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.

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.


Michigan Ice Fest Recap 2014


The 2014 Michigan Ice Fest is in the books and 411 participants ascended on Munising Michigan for what has been the best ice conditions we have seen in decades!  Climbers from ten different states, and two 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 and Grand Island!


For the second year, the festival got underway on Thursday with an Introduction to Ice Course, and a Top Rope Anchor Course where participants spent the day learning the 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 early arrivers jumped at the chance to get out on Grand Island and take advantage of the lake ice that was formed enabling access to some seldom climbed formations.  An all day snow and somewhat mild temperatures made for an enjoyable day of cragging!


Thursday night with a cold brew in hand, climbers were treated to a collection of slides submitted by Ice Fest participants and set to music, during the second annual  “Participants Slide Show: Beers with Bill II”.  After the show many hung around Sydney’s hatching plans for an early morning departure and dreams of climbing the big routes along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.



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 walking, skiing or snowmobiling out to Grand Island  The fest also saw an increase in demos as many took advantage to check out gear and climb in small groups throughout the park.  Three more courses, an Introduction to Ice Course, 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 the American Alpine Club, La Sportiva and Montane.  The first presenter was Ben Erdmann originally from Marquette, and now a proud climbing bum.  When not working on the pipelines,  he is putting up new routes  in the mountains of Alaska, running up big walls in Yosemite, and pioneering first ascents in Patagoina. We are so proud of Ben and what he has accomplished in his climbing career!


We are so glad that Gold Sponsor Black Diamond sent Sam Elias out this year to instruct and present.  This is Sam’s second appearance to the festival and rounded out a night of “Michiganders” as Sam originally hails from the Detroit area.  Sam thrilled the crowd with shots and video from his amazing expedition climbing Mount Everest!


The rest of the evening you could find people browsing the booths of  Mountaineer Bob, The Access Fund /American Alpine Club, 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.  One of the unique aspects of the Ice Fest is the opportunity of taking a course from one the  most accomplished climbers in the country.  Sent to the festival from one of our Gold Level sponsors, these athletes work with our participants to give them the tools to be successful.  Talented, patient, funny and some of the nicest guys in the industry- these climbers are what make Michigan Ice Fest so darn fun!  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 Will Mayo, Mark Wilford, Ben Erdmann, Kelly Cordes, and Sam Elias.









Year after year the leading manufactures of ice climbing gear and clothing step up to the plate and send loads of demo gear to our festival for participants to “try before buying”.  We really appreciate the effort and the amount of gear these companies send to help ensure that the demo is a success and that we are able to outfit many first time climbers. Again 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!  Besides our long time sponsors of the demo- Sterling Ropes, Black Diamond, Petzl, Scarpa, Salewa, Grivel Liberty Mountain, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Hopp Outdoors, and the Ridge Roamers, this year we saw new sponsors Asolo, Trango and Camp USA joining us!







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 shorter then usual and everyone was able to get outfitted and  get out on the ice!



Gold Level sponsor Black Diamond graciously supplied their Stance Belay Parkas to the Michigan Ice Fest staff to keep the belayers warm and happy during the hundreds of belays throughout the weekend.   The Stance is filled with two independent layers of lightweight, highly compressible PrimaLoft insulation that provide sleeping-bag level warmth, even when wet. The two-way center front zip lets you wear the jacket over your harness while belaying, (check out Matt belaying above) and oversized hand, chest and internal drop pockets accommodate gloves,  and other essentials like snicker bars!


The Demo area at The Curtains saw lots of first time ice climbers learning the basics on some of the many routes that were set up.  Cold temperatures and added a bit of a challenge for the participants but determination and grit got most climbers to top out on their first 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 their success.



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 and the American Alpine Club.  Before the shows we introduced Olivia and Ava as the 2014 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.  Ava and Olivia 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.   It is always one of our favorite parts of the whole weekend- way to go girls!


With a standing room only crowd, our first presentation of the evening was from Will Mayo.  A huge thank you goes out to our Title Sponsor La Sportiva for hooking us up with a class act like Will.  A plethora of amazing ice and mixed routes filled the screen as Will described various routes he has established and climbed over the years.

Our final presentation of the night was from Ice Fest favorite Kelly Cordes.  With his third time returning to the fest, Kelly is a  fantastic story teller, keeping the crowd entertained with his exploites, adventures, and accidents over the years.   An amazing show, if you ever get a chance to see a Kelly Cordes presentation- don’t miss it!


As usual the evening concluded with the Michigan Ice Fest raffle where we gave out over $4000.00 of gear and clothing to some very excited climbers.  Soft shells, belay parkas,  Petzl ropes, Cassin crampons Mountain Hardwear Packs, Patagonia Footwear and fleece, Salewa shoes 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, Sterling, Black Diamond, Petzl and Osprey, Montane, Dry Ice Tools, Prana, Osprey, Marmot, MSR, Outdoor Research, Skhoop, Cassin, Julbo, Sherpa, Alpinist, Red Bull, Black Rocks Brewery, ThermaCell,  Fits Socks for providing such killer raffle prizes!



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.


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 42 new members to the American Alpine Club, and the Access Fund  and exposed hundreds of first time climbers to the sport of ice climbing.

As you look back on your Ice Fest experience we ask you to think about the companies and organizations that you saw this weekend- and if you liked what you saw or tried during the weekend we encourage you to buy local.  Buying local in the Midwest supports the Reps that came, and in turn helps to keep the Michigan Ice Fest alive and healthy.  Having remorse for not buying those mountain boots?  Down Wind Sports is still offering the Ice Fest discount for the next week.  Give them a call at 906-226-7112 or use promo code icefest at their online shop.

We also want to thank all those who volunteered their time, energy, and hard work throughout the weekend.  Without these folks Ice Fest would simply not happen.  A big shout out to Edith Nelson, Maddog Lynch, Mario Molin, Linda Wappner, Bryan DeAgustine, Rob Harwood, Neil Poglese, the Schneiderhan’s and Megan Ostrowski.


The reason our event is so successful is because of the assistance behind the scene 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!

Patagonia                       dixiemarree@patagonia.com   Jimmy.Hopper@patagonia.com

La Sportiva                    iachey@sportiva.com

Black Diamond            Holly.Merriman@bdel.com  bodhiagency.jon@gmail.com

Scarpa                            shunnie@scarpa.com    mark@scarpa.com

Petzl                               james@figure8sales.com        codette@petzl.com

Grivel                               peterm@libertymountain.com

Sterling Rope                 marketing@sterlingrope.com

FITS Socks                       help@fitssock.com

Mountain Hardwear    BPittam@mountainhardwear.com   JPedersen@mountainhardwear.com

Salewa                               info@salewa.us   nrgsales1@gmail.com

Montane                           matthuff@sport-hansa.com

Asolo                                 cbf106@asolo-usa.com

Camp USA                      glen@camp-usa.com

Trango                               CKlinke@gthi.com



Thank you so much for being part of the Michigan Ice Fest this year!  Be sure to keep up with what is happening with the Michigan Ice Fest through our blog at michiganicefest.com or on our facebook page!



ICE FEST 2015  February 5-8th


Welcome Asolo To The Michigan Ice Fest!




Asolo, the leading manufacturer of mountain boots, and the organizers of the Michigan Ice Fest are pleased to announce its collaboration with this years Ice Fest demo!  Having never had a presence at the festival, this year climbers from all over the Midwest will be able to test out the Asolo ice climbing boots and give them a test ride on some cold Michigan Ice!



The boot that Asolo athletes chose to face frozen waterfalls all over the world is the Eiger GV: a model designed for fast ice climbing, alpine hiking and technical climbing. Made with Gore-Tex® Duratherm® uppers, Eiger GV offers the perfect thermal insulation ensuring maximum waterproofness and breathability.


Welcome Asolo to the Michigan Ice Fest!  Be sure to stop in and check out a pair of Asolo boots at this years Michigan Ice Fest!











Beers With Bill III- Anyone Thirsty?


Twin Towers, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Aaron Peterson photo


Join us for the third annual “Participants Slide Show: Beers with Bill III ”- while enjoying a tasty beverage of your choice with our own Bill Thompson of Down Wind Sports, Thursday evening at Sydney’s.  The idea is to have everyone submit their favorite ice climbing photos and Bill will put them together in a slide show set to music.  During the show feel free to cheer for your personal favorites!  If you have great pictures to show that you took, and just love, please submit them to Bill at downwindsports@gmail.com (in digital form please) and he will put them all together for the show.

La Sportiva New Title Sponsor!


We are so excited to announce that the Michigan Ice Fest now has a Title Sponsor- La Sportiva!  Not only do they make incredible climbing gear and clothing, they were the first climbing manufacturer to come to our event back in the days where there were only a handful of participants at the event.  Back in the early days, Mark Wilford of La Sportiva,  generously donated his time and talents to help build a solid foundation for our festival. This year we think (those early days are a bit hazy) Mark and Sportiva have been involved with the Michigan Ice Fest close to 19 years.  Look for exciting things to happen between Michigan Ice and La Sportiva for years to come!

La Sportiva

In the Twenties Thirties and Forties, Narciso Delladio hand-crafted wooden clogs and leather boots for many lumber-jacks and farmers of the Fassa and Fiemme valleys, who trusted his skilled hands. Very important is the date of a participation certificate at the Milan Trade Fair in 1928. During the Second World War, Delladio custom produced mountain boots that were supplied to the Army. Dating back to this period is a patent for a special lacing system, that later will be used by the most important footwear factories.

After the war, the demand for boots increased, obliging Narciso to hire new workers: the good name of “Calzoleria Sportiva” crossed the boarders of the valleys and reached the cities of Trento and Bolzano.

In the Fifties, his son Francesco began to work for the company, and by doing the right thing at the right time he started building a new workshop on the outskirts of Tesero, where today is located a large industrial area. In the new and roomy building they began to design and develop ski boots, for a fast growing sport, requiring more technical boots. The market opened up quickly and Francesco Delladio introduced the brand name “La Sportiva” firstly in the Milan Exhibition, then throughout Europe, with a winter collection characterized by audacious technical and aesthetic solutions, and a summer collection of traditional mountain boots.

In the Seventies, with the arrival of plastic boots, “La Sportiva”, after a trial season, had to discontinue the production of ski boots, for financial reasons; the investment would have been too high and therefore the production was limited to mountain boots and cross-country skiing footwear. In the meantime the sons of Francesco began to work in the company: Lorenzo, Luciano, Marco. The desire to create, to stand out and to make a name for oneself in an ever increasing market is a characteristic present in the Delladio family.

During the Eighties  the focus of the firm moves towards the climbing sector due to an intuition which will prove to be a winner. An innovative shoe characterized by the colors purple and yellow was devised and produced to become the forerunner of a long series of avant-garde products, which very quickly will seal the success of the brand name world wide.


Sue Nott Scholarship Available!

We all wished that we were introduced to the sport of ice climbing at a younger age……right? Are there any young women in your life you’d like to give that gift to?  The Michigan Ice Fest is proud to offer an amazing opportunity for young women between the ages of 9-17 to be introduced to the sport of ice climbing at the Fest.

Sue Nott was a native of Vail, Colorado, and began climbing rock and ice at the age of 20. In the winter of 1998, Sue was involved in an ice climbing accident where she was speared by a large piece of ice, when it crumbled from underneath her. Suffering from serious abdominal injuries, Sue took only two months to recover and was out climbing as soon as she could.

Over the next couple of years Sue focused on alpine climbing. She would winter in Chamonix, giving her access to many of Europe’s alpine classics including the famed Eiger. Then spend the spring season in Alaska, climbing on Hunter, Foraker and Denali. All of this was preparation for her major expeditions which took her all over the world, climbing in such locations as India’s Garwhal Himalaya, the Peruvian Andes, and the mountains of Patagonia to name a few.

It was her drive, focused direction and experience that lead her to become one of the world’s top women alpine climbers. But it was her lust for life and infectious energy that left a permanent impression on everyone she met. Whether it was teaching a clinic, traveling abroad, in a restaurant or even competing against others, her warmth, energy and good natured spirit affected everyone.

Sue dreamed big, lived a large life, and wanted you to be a part of it. She was always there to encourage and cheer you on with whatever you were doing, no matter who you were. For those of us lucky enough to share some time with her, we will be forever changed and will forever miss her.

For two years Sue was also an instructor for the Michigan Ice Fest teaching our women’s courses. Unfortunately, Sue was killed while attempting the Infinite Spur on Mt. Foraker in Alaska in the spring of 2006.  In honor of Sue,Down Wind Sports has created the Sue Nott Scholarship Fund.  The purpose of the scholarship is to promote, inspire, and introduce young females to the sport of ice climbing. One scholarship will be awarded every year for female’s age 9-17 years old. The scholarship will include admission to the ice fest, instruction in the women’s course, as well as some other surprises!

Do you know a young girl who might be interested in learning how to ice climb?  Our Sue Nott Scholarship is still available!

Applicants need to submit:


1. A one page written letter explaining why they are interested in ice climbing and the Michigan Ice Fest.


2. A copy of their most recent report card.  Applications will not be based on the best grades but that students are trying hard and making an effort at school.


3. A letter of support from someone other then the applicant’s parents.


4. Deadline for application is December 30th 2013



514 N. Third

Marquette, MI. 49855


Applications will be presented to a panel and will be responded to in writing by Jan. 5th 2014

Gold Level Sponsor Patagonia Signs On- Kelly Cordes To Return To Ice Fest

We are so proud to announce that industry leader Patagonia has signed on as a Gold Level sponsor for the 2014 Michigan Ice Fest!   This year the folks at Patagonia are  graciously sending Ice Fest favorite Kelly Cordes!

Over the last 20 years, Colorado climber Kelly Cordes’s passion for climbing has blended seamlessly with a frugal lifestyle, an unabashed avoidance of full-time work, and a love affair with fine tequila. He’s certain that this combination relates to an alpine-style mindset that has seen him establish committing new lines on Great Trango Tower in Pakistan, Cerro Torre in Patagonia, several routes in Alaska, and indulge in countless adventures closer to home. Professionally, after finishing grad school at the University of Montana, he scored a job at Taco Bell before moving on to Pizza Hut (flexible hours, free leftover…), which led to years of shack dwelling which, somehow, led to a living climbing and writing.

 You can read some of Kelly’s amazing writing and  learn more  about Kelly’s shenanigan’s  by following his blog at: http://kellycordes.wordpress.com/


 “I believe that the three – margarita’s, goofing-off and climbing can co-exist in harmony – and if I’m right, then nothing can stop us all from living together as one.” Kelly Cordes