Gold Sponsor Black Diamond Sends Pete Tapley To This Years Ice Fest!

Courtesy of Black Diamond Equipment, Pete comes to us from Bozeman, MT, where he works year-round as a professional mountain guide.  His climbing career stretches back to the late eighties, and has been punctuated with numerous standard-bearing first ascents.  While preferring to consider himself an all arounder, he sheepishly confesses that, “I have to admit, my winters seem to keep getting longer, and while alpinism lies at the heart of my passion for climbing, there’s no denying that I’ve been shaped by my surroundings and have evolved into somewhat of an ice specialist.”

Though Tapley is well know for his adventurous climbs, writing, photography and video shorts, he also prides himself on his ability teach.   “It’s what I feel sets me apart from the throngs of other excellent guides out there – my passion for and commitment to being the best instructor that I can be.  I thrive on the connection to people who share this love for climbing.  It might sound altruistic, but rest assured, I take great satisfaction in seeing a student’s ability and knowledge grow…not to mention, the enthusiasm of new climbers is infectious and keeps that fire inside burning bright.”

Pete’s multi-media presentation will focus on the relation of backyard adventure to the greater ranges and include imagery from his and Scott Adamson’s 5,000’ new route on the East Face of the Moose’s Tooth. You can learn more about Pete and follow his blog at

Michigan Ice Fest 2014 Lineup Starting To Take Shape!

Just got word that Gold sponsor Black Diamond has signed Pete Tapley to present and instruct at this years fest!  Look for a more detailed bio for Pete coming soon!


Pete offers a unique blend of skills that cover not only all aspects of mountain life, but also a distinctive and highly effective teaching style, honed over two decades of experience.  He’s taught climbers of all ages and ability levels and has an impeccable safety record.
His talents extend well beyond the climbing world, yet dovetail perfectly as he documents his adventures through creative and original writing, video shorts and still imagery.  His published works have been featured in Alpinist, Backcountry and Climberism Magazine, among others.
Blending these interests, Tapley is frequently found at various climbing festivals and trade show events, as well as throughout the pages of popular climbing periodicals and marketing materials.


Ice Conditions 3-5-13 Looking Good!

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!


Ice Fest Follow Up

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.

Alger Falls

Days Inn

Holiday Inn

Munising Motel


Sunset Motel

Super 8

Superior Motel

Falling Rock Cafe


Dog Patch

2013 Michigan Ice Fest Recap

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!


Arc Teryx              

La Sportiva          

Black Diamond    





Sterling Rope       

FITS Socks             

Mountain Hardwear






Be sure to keep up with what is happening with the Michigan Ice Fest through our blog at or on our facebook page!


ICE FEST 2014 January 30st-February 2nd


La Sportiva Marks Another Return To Ice Fest

There has been one vendor who has been with us since day one and it has been La Sportiva.  For 19 years Mark Wilford and La Sportiva have been coming up to help teach our Intro To Ice Courses and to provide some of the best ice climbing boots in the industry at our demo site.

Mark Wilford

Who’s the one guy you can guarantee you’ll see at the fest?  Mark of course!  A long time supporter of the festival, Mark is considered one of the most proficient and diverse alpinist/rock climbers in the world. With more than 30 years of experience, he has accumulated a long resume of bold rock ascents, alpine solos, Alaskan climbs and Himalayan expeditions. Among his most notable climbs are the first American solo ascent of the Eiger North Face, a first ascent route on Nameless Tower, a winter solo of the Diamond on Long’s Peak and first ascents in Alaska’s Saint

Elias Range. Although he has participated in sport climbing and ice-climbing events, Mark is considered a staunch traditionalist when it comes to the style and ethics of climbing.  “Whatever that means these days,” he jokes. “I just like to climb. I just love climbing.”

Mark Wilford in the early 90's soloing the East Channel of Grand Island


If you are headed out to the demo site you may have seen dozens of the Nepal Evo’s.  We had plenty of these award winning boots in men and women’s styles.  When the brutal cold winds come blowing in from across lake Superior, the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Mountaineering Boot will be your foot’s best friend! La Sportiva combined a waterproof breathable Gore-Tex membrane, an insulated lining , and a durable leather upper to keep your feet warm and protected for many summits to come. The Vibram sole, featuring the Impact Brake System, provides tough traction on slippery inclines, while the 3D Flex ankle allows for maximum sole-to-surface contact on the steeps. An adjustable, removable tongue offers a comfortable, customizable fit for any foot shape.

Once again a huge thank you goes out to La Sportiva  for joining us again and continuing to support Mid West ice climbers and sending Mark back to this years Michigan Ice Fest!

Gold Level Sponsor Patagonia Back For Another Year!

Once again we are proud to have Patagonia as a Gold Level sponsor for the 2013 Michigan Ice Fest!  Patagonia has always sent some of the most amazing athletes to instruct and give presentations to our event and this year is no exception.  This year Patagonia ambassador Zoe Hart will be joining  us all the way from her home in Chamonix France.

Zoe Hart

Zoe is the fourth American woman to earn her International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations status, the highest level of credential available to professional mountain guides. When she’s not guiding or climbing in her backyard, Chamonix, France, Zoe’s on international expeditions or climbing trips throughout North America. Although Zoe considers herself a climbing “jack-of-all-trades,” alpine climbing is her passion.

Career Highlights
  • Ascent of the 1938 Route on the North Face of the Eiger, Switzerland
  • First Ascent Cracker Pterodactyl 5000 (VI 5.10+, 900 m) Jebel Misht, Oman
  • Ascent of the Dru Couloir on the Dru, France
  • Ascent of the Over Couloir on the Brenva Face of Mont Blanc, France
  • Ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome in a day, Yosemite, California Ascent of the West Face Couloir, Aguille Du Plan (ED2, M6, WI5, 700 m)
    • First Female Ascent and Speed Record (since broken) of Deprivation, Mt Hunter, Alaska (IV 5.8 A3 AI6)
    • Ascent of Cryophobia, Ghost, Canada (M8, WI 6, 225m)
    • First Female Ski Descents in the Karakoram on the Chasing Glaciers Expeditions, Pakistan
    • First ascent of Big Wednesday (VI 6), Ben Nevis, Scotland
    • First ascent of Alpine Princess, Ben Nevis, Scotland

On top of sending Zoe,  Patagonia is also going all in on some sweet swag!  What you may ask?  Well let’s just say there will be some lucky climbers sporting new soft shell jackets, R1 insulation and of course belay jackets!  Have never owned a piece of Patagonia clothing?  At the Michigan Ice Fest you will get a unique opportunity to demo some of the nicest ice climbing clothing ever produced as Patagonia will be sending their demo fleet just so we can try it out!  Stop by Sydney’s before heading out to the ice and demo a belay parka, soft shell jacket and more!
Patagonia DAS Parka
When your belaying in the middle of a fridgid snow storm, on the shores of Lake Superior, give thanks to Patagonia for the Men’s DAS Parka. This lightweight puffy features a weather-resistant shell and high-lofting PrimaLoft One insulation that keeps you warm even if it gets wet. The oversized hood fits over all types of helmets, and the two-way zipper lets you get at your belay device while keeping the jacket zipped. Large handwarmer pockets and interior mesh pockets store your chilly hands or water bottles, and Patagonia included a stuff sack for when it’s time to climb.  This brilliant piece of gear is an Ice Fest Staff favorite!

A big Thank you goes out to Josh and the rest of the gang and Patagonia  for taking the time to care about us mid west climbers!