Michigan Ice Fest Recap 2014

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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!

THURSDAY

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!

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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.

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FRIDAY

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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SATURDAY

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.

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DEMOS

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

SUNDAY

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.

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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!

 

SAVE THE DATES!

ICE FEST 2015  February 5-8th

 

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.

THURSDAY

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.
FRIDAY

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!

SATURDAY

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!)

SUNDAY

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!

Patagonia                         josh_nielsen@patagonia.com      dixiemarree@patagonia.com

Arc Teryx                        jwilmers@msn.com

La Sportiva                    iachey@sportiva.com

Black Diamond              tj.kolanko@bdel.com

Scarpa                               Brian@goaao.com

Petzl                                   brad@pembaserves.com

Osprey                             Brian@goaao.com

Grivel                               PeterM@LIBERTYMOUNTAIN.com

Sterling Rope                 marketing@sterlingrope.com

FITS Socks                       help@fitssock.com

Mountain Hardwear   BPittam@mountainhardwear.com

Salewa                               info@salewa.us

Montane                           matthuff@sport-hansa.com

Loki                                    loki@lokiusa.com

 

 

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!

SAVE THE DATES!

ICE FEST 2014 January 30st-February 2nd

 

Ice Conditions 2012/2013 The First Report

I can’t remember a year when I was so excited for the ice season to begin- which was the reason that I found myself roaming around Munising this morning.  Last nights cold temperatures provided a bit of snow cover along the Lakeshore Trail, and the crisp morning air certainly felt like ice climbing season was about to begin.

With the final touches to the new Munising Ice Climber’s Guide beginning, today was spent making sure GPS coordinates were correct and to get a sneak peak at what was happening with the ice formations.  The good news is that ice IS beginning to form on the cliffs and it won’t be long before climbers will be able to hop on their favorite routes.

Before the season actually starts everyone should make sure to tighten the bolts on our tools and file the pick razor sharp, check the straps on our crampons and sharpen your front points as well.  You might even send your ice screws out to be professionally sharpened to be ready for this seasons first lead.  It won’t be long now because……………

The ice on Bridalveil Falls is starting to form!  Also checked out Potato Patch Falls and the walls are beginning to get their first daggers of ice.  Keep checking back as we are sure to give you up to the minute ice condition reports throughout the winter.  Let the season begin!

The season's first ice forming on Potato Patch Falls

Munising Ice Climbing Guidebook- Hey This Is Hard Work!

For those climbers who have ventured north to climb the wonderful ice formations at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, they know that the area has a history of hard to find, and easily mixed up routes.  Jon Jugenheimer and I have decided to combine forces and generate a third edition to the climbers guide to Munising Ice.

Late night work sessions have made us come to realize that developing a guidebook is time consuming, frustrating, expensive, but very rewarding.  The previous two guidebooks served their purpose, but with recent route development, and an increase in the sheer numbers of new ice climbers, we feel that this new book will give justice to the history of the area, and introduce “old timers” to some new climbs!

This past weekend Jon and I put in 15 miles of shoreline exploration marking GPS coordinates for the major ice formations in the park.  The lake was angry with huge waves crashing up against the rocks with a thunderous booms, making for a great sound track to this productive day.

 

With the snow starting to fly and ice sure to follow, the new edition of the Munising Ice Climbing Guidebook should be finished by late November.  The book will be available for purchase at your favorite climbing stores and we will be having a special guidebook release party at the 2013 Michigan Ice Fest!

2012 Michigan Ice Fest Recap

Jon Jugenheimer leading the Dryer Hose photo Matt Abbotts

The 2012 Michigan Ice Fest is in the books and 337 participants were greeted with extremely mild temperatures and what turned out to be a lean ice year.   Eight different states were represented this year with participants traveling as far as Kentucky and Colorado- coming to Munising to enjoy the camaraderie of Midwest climbers and the chance to climb at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  The big story this year has been the weather and the randomness of what climbs were formed.  Go figure…..the ultra classic Dairyland was in, but Memorial Falls was not, Sweet Mother Moses was in but Tannery Falls was not.

THURSDAY

New this year, 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.

 

 

We kicked off the festival on Thursday night with  the first ever “Participants Slide Show: Beers with Bill” while enjoying a tasty beverage climbers were treated to a collection of slides submitted by Ice Fest participants and set to music.

Dirk VanKoughnett gettin' after it photo Christopher Lemon

FRIDAY

With temps still in the mid 30’s climbers hit the trails in search of ice.  Several groups headed out to Miners Lake Falls, Miners Beach area as well as being dispersed along the lakeshore trail.  The fest also saw an increase in rentals as many took advantage to check out gear and climb in small groups throughout the park.  Two more courses, an Introduction to Ice Course, and a Top Rope Anchor Course 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 Ames Adventure Outdoors, Scarpa and Osprey.  Due to a family illness, Roger Strong was unable to make it to last years Fest, but fortunately for us Gold Sponsor Arc Teryx sent Roger out this year to instruct and present.  Roger thrilled the crowd with slides and video from his days as a crab captain on the first two seasons of the Discovery Channels Deadliest Catch, climbing ice bergs, ice routes in the northwest, and finally an amazing story of a serious ski accident he was involved in last year.

 

Because of a monster snowstorm in Colorado, perennial Ice Fest athlete Mark Wilford was unable to attend so our second slide show of the evening had to be cancelled.  The rest of the evening you could find people browsing the booths of Bob The Mountaineer and Down Wind Sports looking to score a few deals!

SATURDAY

As usual we got the ball rolling early with equipment hand out for Ice Fest Courses.  The 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 Roger Strong, Barry Blanchard, and Vince Anderson.  After getting the courses set and on their way it was time to hook up participants with demo gear.  This year the line to pick up gear was exceptionally long running down stairs and winding through the restaurant.  For the first time in Ice Fest history we were able outfit everyone who showed up to demo gear!  All of our demo sponsors really stepped up this year by sending larger demo kits and it was certainly appreciated!

The Demo area at the Curtains also saw changes this year with a shortage of ice to climb.  Most years we are able to hang ten ropes for participants to climb….this year we squeaked by with five ropes.   Hundreds of climbers were challenged throughout the day with a variety of difficult climbs set up.

After a long day of climbing, everyone converged upon Sydney’s for the Saturday evening social and free beer provided by La Sportiva.  With a standing room only crowd, our first presentation of the evening was from Vince Anderson. In 2005, Vince, along with Steve House pioneered a direct new route on the Rupal Face of 8126-meter (26,660-foot) Nanga Parbat. The 4100-meter (13,500-foot) face had never before been climbed in alpine style and their alpine-style ascent is one the boldest Himalayan ascents to date.  Vince’s humor, delivery, and  passion in telling this remarkable story was inspiring and had the crowd in awe.  A huge thank you goes out to Gold Level sponsor Patagonia for sending Vince to the Fest!

Our final presentation of the night was from Ice Fest favorite Barry Blanchard.  A fantastic story teller, Barry reminisced about past climbing partners, including Kevin Doyle and Guy Lacelle -really hitting home on what makes a special climbing partner/friend.  Many beautiful slides showed classic Canadian Rockies routes that were pioneered by Barry and his friends.  The highlight of the presentation for many was Barry giving the insider details on his work as a climbing adviser and safety rigger on a number of Hollywood films including Cliffhanger, and Vertical Limit!

Sue Nott Scholarship winners Sommer and Izabella!

After the shows we introduced Sommer Edwards and Izabella Tancredi as the 2012 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.  Sommer and Izabella 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.  Way to go girls!

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, BD Stinger Crampons, 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, Sterling, Black Diamond, Petzl and Osprey for providing such killer raffle prizes!

SUNDAY

More mild temps greeted our Intro to Ice  and Intro to Leading participants which made for comfortable 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 31 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!

Patagonia                         josh_nielsen@patagonia.com      dixiemarree@patagonia.com

Arc Teryx                        jwilmers@msn.com

La Sportiva                    iachey@sportiva.com

Black Diamond              tj.kolanko@bdel.com

Scarpa                               Brian@goaao.com

Petzl                                   brad@pembaserves.com

Osprey                             Brian@goaao.com

Grivel                               PeterM@LIBERTYMOUNTAIN.com

 

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!

SAVE THE DATES!

ICE FEST 2013 January 31st-February 3rd

 

Kathmandu Clubhouse

Many of you that have attended the Michigan Ice Fest in the past few years know that we do a membership drive for the American Alpine Club.  The American Alpine Club provides knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community. The AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world’s most sought-after climbing annuals, The American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering; cares for the world’s leading climbing library and country’s leading mountaineering museum.

What you might not know is that the AAC, working with the Mountain Fund, has a brand-new lodging option for its Members—two AAC Member Clubhouses in central Kathmandu, Nepal.  I was fortunate enough to take advantage of this benefit on a recent trip to Nepal.  I can’t tell you how easy this was to set up through Scott at The Mountain Fund.  One call and boom- it was done.  An airport pick up, and a great hook up in a Nepali family home and I was all set!  The home features several bedrooms with multiple single beds in each room.  The bathroom is shared and the house offers free internet access.  After my trek I was surprised to see Benjamin Erdmann, a fellow AAC member and personal friend just in from the long flight from the states!  What a small world!  Benjamin was there with his girlfriend planning an adventurous 2.5 months of climbing and volunteer work.

The clubhouse provides the perfect setting as it offers a quite, relaxed atmosphere with internet and hot tea- ideal for expedition logistics!  The staff at the clubhouse was unbelievably friendly and hospitable and prepared traditional Nepali meals twice a day. My Nepali “sisters” danced around the house signing Nepali songs and were quick to whip up my favorite meal- Dal Bhat!  Did I mention all of this special service runs $15.00 per day for AAC members!  It was by far the best deal in all of Nepal!

Certainly no house would be complete without a mascot and the Kathmandu Clubhouse is no exception.  Always on the patrol and looking out for those pesky squirrels and birds was “Jimmy”.  It was always a pleasure to be greeted by Jimmy’s wagging tale when coming home from shopping for supplies.

What made my trip so memorable was being able to interact with many of the locals.  I will always cherish my time spent at the Kathmandu Clubhouse with my Nepali Sisters!  I look forward to the day when I can return to Nepal and a stay at the Kathmandu Club house will defiantly be in the plans!  Thank you AAC and Mountain Fund for providing this valuable benefit!


The Upper Pennisula- 6 Months Of Ice Climbing!

Who ever said the midwest has a short ice season is WRONG!  This Sunday with the temperatures locked in at 56 degrees, Michigan Ice Fest instructor Bryan DeAugstine and I traveled over to Munising to get in some late season climbing.  Sunday also happen to mark the 6 months that we have been climbing ice this year- defiantly something to celebrate!

The funny thing is that there is still plenty of ice to climb and will be for at least another week or two!  Now I’m not going to lie to anyone….most of the climbs are short seeps that are tucked back into the shady areas of the park- but none the less it’s still ice!

It’s been a great season with fantastic ice, and what better way to finish it off then to have a couple of bottles of bubbly chilling at the base of the climb.

Bryan enjoying the last of his champagne and contemplating an afternoon stand up paddling session.  Oh yes it’s nice to have options!