments off


Early snow and cold temperatures the last few weeks have local climbers itching to get out and get this season started!  Conditions this weekend  have seen a warm up with temps in the 40′s and rain threatening for tonight.  We thought we would head out this morning to see if there might be any ice that would be climbable before it deteriorates any more.


While all waterfalls are not climbable yet, (Munising falls pictured above) we did find some small seeps that were thick enough to climb on.  Things may change drastically tonight depending on the amount of rain we will get, but in the long run more water in the ground table will produce bigger and better climbs for us this season.






Start sharpening those picks as this ice season is REALLY close to starting!  As always this time of year please call (906-226-7112), for up to date conditions before planning a long road trip up.

Black Diamond To Demo Belay Jackets This Year!

November 17th, 2014 Comments off



Gold Level Sponsor Black Diamond is bound and determined to keep everyone warm at this years Ice Fest!  New this year BD will be sending a demo fleet of their awesome belay parkas to keep folks nice and toasty belaying and waiting to climb.

Designed to endure bail-worthy belay conditions on single-pitch ice routes and massive alpine objectives alike, the Black Diamond Stance Belay Parka lets you hunker down while your partner battles it out on the sharp end. Our warmest insulated jacket, the Stance is filled with two layers of lightweight, highly compressible PrimaLoft® Silver Hi-Loft insulation that provide sleeping-bag level warmth, even when wet. A two-way center front zipper lets you wear the jacket over your harness while belaying, and oversized hand, chest and internal drop pockets accommodate gloves, water bottles and other essentials.

2015 New Program- CAMP CLIMB

November 4th, 2014 Comments off


New for the 2015 Michigan Ice Fest will be CAMP CLIMB.  On Saturday and Sunday out at the Demo Curtains, Brett Merlin of CAMP USA will have a route set up where you can demo Cassin Climbing tools and crampons!  Be sure to come out and give this route a spin with these beautiful tools!


The X-DREAM incorporates a patented adjustment system which allows you to optimize the angle of the handle for steep and sustained ice routes or delicate mixed pitches – effectively giving you two-tools-in-one. Radical 3D handle is molded around a solid aluminum core and bolted to shaft providing a sturdy carabiner clip-in point – for leash attachment, copping a rest or backing up anchors. The underside of both “rests” sport serrated teeth for additional purchase and stability and the bottom rest has integrated rubber pad – to save your pinkies. For dry tooling and mixed pitches, position the handle “up” (as shown)- so the pull is more down and out – locking you onto thin edges. For ice and a more natural arcing swing – drop the handle down – 15 degrees – so it’s more parallel to the lower shaft.
Climbers of all ability can further fine tune the X-DREAM for hand size or preference with the micro-adjustable trigger finger ledge (choose from two length inserts that can be flipped over to adjust their height) and a bolt on third tier POMMEL.
Factory equipped with the MIXTE PICK which has a more aggressive downward curve. Accessory ICE PICK is “flatter” and smoothes out the swing for straight forward, steep & sustained Grade VI ice. Both 50 cm shaft and picks are T Rated and incorporate refined beak and tooth configuration, lightening cut-outs and large clip-in window.




12297536174_1403cc748f_zBrett Merlin is living his dream. A graduate of the University of Vermont and alumni of some formative summers learning to climb in Colorado as a teen, Brett works for CAMP USA in Colorado and is a strong, enthusiastic, and always smiling fixture at front range crags. Brett recently returned from Greece, where he and his wife Courtney enjoyed their honeymoon and some climbing.





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Will Mayo Returning To Ice Fest- Compliments Of Ice Fest Title Sponsor La Sportiva!

October 17th, 2014 Comments off
Caroline Treadway photo

Caroline Treadway photo

For years La Sportiva has been very generous by sending huge amounts of demo boots so that participants can test out the latest and greatest ice climbing gear.
La Sportiva,  our Title Sponsor, has also sent amazing athletes to our event  ensuring that we get the highest quality instructors, and are entertained in the evening with inspiring stories of climbing around the world.   This year is no different as they are graciously sending Will Mayo back!  Will has been very busy since we saw him at last years Ice Fest, putting up another testpiece in a string of difficult mixed lines he’s established on Mt. Evans’ Black Wall in Colorado. Read about it here!


“The most captivating aspect of climbing is the manner in which it demands complete focus on the present. In climbing, during a crux section, it’s only right now; it sounds banal, but it actually seems like a rare and precious thing in our day-to-day lives. Everything else just falls away from one’s mind and one is completely engaged in the moment. Climbing allows for a healthy reset of the mind which allows for clarity upon return to our daily grinds. Besides, it’s just plain fun!”
As always during Ice Fest you will have an opportunity to take a course with one of the country’s leading climbers……be sure to sign up for the Introduction to Leading with Will Mayo, space is limited and its sure to fill up fast!
We look forward to having Will join us for the 2015 Michigan Ice Fest and thank everyone at La Sportiva for all of their support over the years!