Information and Tips for the 2020 Michigan Ice Fest

We are STOKED for the 2020 Michigan Ice Fest!  Our goal is to make this as much fun as we can.  On this page you’ll find a ton of information and tips about the event and how to make the most of it.  Please read this information carefully.


Festival Sign In

When you arrive in Munising you will need to sign in at the event.  You can come to our headquarters and our friendly staff will get you all set for the weekend. You will get your official lanyard, which is your ticket into all things Ice Fest, as well as any updates to the schedule and any important information.

Our Headquarters

Our headquarters is located at the Central Community Center inside the old elementary school. This will be the center of the Ice Fest Universe.    You’ll get your demo gear here, meet athletes and reps, shop, and see some of the presentations.

You can see a map of the building here.


There is a lot going on during the weekend, both on and off the ice, and you don’t want to miss any of it.  There are schedules in the festival guide and at the headquarters.

The schedule is also available here

Demo Gear

If you paid for the demo you have access to our gear for the weekend.  If you did not pay the demo fee, the gear is not included in the $50 registration fee.  If you need gear and didn’t pay for the demo you can send us an email and we can add it to your registration.

Every morning after the classes get gear (See event schedule) we start checking out demo gear for the day.  You’ll go to our demo room where our staff will get you fit with the equipment you need.  The line can get quite long on Saturday and Sunday morning so showing up early and being patient goes a long way. You’ll be required to leave a credit card or drivers license in exchange for the gear.  We have a limited number of helmets and harnesses so if you have your own we encourage you to bring it as we will certainly run out of these.  If you don’t have these two critical pieces of gear, it may be a good idea to purchase one.  They are discounted at our headquarters to make it more affordable.

To speed up the demo process and get you more time on the ice we’ve made a few videos to ensure you get everything set before you head out into the cold. Please watch our videos on how to fit your boots and how to fit your crampons.

All demo gear must be returned by 6PM every evening. No exceptions.

Other Gear to Bring

There are some other basics that we don’t provide that will make your class much more enjoyable.  We recommend bringing:

  • Good Attitude – It goes a long way, in both climbing and life
  • Warm Clothes – Dress in layers and how you would usually dress for all day outside.
  • Extra gloves – Thin gloves to climb in and thicker gloves to not climb in. You can never have enough gloves
  • Snacks and Hot Drinks – Keep your energy up and your belly full
  • Camera – This will be an experience you’ll never forget and you’ll want pictures.
  • Backpack  – It’s always nice to have something to carry your gear
  • Skis or snowshoes are really helpful when accessing backcountry climbs


Don’t worry if you don’t have all the gear you want, or if you fall in love with the gear you demo.  Down Wind Sports will have a store setup at Headquarters where they will have all the gear you need and even more that you want, and best of all, everything will be on sale!


We will have a shuttle that runs continuous loops from the headquarters to Sand Point. This is the best way to get around as there is NO PARKING AT SAND POINT. If you are planning on going somewhere other than Sand Point driving is your best option.

Backcountry shuttles may be available to the Miner’s Castle area. Please inquire at headquarters.

 Where to climb

Ice fest is a busy time at Pictured Rocks.  Really busy. But that doesn’t mean that there is no ice to climb.  The popular and easily accessed climbs see huge crowds,  but climbers are friendly and this is Ice Fest so we get the best people in the world attending, share your ropes, share your climbs, share your festival.  We’re a family, let’s make everyones experience a great one.

If you’re looking for a little more solitude and are willing to work for it, grab an Ice Fest staff member.  We can point you in the direction of climbs that receive only a handful of ascents a year.

If you have any questions please feel free to email or call us.  Your experience is our highest priority.

East Channel Brewery Street Party Friday Night!



Friday night after the presentations join us for a good ole street party fun- this is definitely a celebration you won’t want to miss! What street?  Maple Street right in front of Munising’s finest brewery, the East Channel Brewery which offers a variety of unique brewed beers “made with water from the freshest lake in the world!”

“Located in beautiful Munising, Michigan, East Channel Brewing Company was founded in 2016. We aim to provide tasty brews and a friendly atmosphere. So if you’re in town checking out all Munising has to offer, stop in for a pint and some good company. We’ll be happy to have ya. Cheers!”



NEW! RAB To Send Ryan Vachon to this years Fest!

Ryan Vachon excels on the steep, physical ice and mixed climbs found around his home in Boulder, Colorado. As a climate scientist he has more than a passing interest in the medium, but is far from being exclusively an ice climber.

Ryan had his first taste of climbing in the late 1980s scrambling around in a far corner of Massachusetts on the sharp end of his mother’s old clothesline. After his uncle, an old-school Outward Bound character, upgraded his rope to a goldline (notoriously hard to use and very stretchy), regular trips to the trad climbing heaven of Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire became a part of life.

Although a strong interest in mountain bike racing developed, steep ice and granite were never far away, with classics such as The Black Dyke (NEI5-) and Beast 666 (5.11+) climbed and an expedition to Bolivia. However it was only after moving to Colorado to do postgraduate work that the climbing really took off. Spending two weeks at high altitude in Peru, drilling ice core for climate research, proved a seminal moment in Ryan’s relationship with mountains.

“No better way to bond with great people than to get stuck into science on the top of beautiful mountains.”

In 2012 he had another epiphany visiting Vail’s super steep mixed routes for the first time. Since then he has truly mastered this style and embraced Jeff Mercier‘s DTS philosophy

Notable Ascents:

  • Jedi Mind Tricks, (M13), Canyon City – Second spurless ascent
  • Redbeard (M11+), Vail – First traditionally protected ascent of a route of the grade (final ice was missing)
  • Circling Sharks (M8+ 200m), Rocky Mountain National Park – First ascent
  • Californication (5.13-), Little Si, WA
  • StratoFortress (in reverse) (M13), Vail – Flash, French DTS
  • Mustang (M14-), Vail – French DTS

Ice Conditions Report and Weather Forecast For Ice Fest!

Another great weekend of climbing with once again warmer than usual temperatures. The seeps are still holding their own with many of them being a tad bit wet.  True waterfall are still not formed but…….colder temperatures this week just might do the trick for getting them to solidify by the time ice fest rolls around!  Lots of information will be coming down the pipe so stay tuned!


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. Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!

When in Town Look Around-Munising Eats!



Our home for the Michigan Ice Festival has always been Munising, a quaint town nestled on the southern shore of Lake Superior.  The town features several unique shops offering climbers and their families a taste of good ole middle America.  Lots of businesses are strong supporters of our event, so after your climb stop in and say hello and thank them for helping to make Munising and the Ice Fest so special!


Munising Visitors Bureau

Munising is located in Alger Country, one of the most scenic areas in Michigan. Our area offers unique attractions year-round. Spring and summer activities include camping, backpacking, golf, boating, sandy beaches, and inland lake activities. Attractions abound in the UP, with Pictured Rocks, Horseshoe Falls, Hiawatha National Forest, and many more! In the fall you can enjoy the spectacular view while Michigan’s forests turn colors; millions of bright red, orange, and yellow leaves will take your breath away. In the winter enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing, and skiing. We invite you to join us in the middle of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a fun, friendly, good time. Looking for information on the area?  This is your spot to find it!

Other activities to enjoy while you’re in town Nordic Skiing Valley Spur, a favorite Alger County destination is located on M-94 approximately 5 miles from
Munising in the Hiawatha National Forest. The 45 km cross country ski trail system is groomed daily or as the need arises from December through March so that the trails are always ready. All trails are groomed for both skate and classic skiing.
Snowshoeing Winter at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore brings solitude and beauty to the north woods. The benefits of snowshoeing are many, including the opportunity to see nature in a relatively deserted environment. With dozens of waterfalls and towering cliffs, Pictured Rocks is a snowshoer’s paradise.


Gallery Coffee Company

When you pull into Munising this winter don’t be surprised if you smell the sweet smell of of fresh coffee brewing!  The Gallery Coffee company,conveniently located near Down Wind Sports, is a full renovation of 8000 square feet of amazing commercial space in downtown Munising, re-imagined as a large format photo gallery, music venue and local roasting cafe. Restored original hardwood floors, restored original tin ceilings – and new, modern touches. The Coffee/Photo gallery will be featuring well known photographers from across the Great Lakes region as well as the Michigan Ice Fest visiting artist.


Taco Primo

Family and community are an essential part of life in munising & at “Taco Primo”. We are proud of the diversity of our staff and the depth of experiences and perspectives each person brings to Taco Primo. Our goal is to accommodate every guest by offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free “Authentic Mexican” food choices. We also offer “Rez-Mex” Middle Eastern and American Mexican menu items. You must try our homemade “FRIED ICE CREAM” and our homemade “BREAKFAST BURRITOS”!!! We have Mexican soda and we offer a “little AMIGOS” menu to!!! We pride ourselves on our fast friendly service. Open 11am-7pm during Ice Fest!



A name that pays tribute to a close friendship between Tom & Stephen Tracey- “Tracey’s” focuses on local farm-to-table ingredients. Our service and presentation-to-table are very well executed. We look forward to serving you at this ‘unique’ fine dining establishment!



Eh! Burger

It is a chef hand-crafted quick casual restaurant in Munising MI serving burgers and fresh whitefish and is one of our go to post climbing spots!


The Falling Rock Cafe

The Falling Rock Cafe is a locally owned cafe with over 30,000 new and used books in house. There is  free Wi-Fi   Internet in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere complete with homemade food and the best dang coffee in town!  Be sure to check in with the cafe as they occasionally have live music.


East Channel Brewing Company

East Channel Brewing Company was founded in 2016. We aim to provide tasty brews and a friendly atmosphere. So if you’re in town checking out all Munising has to offer, stop in for a pint and some good company. We’ll be happy to have ya. Cheers!


Shooters Brew Pub

Located in the heart of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Shooters Firehouse Brewpub, they offer a great selection of beers.


Please patronize and thank these local food establishments that have been most generous in sponsorship of our Ice Fest enabling us to provide the best Ice Fest ever!


Ice Conditions Report 1-27-20

Well, it was another busy weekend with a mixed bag of weather. Saturday saw heavy wet snow making for extremely wet conditions. Sunday was colder, around 32 degrees and which made for more pleasant climbing conditions.

We are getting a lot of inquires on the status of Grand Island. The lake ice is begginnig to form but it is no where near safe enough to travel on. Will it be ready for Ice Fest? That remains to be seen, we will need some cold days and nights to happen.

The West Shore climbs are just begging to be climbed! It looks like we will need to cross at the public launch and access these climbs from the top once the lake ice comes in.

The Ampitheater

Once again despite the warmer weather the front country climbs are holding their own but the top outs are very thin! Caution should be taken when climbing the pillars and if you are leading any of these climbs.

No Boundaries

The Dryer Hose


Dairyland PC Joe Kozikowski

Thankfully we have a nice forcast with overnight temps dropping down to 10 degrees so maybe just maybe we can get some ore of that lake ice to freeze!

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. Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!

Ice Conditions Report 1-20-20

Holy Wah a lot of climbers were up for the holiday weekend!  Great to see some old friends coming up for some pre Ice Fest laps on some old classics.  As a friendly reminder – if you would like to get away from the crowds be sure to pick up a copy of An Ice Climbers Guide to the Upper Peninsula, which is a comprehensive guide to all of the climbs in and around Munising.  Many of these climbs were untouched over the weekend and are begging for folks to climb them!

Visiting climbers found the best conditions of the season so far with all formations in except for some of the true waterfalls which are close but not yet climbable.

The Dryer Hose


The Ampitheater PC John Miller

Nic Dobbs and David Hixenbaugh of the Michigan Ice Fest Guides, did a bit of exploring in the backcountry and found a mixed bag of climbs that were in and some that were not. If you are checking out the back country climbs along the lakeshore trail, there is a boot packed trail out to Dairyland.  Over the weekend Munising recieved around 10 inches of snow so if you are heading out to the climbs along Miners Castle Road or out to HMR you will need skis! Here is what the guides found out the Lakeshore Trail

*Giddy Up- Not in

*The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was in but thin and delicate.

*Midnight Rambler – In

*Suck it Up- Not in

*Dairyland- Lots of snow on top over a thick crust of ice.  They found the conditions too wet to climb but Sunday saw an ascent of the formation and it was reported as “intense”.

Sweet Mother Moses PC John Miller


The Good, The Bad, The Ugly PC Nic Dobbs


The top of Dairyland PC Nic Dobbs

While the forecast for the upcoming week is not setting any records for being cold, it looks like we will maintain what ice we have and it should be another great week of climbing!  The Michigan Ice Fest Guides does offer a wide array of climbing gear for rent during the ice season. With gear from Black Diamond, Petzl, CAMP, La Sportiva, LOWA and many other great brands, we have what the gear you need to enjoy a day on the ice with friends.

If you have the skills and experience and are only lacking the gear, this a great way to get out. You can reserve any gear here.

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.  Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!



Demo Details!

New for the 2020 Ice Fest we are adding a FREE Demo Wall for the kids!

What better way to introduce children to the life sport of climbing! Join us at the free walk up climbing area where kids can try ice climbing in a safe and super fun environment! (Start them young and you will have a climbing partner for life!) Kids will get their gear OUT AT THE DEMO SITE!

*Event registration is required but gear demo is not

*Ages 8-14 years old

*Parent is required while child is climbing

*Hours 10am-3pm

*Location at the Curtain Area (look for the sign!)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday


ADULTS- you will also be able to try out the latest gear from our incredible sponsors!  Depending on ice conditions our guides will pre set 12-15 ropes for climber to come out and test the gear and their skills. To check out demo gear you do have to pay the demo fee when you register for Ice Fest. To check out demo gear at headquarters,  you do have to pay the demo fee when you register for Ice Fest.

You will also have the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best climbers as they will be on-hand to provide tips and advice.

*If you have your own helmet and harness, bring them if you want to avoid having to waiting.

*Please do not set personal ropes up on the Curtains. If you are looking for a place to climb please ask one of our staff for the beta

*Please don’t go to the top of the climbs to take photos

*Be sure to grab a hot drink from YETI before you hit the shuttle to the demo!

There will be a protected area roped off.  We ask that climbers and belayers be in this area only. Helmets must be worn while climbing or belaying in the roped off area!!!

The Curtains along Sand Point Road in Munising

Friday  ::  10am – 4pm
Saturday  ::  10am – 4pm
Sunday     ::  10am – 3pm