Conrad To Return To Ice Fest!


Michigan Ice Fest is proud to announce that Conrad Anker will be joining us again for the 2020 Ice Fest!  We have our Gold  Level Sponsor The North Face to thank for sending Conrad back to Munising for another amazing festival!

The master, the legend, the visionary… Conrad Anker has been pushing the limits of mountaineering for the last 30 years, evolving into one of America’s best alpinists. The Bozeman, Montana-based father of three is one of the most prolific explorers and mountaineers alive today.

At age 56, Conrad’s resume continues to grow, having notched the long-awaited first ascent of the Meru Shark’s Fin in India with partners Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk in 2011, which led to the Sundance-winning documentary, Meru. Conrad has climbed Everest three times, including a 2012 trip with National Geographic to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first American ascent of the mountain. On his most famous Everest climb in 1999, he discovered the remains of George Mallory, one of the two British climbers who died attempting Everest in 1924, helping to shed more light on one of mountaineering’s most famous mysteries. But for many years, one of his greatest passions has been down in the valley—specifically the Khumbu Valley of Nepal. In more than 25 years of expeditions to Nepal, Conrad and his wife, Jennifer Lowe-Anker, have developed deep relationships with the Sherpa people and founded the Khumbu Climbing Center in Phortse, Nepal, which provides a variety of safety training courses to high altitude workers.

Equally at home in Antarctica, the Himalaya or his home ice in Hyalite Canyon in southwestern Montana, Conrad continues a deep appreciation for wild places that was passed on from his father and grandfather who hailed from Big Oak Flat, California, just outside Yosemite National Park. Conrad climbed Mount Rainier by the time he was 16. He met his first climbing mentor, the late iconic climber Mugs Stump, while studying at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and working in a mountaineering store. The part-time carpenter and the late Alex Lowe–his climbing partner and best friend–went on to become climbing’s rock stars in the 90’s, setting speed records in the Himalaya and Antarctica. Though true alpine routes have been his forte, his résumé also includes big wall first ascents on El Capitan and first free ascents in Zion National Park. In 1997 alone, he completed first ascents in Antarctica, Pakistan’s Karakorum and on Yosemite’s El Capitan. Lowe once wrote about his best friend’s motivation for climbing: “Being in the mountains, for Conrad, is as natural and essential as breathing… It’s where his heart beats, where his soul abides.”

Throughout his career, Conrad has pioneered difficult new routes in the most remote places on earth. In 2016, while climbing Lunag Ri, an unclimbed 6,907-meter peak on the border of Nepal and Tibet with David Lama, an Austrian climber half his age, Conrad suffered a well-publicized heart attack. The following year, he led the TNF team of team of Jimmy Chin, Alex Honnold, Anna Pfaff, Cedar Wright, and Savannah Cummins to Wolf’s Jaw massif in Queen Maud Land territory, Antarctica. On his 12th trip to the continent, he established a new route with Chin on Ulvetanna, the highest peak in the area.

At home, Conrad serves on the boards of the Protect Our Winters, The American Himalayan Foundation and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.

New Grant Announced!

New for 2020!

The Heartland Grant is designed to help Midwest climbers and weekend warriors chase their ice climbing dreams.  Our community is rich with dreamers and extraordinary climbers and it’s time we foster that.

We’ll be giving out $1,000 in cash to make those dreams reality.  We think you can do great things, prove us right.

How to Apply

Step 1. Dream up a great trip.
Step 2. Make a one minute video explaining your trip and telling us why it should win the grant
Step 3. Fill out the application and upload your video.
Step 4. Our committee will select the top project.

Important Dates

July 1st – Application Period begins
September 30th – Application period ends
December 1st – Winner will be announced
February 14th – Grant will be awarded to the winner on stage at the festival (attendance required)


Applications will be considered using the following criteria:

  • The Heartland Grant is open to climbers 14 years old or older (parental permission is required for climbers 14-18 years old old) of all abilities
  • Applicants must be residents, or students attending school, in one of these Midwest States: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Indiana or the Canadian province of Ontario.
  • Project must be an ice climbing trip. Expeditions, notable first ascents, competitions, as long as its primary focus is ice climbing it’s good with us.
  • The committee is looking for fun and interesting trips. Anyone can spend a weekend at the local crag, surprise us with remote destinations, unique challenges, and, above all else, impeccable style.
  • Applications are considered for projects that occur within one year of the date awarded.
  • You can’t be an employee, or family member of an employee, of the Michigan Ice Fest, Down Wind Sports, or any of our sponsors


  • Upon receiving the Heartland Grant, all grant recipients are required to do the following”
    • Trip report or blog post for the Ice Fest website
    • Presentation about the trip at the following festival
    • tag the Michigan Ice Fest in any posts relating to the trip and promote the Heartland Grant
  • Funds must utilized for the trip within one year of the grant award date. If for any reason the project is canceled or significantly changed (as determined by the committee), awarded funds must be returned to the Michigan Ice Fest in full.  Failed ascents happen, and often make great stories. Safety first.


Michigan Ice Fest 2020 Registration is now Open!

Say what? Feelin’ Fine at 29! That’s right- anyone can celebrate a 30 year anniversary  but it takes a special group to throw down for a 29th!  We are proud of our heritage and are super excited to offer a lot of new and unique programming for this coming ice fest.  We are happy to announce that registration for the 2020 Michigan Ice Fest is now open! We have been working tirelessly to put together an amazing week of ice climbing and socials designed to bring our Midwest tribe together. Once again we feel we have pulled out all of the stops for 2020! NEW THIS YEAR. Look for an expanded free kids program, The Heartland Grant,  Veterans programming, Artist on Ice, and much,much, more! Once again included with every registration will be a free Official Michigan Ice Fest Tee Shirt! You can check out many of our new programs on our website here!

Remember- space is limited on all courses so grab a friend and sign up early!

Ice Conditions Report 4-8-19

Short seeps are still the ticket as warmer weather has moved in allowing for gloveless climbing and soft swings!  All of the Sand Point Curtains are climbable and we as Three Sisters, Lakeshore Curtains, Art of Seduction, Kramer Curtains and Ice 9.  Conditions are dependant on the day but the forecast does call for more snow at the end of the week!

Three Sisters

Ice 9 Area

Looking for another weekend of climbing?  The routes maybe short but it’s super fun climbing in April!

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over – Ice Conditions Report 4-2-19

Spring climbing conditions continue to be excellent for the park’s seeps offering die hards some wonderful late season climbing.  Michigan Ice Fest Guides Bryan LaRue and Emily Gantner made the trek out to HMR yesterday and found stellar conditions.

Still stoked to get out?  Coming up we will have warm conditions but that just means soft sticks!  Pack the crampons, tools and sunscreen and we hope to see you in Munising this weekend.

Ice Conditions Report 3-25-19

Lots of sunshine and moderate temperatures greeted climbers this past weekend as they were getting after some late swings!  The bad news is as of yesterday all true waterfalls are deteriorating and pretty much unclimbable. The good news is that all of the seeps are holding their own and offering hero ice!  Sand Point Road seeps are all in as well as climbs out along the Lakeshore Trail.

The six day forecast looks favorable for another week of climbing so if you can’t stand to put away the gear just yet and want to play around on some of the smaller formations you still will have a chance!

Conditions Report 3-18-19

Cool temps prevailed this past weekend which offered great late season conditions for those who were able to make the trek up.  Early in the week saw some light rain but a cold north wind and plenty of sunshine helped to re form some of the climbs.  Michigan Ice Fest Guide Bryan LaRue spent a well earned day off and skied out to the West Shore to find great Lake ice conditions and good climbable ice.  The beautiful sunshine is starting to take its toll on the exposed West shore climbs!



The inland seeps are still in excellent conditions as they are protected from the sun and will remain so for quite some time.  Reports came in that Dairyland was too wet to climb on Saturday but froze overnight and was climbed on Sunday.



The Dryer Hose 3-17-19


The extended forecast looks favorable for another weekend of spring climbing! As always, we take pride in being your go to site for current ice climbing conditions for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as well as climbs throughout the Upper Peninsula. Feel free to call our Munising store at 906-387-8025 to get up to the minute conditions!

Ice Conditions Report 3-11-19


The Ampitheater 3-9-19

At Michigan Ice we take pride in being your go to site for current ice climbing conditions for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as well as climbs throughout the Upper Peninsula. Planning a trip to Pictured Rocks?  We have you covered for all the latest snow and ice conditions on all of your favorite climbs.  Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!

Cold temps and snow are continuing to fall on the Upper Peninsula giving climbers mid season conditions in March!  All climbs are fat, fat, fat! Based on what we saw this weekend, it looks like the next few weeks will be the perfect time to come up and climb in Munising!

The Dryer Hose




Grand Island still remains accessible as the lake ice is super solid out to the west shore from the Grand Island Public access ice via skis or snowmobile.


A little warmer temps are predicted this week but our overnight still remain below freezing so don’t put those tools away yet…..look at that forecast!  Should be an awesome weekend in Munising so grab a friend and head on up for some amazing climbing!