What’s New- La Sportiva G Tech

The Michigan Ice Fest has always been a place where climbers can come and get a first look at the most innovative new climbing products on the market.

Here’s a look at the latest greatest gear in ice climbing and beyond for the 2023 season! Remember when you sign up for the Michigan Ice Fest you can get 20% off your purchases at Down Wind Sports at the event or pre event over at www.shopdownwindsports.com

Today we feature the La Sportiva G Tech

G-TECH

Achieving equilibrium between technical performance and the demands for modern alpinists and mountaineers is a perpetual challenge. The state-of-the-art G-Tech orchestrates a perfect blend of ultralight construction, durable materials, superlative comfort, and elite performance for technical ice climbing and moving fast in the mountains. G-Tech is ideal for modern ice and mixed climbing, and high mountains. Incredibly light, G-Tech raises the standards for ice and mixed climbing by combining precision and comfort in an ultra-performance product.

Title Sponsor- Black Diamond

We are so excited to announce that our longtime friends at Black Diamond are returning as the 2023 Title Sponsor to the Michigan Ice Fest!  Not only do they make incredible climbing gear and clothing, they were one of the first climbing manufacturers to come to our event back in the days where there were only a handful of participants at the event. Because of their commitment to the event we are able to offer Ice Fest participants a much greater experience and for that we will be forever grateful.

This year above and beyond their Title Sponsorship, they are helping to support our diversity and inclusion projects, sending amazing athletes, and this year both Aaron Mulkey & Brian Block will be doing presentations!

During the fest be sure to stop by their booth and thank them for their continued support of Midwest Ice Climbers!

Black Diamond Equipment’s history dates back to the late 1950s, when climber Yvon Chouinard began hand-forging pitons and selling them from the trunk of his car in Yosemite Valley. Chouinard’s pitons quickly gained a reputation for quality, and Chouinard Equipment was born soon after in Ventura, California. 

Black Diamond was founded on December 1, 1989, when the assets of Chouinard Equipment Ltd. were purchased by a group of former company employees led by (now former CEO) Peter Metcalf, and a few outside investors. They continue to bring innovative climbing gear and apparel to the market, many of which will be on display at their booth at the Michigan Ice Fest headquarters.

Ice Conditions Reports 11-30-22

After a fielding a few calls from some old climbing partners wondering about conditions, we thought we would share what our guides found this past holiday weekend. Munising is totally void of ice right now and needless to say we need a little more time. From Marquette and west, the ice is usually formed by snow melt and tends to form earlier in the season than the waterfalls/pillars of Munising. With that in mind, Brian Rajdl and David Hixenbaugh hit the Keweenaw and found ice but unstable conditions.

David Hixenbaugh on the sharp end. Pc Brian Rajdl

Closer to Marquette, the thin line of The Wolfs Dens saw several ascents but as of Sunday’s 50 degree temperatures is now unclimbable.

Emily Gantner- The Wolfs Den

Please be mind full that Munising early season formations are extremely delicate and knocking any pillars down at this point may take a month to reform. BEFORE MAKING THE LONG DRIVE UP– please call Down Wind Sports for up to the minute conditions: 906-226-7112

At Michigan Ice we take pride in being your go to site for current ice climbing conditions for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as well as climbs throughout the Upper Peninsula. Planning a trip to Pictured Rocks? We have you covered for all the latest snow and ice conditions on all of your favorite climbs. We also offer a full guide service and are currently booking guided ice climbing trips for the 22/23 season! Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!

Our Ice Fest Family- Ice Climbing Festivals You Won’t Want To Miss!

The Michigan Ice Fest started thirty one years ago as a way for the handful of hearty souls who enjoyed climbing in the area to meet up, share stories and do a little climbing. We bonded over the areas beauty and the adventurous nature of the sport and became something of a family. Stories spread by word of mouth, social media and film. Over the years our family has grown, a lot. No longer are we just 10 people climbing during the day and watching a slideshow in a bar, we’re now 1200 people climbing and watching slideshows in a historic theater!

I’m sure that is how Ice Fests have started in some sort of fashion all over the country. Good friends getting together, enjoying the comradery of sharing a rope- becoming family. There are dozens of amazing Ice Festivals scattered across the country and many of the organizers have made their way to Michigan and we are proud to call them our friends.  If they are our friends, they are certainly your friends.  How about we grow our family a bit and check out these other festivals….who’s up for a road trip?

Bozeman Ice Fest December 8-11th 2022

The Bozeman Ice Festival began in 1996 and is dedicated to promote and protect access to ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon. The event draws professional climbers and participants from across the globe for a myriad of clinics, demos of the latest gear, inspiring films and evening entertainment, and camaraderie of the climbing tribe. The clinics of the festival operate in Hyalite Canyon, one of America’s longest and most influential histories in waterfall ice climbing. Register here

Sandstone Ice Fest January 6-8th 2023

Held the first weekend of January each year at Robinson Park in Sandstone, Minnesota, the Sandstone Ice Festival is a fixture in the Midwestern ice climbing scene. The vibrant festival celebrates the best of winter adventure sports from ice climbing to skinny skiing, winter camping and snow shoeing. It is a gathering of kindred spirits who share a love for all things cold. The Sandstone Ice Festival reaches winter lovers from around the Midwest and Canada.

Come ice climb with friends from the past 15 years of festivals, take a basic, intermediate, women’s, or advanced clinic, scope out new gear at the vendor village and gear swap, warm up by the bonfire, and enjoy a brew from a local MN brewery (after climbing, of course).

Never been ice climbing but interested in trying it? With gear rentals, clinics, and a beautiful quarry of farmed and natural ice, the Sandstone Ice Fest is the perfect opportunity to dip your toe into this fun sport! More info here!

Wyoming Ice Fest January 5-8th 2023
Home to one of the most wild and scenic ice destinations in the world! In Cody, WY, home of the Wyo Ice Fest, we are doing things a little differently.  Due to the difficult and limiting terrain of the South Fork Valley, we are including 2:1 clinics – giving you more of a privately guided experience – in addition to 4:1, 6:1, and 8:1 options depending on the location of climbs and the safety of belay areas.  We are excited to bring you true alpine climbing experiences in the South Fork Valley as well as Pilot Creek (outside of Cooke City, MT).

More info here

Ouray Ice Fest January 19-22rd 2023

For three days and three nights Ouray is an absolute ice climbing mecca; ice climbers, both novice and pro travel from around the world to celebrate the growing sport of ice climbing. During daily vendor exhibitions Festival attendees have the opportunity to demo the latest ice tools, apparel, and gear from the Outdoor industries leading retailers.  Hundreds of spectators line the top of the Gorge on Saturday and Sunday to watch the world’s best ice and mixed climbing talent battle for the prize! And, with over 100 interactive and educational climbing clinics to accommodate every skill level, Festival participants are sure to have an experience to remember.

Nightly events include multimedia presentations by leading climbers, music, food, dance parties and a live and silent auction overflowing with screaming deals of the latest outdoor gear! For more information Register here!

Mountain Washington Ice Fest February 3-5th 2023

Since its inception 30 years ago this event has been eagerly anticipated by ice climbers in the Eastern United States and is considered one of the premier climbing events in the country. It is intended to be a celebration of ice climbing and winter mountaineering and the people that make it a part of their lives. It continues to provide a great opportunity for those attending to network, socialize, try new gear and participate in multiple day courses, one-day technical clinics and privately guided climbs.  Each year they offer a variety of skills-based clinics and exciting slide shows with featured climbers and guides from the New England area and around the world. For more information or to register click here.

Duluth Ice & Mixed Fest February 4th 2023

Each Winter, the DCC hosts climbers from around the Midwest as we share in our mutual passion of climbing ice. The ice, or sometimes lack thereof, in Quarry Park makes for technically challenging lines that are more suited to experienced climbers and alpinists. However, past ice fests have offered more than just climbing! We typically try to run winter clinics (climbing, camping, etc) and have forums for discussions and seminars on ice climbing.

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Michigan Ice Fest February 8-12th 2023

Quietly nestled on the south shore of Lake Superior we had some of the country’s most outstanding ice climbing and no one had ever heard of it! For year’s it was a secret treasure.  With the release of two major films featuring the area, climbers are beginning to discover what many of us have known for decades: Michigan climbing is great and the Michigan Ice Fest is at the center of it all. The festival makes ice climbing accessible to the first timer, teaches advanced skills to those looking to improve and connects participants with the greater climbing community through slideshows and socials. To register click here!


Southern Ontario Ice Fest February 2023

Come out for a climb and then celebrate the night away with a hundred of your closest friends at the Arlington with live-music, games, raffles and a silent auction!

More information here!

VALDEZ ICE CLIMBING FESTIVAL February 17-19, 2023

The Valdez Ice Climbing Festival is an annual event supported by the American Alpine Club and Access Fund. It helps us support our mission which is to care for and build trails as well as provide outdoor rec education through clinics and workshops! Come Send it with us in 2023! More info here!

Nipigon Ice Fest March 2023

Canada’s longest running, premiere ice climbing festival features ice climbing clinics, presentations by outdoor adventurers, gear swap, fun games, and our legendary gear raffle.

Click here for information

Today, looking over Lake Superior, we have cold steel grey skies and snow is in the air. Our ice season is just around the corner but as we watch out west, it looks like many of our friends are already climbing ice and we are pretty happy for them. Soon our family will be getting together, ascending routes and sharing stories.  It has been awhile and honestly we can’t wait!

Ice Conditions Report 11-20-22 It Begins!

We’re back!  While our brothers and sisters in Cody, Bozeman, Ouray and Canmore have been swinging tools we are sitting here wondering when is our turn! The Michigan Ice Fest Guides have been chomping at the bit to get on some ice and today Brian Rjadl found some climbable ice in the western U.P.! While it is still very early, we are excited that the freeze has begun! All climbs in Munising are still not formed yet and hopefully soon with colder temperatures we will be getting closer. As always we will be posting the most up to date conditions so please keep checking back. Please be mind full that these formations are extremely delicate and knocking any pillars down at this point may take a long time to reform. BEFORE MAKING THE LONG DRIVE UP– please call Down Wind Sports for up to the minute conditions: 906-226-7112

At Michigan Ice we take pride in being your go to site for current ice climbing conditions for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as well as climbs throughout the Upper Peninsula. Planning a trip to Pictured Rocks? We have you covered for all the latest snow and ice conditions on all of your favorite climbs. We also offer a full guide service and are currently booking guided ice climbing trips for the 22/23 season! Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!

Mountain Book Programs

Come celebrate mountain literature where Michigan Ice Fest brings together writers/athletes and of course, our book loving participants! Our programming will take place Saturday Feb 11 at the Michigan Ice Fest Guides located at 112 Elm Munising. Come grab a snack and a cup of coffee and meet our featured authors!

Tim Banfield How to Climb Ice

Ice climbing continues to grow more popular every year. Advances in equipment and technique have helped make the sport accessible to a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts. How to Ice Climb! is the most complete and up-to-date reference available on the sport. Sean Isaac and Tim Banfield provide essential information for beginners and valuable tips for experts. Starting with an overview of the history of ice climbing, the authors move on to cover equipment selection, approach strategies, avalanche safety, hazard management, movement skills, anchor systems, overhanging ice, mixed climbing, and more. All facets of ice climbing are thoroughly examined and explained. Full color photos complement the text to make How to Ice Climb! the most complete resource available.

Ice climbing continues to grow more popular every year. Advances in equipment and technique have helped make the sport accessible to a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts. How to Ice Climb! is the most complete and up-to-date reference available on the sport. Sean Isaac and Tim Banfield provide essential information for beginners and valuable tips for experts. Starting with an overview of the history of ice climbing, the authors move on to cover equipment selection, approach strategies, avalanche safety, hazard management, movement skills, anchor systems, overhanging ice, mixed climbing, and more. All facets of ice climbing are thoroughly examined and explained. Full color photos complement the text to make How to Ice Climb! the most complete resource available.

Conrad Anker- The Call of Everest

Gripping and sumptuous, this is the definitive book on the history, mystique, and science of Mount Everest, including how climate change is impacting the world’s tallest mountain.    In 1963, the American Mount Everest Expedition made mountaineering history. It was the first American venture to successfully scale the legendary peak and the first successful climb up the hazardous West Ridge (a climb so difficult no one has yet repeated it). In 2012, adventurer Conrad Anker led a National Geographic/The North Face team up the mountain to enact a legacy climb. Environmental changes and overcrowding led to challenges and disappointments, but yet the mountain maintains its allure. Now, steely-eyed Anker leads a team of writers in a book designed to celebrate the world’s most famous mountain, to look back over the years of climbing triumphs and tragedies, and to spotlight what has changed–and what remains eternal–on Mount Everest. Telltale signs of Everest’s current state, never-before-published photography, and cutting-edge science expose the world’s tallest peak–its ancient meaning, its ever-present challenges, and its future in a world of disappearing ice.

James Mills- The Adventure Gap

“An important new book about a crucial challenge facing the conservation movement” — Spencer Black, vice president, Sierra Club -Chronicles the first all-African American summit attempt on Denali, the highest point in North America -Part adventure story, part history, and part argument for the importance of inspiring future generations to value nature The nation’s wild places–from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas–belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Mills addresses in his new book, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors. Bridging the so-called “adventure gap” requires role models who can inspire the uninitiated to experience and enjoy wild places. Once new visitors are there, a love affair often follows. This is important because as our country grows increasingly multicultural, our natural legacy will need the devotion of people of all races and ethnicities to steward its care. In 2013, the first all-African American team of climbers, sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), challenged themselves on North America’s highest point, the dangerous and forbidding Denali, in Alaska. Mills uses Expedition Denali and its team members’ adventures as a jumping-off point to explore how minority populations view their place in wild environments and to share the stories of those who have already achieved significant accomplishments in outdoor adventures–from Mathew Henson, a Black explorer who stood with Peary at the North Pole, to Kai Lightner, a teenage sport climber currently winning national competitions. The goal of the expedition, and now the book, is to inspire minority communities to look outdoors for experiences that will enrich their lives, and to encourage them toward greater environmental stewardship.

Barry Blanchard- The Calling

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 13 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 acquired 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 learned lessons that only nature and extreme endeavor can teach. This 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

What’s New- Skillzboard

The Michigan Ice Fest has always been a place where climbers can come and get a first look at the most innovative new climbing products on the market.

Here’s a look at the latest greatest gear in ice climbing and beyond for the 2023 season! Remember when you sign up for the Michigan Ice Fest you can get 20% off your purchases at Down Wind Sports at the event or pre event over at www.shopdownwindsports.com

Today we feature Skillzboard.

Skillzboard is a portable, modular plywood device that allows you to teach and/or practice a number of roped-climbing techniques, from anchor building and cleaning, to rappel methods, rescue techniques and big-wall tricks. You can set it up outside or inside, and it’s been tested to safely hold bodyweight. And you can clip your phone to it and watch an instructional video while you practice! 

What’s New! Karry Krab

WHAT’S NEW!

The Michigan Ice Fest has always been a place where climbers can come and get a first look at the most innovative new climbing products on the market.

Here’s a look at the latest greatest gear in ice climbing and beyond for the 2023 season! Remember when you sign up for the Michigan Ice Fest you can get 20% off your purchases at Down Wind Sports at the event or pre event over at www.shopdownwindsports.com

Today we feature Karry Krab. The KARRY KRAB is the world’s most compact, flexible gear clipper to organize ice screws on your climbing harness. Giving the climber the ability to comfortably put up to three KARRY KRABS on a single gear loop and adjust the position so it fits their individual climbing style. Offering maximum flexibility and quick access to your gear.