What’s new for 2019!

 

Every year we work hard to bring new exciting things to Ice Fest and 2019 is no exception.  There is A LOT going on for sure, and we want to make sure you don’t miss a thing.  One way to find out about all of the exciting opportunities as we add them is to keep an eye on our Facebook page, we make a lot of announcements there.  Our annual program is another great resource.

Here’s a short list what’s new and exciting but keep an eye out as we’re always adding more!

American Alpine Club Ground School

This year our Free Ground School classes will be run by the good folks at the American Alpine Club. Whether you’re new to climbing or have been at it for decades, the AAC is your single best climbing education resource and have been at the leading edge of climbing education since they began publishing Accidents in North American Climbing in 1948. Their education team is working with the UIAA and institutions around the country to establish national curriculum and safety standards to improve climbing knowledge and reduce accidents. Classes are a half day, off ice and preregistration is required.

Guidebook Release Party

In case you haven’t heard, the new ice climbing guidebook, An Ice Climbers Guide To Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be released at this years Fest!  With over 200 pages and 100+ new routes, that is a cause for celebrating!  Come join guidebook authors Matt Abbotts, Jon Jugenheimer and Bill Thompson for the unveiling of this much anticipated book, Thursday night at 387!

Ice Fest Street Party

The fun will start after our Friday evening presentations where we will gather in the street in front of the East Channel Brewery.  This will be a great opportunity to socialize with friends and athletes.  Join in the shenanigans as we break it down old school Ice Fest party style!

Klean Kanteen Free Pint Free Beer

An event like the Michigan Ice Fest can generate a lot of waste, but it isn’t necessary. We’re stoked to partner this year with Klean Kanteen to reduce our reliance on single use plastic cups! The first 800 people to register will get an official stainless steel pint glass and that glass will be your ticket to FREE BEER from  Ore Dock Brewing during the after parties!

Grivel 200 Year Anniversary Raffle

How many companies can claim they have been producing climbing gear for 200 years?  Well Grivel can!  Stop by the Grivel booth before Saturday night to be entered into a special Grivel raffle and help them celebrate their 200th Anniversary!

Enormocast Live Show

Yes, the one and only Chris Kalous will be returning to his Midwest roots and recording live his very popular climbing podcast The Enormocast! You won’t want to miss the riveting interviews and chaos that comes with making a live show.

New Classes

Make sure you check out all of the new classes we’re offering throughout the week.  You can learn to cook with Patagonia Provisions, try mixed climbing, or take our two day Women’s Advanced Backcountry class to grow your skills enough to take you deep into the wilds of Pictured Rocks.

 

Klean Kanteen, A better world, and FREE BEER!

As passionate climbers, our lives revolve around the quality of our natural world.  If we trash the environment, we trash our climbing.  It seems simple.  So as passionate climbers we have to be passionate conservationists.

Running a big event like Michigan Ice Fest can certainly be a challenge when it comes to environmental ethics.  The act of getting a thousand people together in one place can generate a tremendous amount of waste.  Just look in the trash can at the end of any of our after parties. It’s not necessary and it’s something we are always looking to improve.

That’s why we are so excited to announce that for the the 2019 Michigan Ice Fest we are partnering with Klean Kanteen as part of their Bring Your Own campaign to reduce our reliance on single use plastic cups.  This will cut down on hundreds (thousands if we know ice climbers) of cups going to the landfill.

We will have Klean Kanteen stainless steel pint glasses for the first 800 people that register.  That’s right, 800 people will get a Michigan Ice Fest logo pint glass from Klean Kanteen.  It’s included with your registration.  During our afterparties we pour hundreds of glasses of FREE BEER and your glass is your ticket to the free beer.  We will only be pouring the free beer into those glasses. We also suggest you to use them throughout the weekend at other events and establishments to further reduce your waste.

Last year we had over 1,000 people at the people event so we encourage you to sign up early to ensure you get your pint glass and free beer.  We’d also like to encourage you to think of other ways reduce your reliance on single use plastics.  Together, we can all make a difference and help protect both our environment and our climbing.

First Full Episode of our Life’s A Pitch Podcast!

We are really proud to release the first full episode of our new podcast Life’s A Pitch.  The podcast will focus on the stories that make Michigan Ice Fest so great, told by the people who lived them.  From pro athletes to first timers, from remote mountain ranges to our hometown of Munising, this podcast will be a year round outlet for our excitement and love of climbing.

For our first episode we decided to start at the beginning and help people get a feel for the event and what makes it so special. We’ll hear from our friend James Loveridge and Raphael Slawinski from Black Diamond, Thaddeus Vandenberghe from Grivel, Brett Merlin from CAMP, the legendary Maddog, a bunch of participants from all over, and many more!

For those who have never been to the fest, you’ll be introduced to the fun and excitement.  For those who have attended, you’ll be brought back to the cold and ice, and reminded why we all love it so much.

So give it a listen, subscribe so you never miss an episode, and then give it a share. If you want to hear our teaser you can find it on it iTunes or listen on our website HERE.


Life’s a Pitch: A New Podcast from Michigan Ice Fest

We’re excited to announce that we’re launching a podcast! We hear a lot of great stories through Ice Fest and wanted a way to share them, and the stoke, year round. From pro athletes to participants, life-long crushers to first timers, Life’s a Pitch will tell the stories of the ice climbing community of Great Lakes and beyond.

Check out this teaser as a preview of what’s to come. Improvisation is a key part of climbing, life, and Ice Fest. Hear what our friends Anna PfaffCarlos Buhler, and Jacob Raab have to say about it.

Right now you can listen on our website or on iTunes. We’re new to the podcasting game so if there is somewhere you listen to podcasts that we’re not on just let us know and we’ll do our best.

So give it a listen, tell us what you think, and then tell a friend to share the stoke. You can expect full length episodes to start rolling out over the summer and into the climbing season.

 

Information and Tips for the 2018 Michigan Ice Fest

We are STOKED for the 2018 Michigan Ice Fest!  Our goal is to make this as much fun as we can.  On this page you’ll find a ton of information and tips about the event and how to make the most of it.  Please read this information carefully.

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Festival Sign In

When you arrive in Munising you will need to sign in at the event.  You can come to our headquarters and our friendly staff will get you all set for the weekend. You will get your official lanyard, which is your ticket into all things Ice Fest, as well as any updates to the schedule and any important information.

Our Headquarters

Our headquarters is located at the Central Community Center inside the old elementary school. This will be the center of the Ice Fest Universe.    You’ll get your demo gear here, meet athletes and reps, shop, and see some of the presentations.  If you attended the event last year you’ll find that we’ve changed things up a bit this year.  We’re entering through a different set of doors and are using more of the classrooms.

You can see a map of the building here.

Schedule

There is a lot going on during the weekend, both on and off the ice, and you don’t want to miss any of it.  There are schedules in the festival guide and at the headquarters.

The schedule is also available here

Demo Gear

If you paid for the demo you have access to our gear for the weekend.  If you did not pay the demo fee, the gear is not included in the $40 registration fee.  If you need gear and didn’t pay for the demo you can send us an email and we can add it to your registration. The preregistration demo fee is $40 but it will go up to $60 at the door so we’d suggest not waiting util you get to Munising.

Every morning after the classes get gear (See event schedule) we start checking out demo gear for the day.  You’ll go to our demo room where our staff will get you fit with the equipment you need.  The line can get quite long on Saturday and Sunday morning so showing up early and being patient goes a long way. You’ll be required to leave a credit card or drivers license in exchange for the gear.  We have a limited number of helmets and harnesses so if you have your own we encourage you to bring it as we will certainly run out of these.  If you don’t have these two critical pieces of gear, it may be a good idea to purchase one.  They are discounted at our headquarters to make it more affordable.

To speed up the demo process and get you more time on the ice we’ve made a few videos to ensure you get everything set before you head out into the cold. Please watch our videos on how to fit your boots and how to fit your crampons.

All demo gear must be returned by 6PM every evening. No exceptions.

Other Gear to Bring

There are some other basics that we don’t provide that will make your class much more enjoyable.  We recommend bringing:

  • Good Attitude – It goes a long way, in both climbing and life
  • Warm Clothes – Dress in layers and how you would usually dress for all day outside.
  • Extra gloves – Thin gloves to climb in and thicker gloves to not climb in. You can never have enough gloves
  • Snacks and Hot Drinks – Keep your energy up and your belly full
  • Camera – This will be an experience you’ll never forget and you’ll want pictures.
  • Backpack  – It’s always nice to have something to carry your gear
  • Skis or snowshoes are really helpful when accessing backcountry climbs

Discount

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the gear you want, or if you fall in love with the gear you demo.  Down Wind Sports will have a store setup at Headquarters where they will have all the gear you need and even more that you want, and best of all, everything will be on sale!

Transportation

We will have a shuttle that runs continuous loops from the headquarters to Sand Point. This is the best way to get around as there is NO PARKING AT SAND POINT. If you are planning on going somewhere other than Sand Point driving is your best option.

Backcountry shuttles may be available to the Miner’s Castle area. Please inquire at headquarters.

 Where to climb

Ice fest is a busy time at Pictured Rocks.  Really busy. But that doesn’t mean that there is no ice to climb.  The popular and easily accessed climbs see huge crowds,  but climbers are friendly and this is Ice Fest so we get the best people in the world attending, share your ropes, share your climbs, share your festival.  We’re a family, let’s make everyones experience a great one.

If you’re looking for a little more solitude and are willing to work for it, grab an Ice Fest staff member.  We can point you in the direction of climbs that receive only a handful of ascents a year.

If you have any questions please feel free to email or call us.  Your experience is our highest priority.

Half Day Teaser Classes

black-diamond-helmet-bannerAre You…

Interested in trying out ice climbing but not ready to commit to spending a whole day out?

Short on time but still want some instruction?

Trying to shorten the ice climbing learning curve but a full day class won’t fit into your budget?

Did you…

Want to sign up for a full day Intro to Ice class but they are sold out?

Well we’ve got a class for you!

Our half day teaser classes cover the same basic ice climbing skills as our full day Intro to Ice classes so you’ll learn the basics of how to move on ice as well as get in some practice climbing.  We have world class instructors and professional climbers teaching these classes and they take place on the same beautiful climbs.  They just don’t last as long.

Combining one of these shorter classes with the gear demo can create a really fun weekend and get you a lot of ice climbing experience.  You’ll get instruction on how to climb and then be able to take the gear out and climb at our demo wall or on your own.

We still have teaser classes available, as well as lot of other great classes, so if you want to learn from the best climbers in a fun and supportive environment head over to our registration page and sign up today!

Register Hereclimber6-demo_v2

Rab Alpha Direct Jacket Review

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-40-52-amWinters in Upper Michigan are unpredictable. One year, you get so much snow you can’t get out your front door, the next year you can mow your lawn on Christmas. One day you’re climbing ice in a t-shirt and the next you’re shivering on belay wearing every layer you own. The key to comfort in these ever changing conditions is apparel that adapts to the weather and the Alpha Direct Jacket from Rab might be one of the most adaptable pieces I’ve seen.

The Alpha Direct is designed to be a cold weather midlayer or a sort-of-cold weather outer layer, making it a piece you will wear day after day, no matter what the conditions bring. I’ve worn it climbing at 20 degrees and under a shell shoveling snow at -5 degrees.

At the heart of the Alpha Directs adaptability is it’s insulation. The Polartec Alpha is one of the most breathable insulations I’ve tested. This allows the jacket to go from standing to moving without having to shed layers. Warmth is subjective but I found the sweet spot for being active in this jacket to be around 10-20 degrees. At those temps I could comfortably wear it to approach an ice climb, get set up, climb, and belay my partner. No swapping layers. The soft fleece interior is super comfortable. Seriously. It feels great next to the skin making it ideal to wear over a t-shirt. The fleece does grab at other layers, but the thumb holes in the stretch cuffs keeps everything in place.The outer fabric is light and highly water resistant Pertex Microlight. The fabric is durable without being stiff and easily sheds heavy snow and even water dripping off of a wet climb. The insulation and shell materials combine to create a light, compressible and especially versatile jacket.

The Alpha Direct is designed for climbers and has tons of features a climber will appreciate. An under-helmet hood is something that I wish more jackets had. It makes it easy to wear two hoods at the same time. When you don’t don’t want the hood it rolls out of the way and stashes with a velcro tab reducing bulk. The Alpha Direct also features a two way zipper and glove friendly zipper pulls, key features when you’re climbing ice.

jacket_3One of the most important aspects of a jackets function is fit. The Alpha Direct has an “Alpine Fit”, which means it’s cut pretty slim. The fit works to reduce bulk as well as making it warmer, but may leave some wearers who are used to roomier jackets feeling a little claustrophobic. I’m 6’2, 170 pounds and usually wear a medium jacket. I found the medium Alpha Direct to fit pretty snuggly across the chest with good length in the body and sleeves. If you prefer a slightly looser fit you may want consider sizing up.

Being made for climbers doesn’t mean that the Alpha Direct isn’t an every day jacket. It transitions easily from home, to climb, to bar and back again. The technical features are wrapped in a stylish package that I was happy to wear out on the town. One unintended feature of the Pertex Microlight shell fabric is its ability to shed dog hair. As the owner two trail dogs it was a nice surprise to get a black jacket that didn’t look like something PETA would disapprove of.

Whether you’re climbing, skiing or digging out the car after the most recent U.P. blizzard, the Rab Alpha Direct will meet your changing needs, and it will do it with style. If you want to check out this sweet jacket, or any of the other winter apparel from Rab, make sure you stop by Ice Fest Headquarters.

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Ice Fest 2016: An International Affair

Well, Ice Fest is just over a week away and we just closed our online registration.  Climbers are coming to Munising from all over the world to enjoy the amazing climbing as well as what is shaping up to be the climbing event of the year!

If you missed the online registration don’t worry, you can still sign up at the door. With all of the great presentations, the premier of the Michigan Ice Film and the evening after parties, this is one not to miss!

Check out the map to see where everyone is coming from!

View Michigan Ice Fest 2016 Participants in a full screen map