What a perfect weekend for spring climbing! Warm temperatures, sunshine and soft ice greeted climbers trying to close out their season with a few more laps on their favorite routes. On the mainland, reports came in the Dairyland, Suck It Up, Midnight Rambler, and Sweet Mother Moses all were climbed. All climbs along Sand Point Road are also in very good shape. Obviously this time of year conditions can change quickly so please assess each climb carefully before committing to climbing them.
Michigan Ice Fest Guides took a day off and traveled out to Grand Island to bask in the sunshine and tag a few classic routes. The lake ice from the Grand Island public launch is good up to the Playboy Club and then becomes VERY DANGEROUS! Pack ice has blown in and has refrozen making for very thin ice that is camouflaged with light snow. Three of our four party actually punched through the ice so we roped up for safety.
The ice on the West Shore is susceptible to the intense sun and we found any climb that was in the direct sun light was sun baked and unclimbable. Any climb that was protected from the sun had soft solid ice and offered enjoyable leads.
If you are planning on going to Grand Island I would recommend traveling from the public access and traveling inland and access the climbs from the top. Please note that nothing exposed to the sun is solid! Climb the gullies or far corners of the ice as many of the formations are beginning to fall.