Full Circle Everest Team to Present!

In May of 2022, a group of climbers made history as the first all Black team to summit Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth.

The Full Circle Everest Team represents a zenith in generational perseverance, tenacity and strength. Their expedition has inspired many people around the world and will continue to be a guiding light for the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, educators, leaders, and mountaineers of color to continue chasing their personal summits. Come meet expedition leader Phil Henderson and the Full Circle Everest Team as they share personal stories of this historic achievement, Friday February 10th 8pm Mather Auditorium.

The ice climbing community is rather small and, like many outdoor activities, has often excluded the underserved communities where these activities take place. During our BIPOC program, participants will socialize, build friendships, and develop a broader, more inclusive community by accessing the amazing resource found here in the Upper Peninsula. The program will focus on creating opportunities that
would be otherwise unavailable to many people, fostering a love of climbing in a safe and encouraging environment.

The Michigan Ice Fest would like to thank Brad Garmon, Executive Director of the Michigan DNR’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and our Title sponsor Black Diamond Equipment for sponsoring the BIPOC Programs at the Michigan Ice Fest.

Clinics Still Available!

A great way to shorten your learning curve is to sign up for a clinic! Here is a list of clinics which still have openings:


Introduction to Ice

Back Country Adventure #2



Top Rope Anchors

Back Country Adventure Grand Island

AAC Free Clinics



Women’s Introduction to Ice



Youth Intro to Ice

Ice Climbing Photography

Adaptive Climbing

Introduction to Mixed Climbing

Women’s Back Country Adventure



Introduction to Ice for People of Color

Back Country Adventure #2


Online registration closes January 28th so if you want into one of these clinics register today.  Already registered?  Use this form to add a class.



30th Annual Michigan Ice Fest Postponed


Dear Ice Fest Family,

It is with the deepest regret that the organizers of the festival have made the difficult decision to postpone our 30th celebration of the Michigan Ice Festival due to the fact of increasing cases of COVID-19 in the Upper Peninsula and greater Midwest. It is our goal to keep our participants, staff, supporters and local community safe during these difficult times and feel it only prudent to get together when we feel it is safe to do so.

Michigan Ice Fest turns 30 years old this year. That’s right, for 30 years the Midwest ice climbing family has been making the trek to Munising to climb spectacular ice formations above a frozen landscape that stretches to an unbroken horizon. We planned a huge party to celebrate our anniversary. It was going to be one for the ages. Then everything changed. The world was different. We can’t gather 1,000 climbers in the Mather Auditorium to hear our heroes tell tales of adventure and daring. We’re not allowed to head down to the bar to share our own adventures with the dozens of new friends we made during the day. After 29 years of feeling like things would never change, they did. But, after the shock wore off, we realized that the Michigan Ice Fest is more than just parties and slideshows. It’s about the people and the place, and those things haven’t changed at all. Our family is still our family, and the ice will still form. If we can’t all get together this year, it just means that we’ll
have twice as many stories to share when we can. So while everything may look different this year, and we might not be celebrating our 30th festival in the way we planned, remember the U.P. air is still fresh and crisp, the snow is still a dazzling white, and Munising will always be waiting for you. Somethings never change.

We have put together a 2021 COVID Program where you can find loads of information about the history of our event, AAC Membership drive, photo contest, virtual presentations, your Ice Fest coupon code and a whole lot more!  During this winter please remember our outdoor industry sponsors as well as the local Munising businesses who have supported our event for the last 29 years.

Our rescheduled 30th Anniversary date will be February 9-13th 2022.

Thank you,

Michigan Ice Fest Staff

Caroline Gleich Is Heading To The Fest!

Caroline Gleich is a professional ski mountaineer and adventurer based in Salt Lake City, UT. When she’s not on snow, she loves trail running, alpine climbing, ridge scrambling, biking and dreaming about her next human-powered adventure. You may have seen her on the cover of Powder, Backcountry or Ski Magazines or in some ski films. A nature lover since birth, Caroline uses her voice as an athlete to advocate for social and environmental causes, working on issues such as climate change, clean air, gender equality and cyber harassment with non-profits such as Protect Our Winters, HEAL Utah, Winter Wildlands Alliance, Wilderness Society, and the American Alpine Club. Caroline’s goal is to inspire people to get outside, live a healthy, active lifestyle and protect the places we love to play. Follow her on social media, @carolinegleich!

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.


We Shall Continue With Style- Enormocast Live is Coming to Ice Fest!

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

Do your friends complain that all you talk about is climbing? Does your girlfriend get a glazed over look when you try to explain to her just how run-out you actually were, I mean, you were really out there!  Does the man in your life have no idea why its so important that you cross through before you stab the mono, not after?

Well, my name is Chris Kalous and I am here for you. I know how scared you were above that piece, and will hold you tightly in my podcast arms until you feel better. I understand that your beta works for you, and you’re going with it even if you’ve fallen from that same spot 32 times- my podcast will be happy to belay you on the next burn.

Here at the Enormocast, no beta is wrong, no story is too long-winded, and I will never utter the words, “Can we talk about something besides climbing for a change?”

Each episode of the Enormocast brings you a glimpse into the climbing life through discussion, interviews, and my perspective backed by 27 years in the sport. So get on Itunes and subscribe, leave your comments here at emormocast.com or send me an email at chris@enormocast.com.

Be part of the live show Friday evening at Mather Auditorium!

If you climb there is a good chance you have run across the distinguished climbing podcast, The Enormocast. The host Chris Kalous has compiled countless interviews from interesting climbers from around the world and shared them with the greater climbing community. Chris is not only a podcaster, he is also an accomplished climber, journalist, talented interviewer  and all round entertaining guy.

Barry Blanchard Returns To Ice Fest!


Michigan Ice Fest is proud to announce that our good friend Barry Blanchard will be joining us again (use Canadian accent when saying “again”). We have our Gold  Level Sponsor Patagonia to thank for sending Barry to this years event!

Barry Blanchard is known world wide as the modern father of Canadian alpine mountaineering and hard ice climbs.  Often described as the “Bonatti of the Rockies,” and Canada’s greatest alpinist, the Canmore-based writer and photographer spends his time romping around the globe in search of adventure on high alpine faces.  Barry is an internationally certified UIAGM guide and frequently works as a safety coordinator for Hollywood. He has been featured ice climbing in the IMAX Extreme film and Vertical Limit. His exploits include the first ascent of the epic North Pillar of North Twin, first ascents in winter on the north faces of Les Droites and two successful expeditions to Mt. Everest. In 2002 he opened a new route on the Emperor Face of Mt. Robson. It was Barry’s seventh start over many years, and partners Eric Dumerac and Philippe Pellet insisted on the name Infinite Patience (VI, WI5, M5, 5.9). In addition to recent routes on the southwest face of East Kahiltna Peak, the southeast ridge of Mt. Asperity and the north face of Bravo Peak.


Barry is also the author of The Calling A Life Rocked by Mountains and will be available for purchase and signing!

With heart-pounding descriptions of avalanches and treacherous ascents, Barry Blanchard chronicles his transformation from a poor Native American/white kid from the wrong side of the tracks to one of the most respected alpinists in the world. At thirteen, he learned to rappel when he joined the 1292 Lord Strathcone’s Horse Army Cadets. Soon kicked out for insubordination, he was already hooked on climbing and saw alpinism as a way to make his single mother proud and end his family’s cycle of poverty. He describes early climbs attempted with nothing to guide him but written trail descriptions and the cajones of youth. He slowly acquires the skills, equipment and partners necessary to tackle more and more difficult climbs, farther and farther afield: throughout the Canadian Rockies, into Alaska and the French Alps and on to Everest, Peru, and the challenging mountains in Pakistan. From each he learns lessons that only nature and extreme endeavor can teach.

Gripped Magazine called his memoir, The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains (Patagonia, October 2014), “the most anticipated book of 2014.”  The Calling is the story of the culture of climbing in the days of punk rock, spurred on by the rhythm of adrenaline and the arrogance of youth. It is also a portrait of the power of the mountains to lift us – physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually – and the depths of relationships based on total trust in the person at the other end of a rope.

The book includes climbs with top climbers such as Kevin Doyle, Mark Twight, David Cheesmond and Ward Robinson, with killer photos and even Barry’s song playlist! Thanks again to our Gold Sponsor Patagonia for making it possible for Barry to be at this years Michigan Ice Fest!






Once Again- The North Face To Team Up With PRCA!

Conrad Anchor seems to be pretty fired up about PRCA.  photo credit Aaron Peterson/ Cold Clear Cinema
Conrad Anker seems to be pretty fired up about PRCA. photo credit Aaron Peterson/ Cold Clear Cinema

It all started out with a comment from The North Face Team Athlete Conrad Anker. Conrad was in Munising filming the new National Parks IMAX Film celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.  Conrad Anker’s specialty, simply put, is climbing the most technically challenging terrain in the world. This quest has taken him from the mountains of Alaska and Antarctica to the big walls of Patagonia and Baffin   Island and the massive peaks of the Himalaya.  Blown away by the climbing at Pictured Rocks, he was surprised that there is virtually no local youth that have taken up ice climbing.

Pictured Rocks Climbing Academy

Last year The North Face came up with a plan to sell  Yeti Colsters and TNF Beanies and donate the funds to a local non profit.  It is with these funds that the Pictured Rocks Climbing Academy was established and 3 local youth have been “learning the ropes” and getting stoked for the 2017 fest!  Pictured Rocks Climbing Academy is a free program available to Alger/Marquette County youths ages 12-17 where mentors guide a small group of four participants through a four step program designed to advance the participants rock and ice climbing skills. Our goal is to develop, advise and foster a youth climbing community in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Based on an application system, each year the PRCA Board selects and awards 4 full ride scholarships that include 6-10 instructional sessions.  The instructional sessions will involve indoor training sessions, outdoor rock climbing, ice climbing, as well as participants receiving full ride scholarships to the Michigan Ice Fest which will include clinics, courses, and slide shows. Participants will be able to hone their skills that were developed throughout the year.  It is our goal to plant the seed and produce the next generation of high level ice climbers.  For more information on the PRCA please contact Bill at downwindsports@gmail.com


Once again this year we are receiving big help from our friends at The North Face! At this years Ice Fest, The North Face has a limited amount of Custom beanies made by TNF that will be sold for $20.00 with 100% of the proceeds going back to the Pictured Rocks Climbing Academy. You will want to run right over to the TNF booth at Michigan Ice Fest Headquarters as quantities are limited!



The staff at PRCA would personally like to thank Alex Brown from The North Face, and all of the Ice Fest friends who purchased beanies last year to help get this program off the ground! The kids are very excited to show their skills off at this years event- THANK YOU!

img_4612Check out more on Conrad’s visit to Munising here!