If your thinking the ice season might be over…think again! We headed out to Munising on Sunday and found excellent conditions . Hard to believe but the lake ice is still in- including ice to ski to Grand Island. We strapped on the skis and decided to go check out the conditions along the lakeshore. It has be awhile since we have seen this good of conditions this late in the year.
Dairyland and Udder Delight
While seeps are in excellent conditions the true waterfall are becoming just that…..a waterfall. Most pillars that are tucked away out of the sunlight (not that there has been any sunlight) are still fat. The warmer temperature have made the ice “plasticy” and just like Colorado ice- easy to climb!
Our guess is that we have several more weeks of ice season left and our hoping to beat our all time record of May 6th as an ending date. Will keep everyone posted- so don’t store that gear yet and come up for some last climbs of the year!
It’s darn near April and we are experiencing fantastic conditions all over the Munising/Grand Island area. Cold temps at night- and snow continuing to fall we will be climbing well into April this year. Nic, Ross and Austin from the shop hit up the seldom formed Amphitheater yesterday for an afternoon session on this steep formation.
So don’t even think about putting those tools away just yet….head on up to Munising to catch some great rides on fantastic ice and warmer temperatures!
Here are the latest reports that came in from folks who climbed at Pictured Rocks and Grand Island over the weekend. Cold temperatures are still holding and the climbing couldn’t be better. Looks like we will be climbing ice well into April if all goes well. Remember waterfalls tend to deteriorate faster then the true seeps. We will try to keep you posted on conditions throughout the spring.
*Dairyland is in.
*Midnight Rambler, Left Soda Straw, and The Good The Bad The Ugly are all in but had large portions fall off by end of day.
*Suck It Up was still in with crack at top and thin finish.
*Dryer Hose has running water behind large windows.
*Sweet Mother Moses looks big from the lake.
The seldom formed Ampitheater 3-16-13
The lake ice to Grand Island is still in amazing shape allowing snow machines and skiers to access the West Shore climbs. If you haven’t been out to the island treat yourself to some amazing climbing. The climbs are still in great shape but tend to be the first ones to become sun baked in the spring.
It’s our favorite time of the year! Blue bird skies, warm temperatures and soft ice….just like climbing in Colorado! From the world class routes at Pictured Rocks to shoreline bouldering anywhere on the shore of Lake Superior- your sure to have some fun. With the long range forecast of warm days and cold nights it looks like our ice season will last well into April. Don’t put those tools away yet. Come on up and climb in some of the best conditions of the year!
A few guys from Down Wind Sports spent the day on the ice out at Grand Island along the west shore with blue bird skies and tons of ice! Conditions could not be better.
With the way things are going we should be climbing well into April so sharpen those tools and plan a trip up. The Lake ice is holding up well with solid conditions out to the island and shore ice all the way out to Dairyland.
We’ll keep posting conditions but if you want up to the minute information give us a call at 906-226-7112 as staff is climbing in Munising almost on a daily basis!
Every year we invade the little town of Munising and they always welcome us with open arms. We certainly appreciate their hospitality and look forward to returning and climbing again next year. If you enjoyed your time in Munising it sure would help the folks out by writing a review on trip advisor, or even returning this summer to see what cool things they have to do when there is no ice! So if you find the time, please click on one of the links below and say thanks by writing a quick review for the businesses in Munising that support the Michigan Ice Fest.
Lots of folks took advantage of the long weekend and headed over to Munising which had a full parking lot of climbers vehicles. Conditions are excellent with lake ice formed to Grand Island. The long term forecast has the temperatures holding so it looks like we are in for a long ice season! We still have plenty of gear at the shop so if you are in the market for anything please give us a call!
For those of you who were lucky enough to catch Joe Josephson’s slide show at Ice Fest this year were treated to amazing stories and shots of some of the best climbs in North America. Some us even scored a copy of Winter Dance Select Ice Climbs in Southern Montana & Northern Wyoming. Many of you have asked on how to pick up one of these beautiful books so here ya go! Order one here and Joe says he’ll even sign one for you: http://montanaice.com/
Now if we can only get Christopher Lemon to organize that party bus out to the Bozeman Ice Festival next December!
The 2013 Michigan Ice Fest is in the books and 434 participants braved winter blizzard conditions to ascend on Munising Michigan for this annual gathering. Eleven different states, and six different countries were represented this year with participants coming to enjoy the camaraderie of Midwest climbers and the chance to climb the beautiful ice formations at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The Fest started with an Introduction to Ice Course, and a Top Rope Anchor Course on Thursday where participants spent the day learning he tricks of the trade out at The Curtains. Many folks new to the Fest were excited to get out on the ice and a chance to climb the vertical pillars that are so common in the park. Other participants battled snow to get out after some of the classic lines that drop into Lake Superior along the Lakeshore Trail.
We kicked off the festival on Thursday night with the second annual “Participants Slide Show: Beers with Bill II” while enjoying a tasty beverage climbers were treated to a collection of slides submitted by Ice Fest participants and set to music. Ben Erdmann, a local climber who moved to the great state of Alaska, entertained us with a beautifully presented slide show of his climbing adventures in Alaska, Yosemite and Patagonia.
After the slide shows concluded we began to celebrate the release of a new ice climbing guide book for Munising. An Ice Climbers Guide To Munising Michigan Michigan was available for purchase, and guidebook authors Jon Jugenheimer and Bill Thompson were available to answer any questions about the book.
Waking up early Friday morning with temps hovering around 11 degrees and a stiff wind blowing snow across Lake Superior, climbers hit the trails in search of ice. Several groups headed out the Lakeshore Trail, and others checking out new routes listed in the guidebook. The fest also saw an increase in rentals as many took advantage to check out gear and climb in small groups throughout the park. Three more courses, an Introduction to Ice Course instructed by Joe Josephson, a Top Rope Anchor Course as well as a Rigging and Rescue course taught by Ben Erdmann were filled and went out for a day of instruction and climbing.
Friday evenings festivities started off with a climbing social and free beer sponsored by Scarpa and Trango. We are so glad that Gold Sponsor Scarpa sent Fabrizio Zangrilli out this year to instruct and present. Fabrizio thrilled the crowd with shots and video from his days climbing and guiding throughout the world.
A first time Michigan Ice Fest athlete, Joe Josephson was welcomed into the Michigan Ice Fest family and proceeded to entertain folks with slides of routes he pioneered up in the Canadian Rockies as well as some of his recent work- the beautiful video Genesis 40 Years of Ice Climbing In Hyalite Canyon. Joe is also the organizer of the Bozeman Ice Festival- something we should all visit soon! If you missed the show check this out!
The rest of the evening you could find people browsing the booths of Bob The Mountaineer, socializing with other climbers from around the country, introducing themselves to the athletes and reps, and heading over to the Down Wind Sports booth looking to score a few deals!
As usual we got the ball rolling early with equipment hand out for Ice Fest Courses. Two Intro to Ice, Lead climbing, Women’s Intro to Ice and the Kids courses all filled up fast and participants were treated to instruction provided by Joe Josephson, Mark Wilford, Fabrizio Zangrilli, Zoe Hart, and Will Gadd.
After getting the courses set and on their way it was time to hook up demo participants with demo gear. This year the line to pick up gear was exceptionally long but once again this year all of our demo sponsors really stepped up by sending larger demo kits and everyone was able to get outfitted and get out on the ice!
The Demo area at The Curtains saw lots of first time ice climbers learning the basics on some of the routes set up. Cold temperatures and constant snow fall added to the challenge of the climbs. Hundreds of climbers were challenged throughout the day with a variety of difficult climbs set up, and excitement filled the air as climbers celebrated the success of their first climbs.
After a long day of climbing, everyone converged upon Sydney’s for the Saturday evening social and free beer provided by La Sportiva and Montane. Before the shows we introduced Rachel Hahn and Madison Almquist as the 2013 Sue Nott Scholarship winners. Down Wind Sports has created the Sue Nott Scholarship with the purpose to promote, inspire, and introduce young females to the sport of ice climbing. The girls had to submit a letter of why they wanted to participate, a letter of recommendation from someone other then their parents, and their report card. Rachel and Madison were selected from the largest group of girls ever to submit applications and were provided with free entry into the fest and the Women’s Intro To Ice Course. Super special this year, Evi Nott, Sue’s mother, flew in from Colorado to meet the girls and to climb with them over the weekend! It was a special part of the weekend for the organizers and we were so excited that Evi was able to come join our ice climbing family. Way to go girls!
Evi Nott and Maddie
With a standing room only crowd, our first presentation of the evening was from Zoe Hart. A huge thank you goes out to Gold Level sponsor Patagonia for flying in Zoe from her home in Chamonix France. A fast pace show, Zoe kept folks entertained with stories of climbing in the mountains, sharing adventures with Sue Nott, and funny videos of her exploits with her husband Maxime Turgeon.
Our final presentation of the night was from Ice Fest favorite Will Gadd. A fantastic story teller, Will spoke of his family and early adventures, kayaking and paragliding, climbing ice bergs, a new adventure television show he is a “guinea pig” for, and a highlight for the crowd- ice climbing with Tim Emmett on the spray ice wall near the 463-foot Helmcken Falls in British Columbia. An amazing show if you ever get a chance to see a Will Gadd show- don’t miss it!
Missed the show? Check out this video of the incredible climbing that will is doing on spray ice!
As usual the evening concluded with the Michigan Ice Fest raffle where we gave out over $5000.00 of gear and clothing to some very excited climbers. Soft shells, belay parkas, Ice Axes, Sterling and Petzl ropes, Osprey Packs, and La Sportiva Nepal Evo ice boots were only a few of the items raffled off! A big shout out to Patagonia, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear, Arc Teryx, Sterling, Black Diamond, Petzl and Osprey, Montane, Fits Socks for providing such killer raffle prizes! As a side note the 2013 Michigan Ice Fest marked the second time in our history that we had a marriage proposal during the weekend- see it is true, you can fall in love at the Michigan Ice Fest! (she said yes!)
More cold temps greeted our Intro to Ice and Intro to Leading participants which made for challenging classes all day long. The effects of climbing hard all day Saturday and a late night of socializing must have took it toll on climbers as the demo area was a very laid back all day Sunday allowing climbers their choice of routes for most of the day.
New this year, our Gold Sponsor Fits Socks hooked up demo participants with brand new socks to keep their feet warm at the demo! Thanks Fits for joining us this year!
All in all it was another great Michigan Ice Festival and we appreciate all of the patronage we get from Midwest climbers. We are proud to say that over the weekend we were able to sign up 44 new members to the American Alpine Club, and the Access Fund and exposed hundreds of first time climbers to the sport of ice climbing.
The reason our event is so successful is because of the assistance we get from all of our sponsors. If you were at the event and had fun, enjoyed the presenters, or loved the killer raffle prizes please drop the following sponsors a note to tell them that you appreciate them supporting the Michigan Ice Fest!