Ice Conditions Report 1-30-23 Finally Someone Turned Off The Heat!

Emily Gantner at Miners Falls. PC Erik Olsen

Well, we finally got the cold spell everyone has been hoping for and just in time for Ice Fest- better late then never! We are only a few days into it but we are already seeing great progress in the formation of our pillars.

Front Country

The front country has been seeing a lot of action on the weekends and some of the Sand Point Road classics are just now beginning to fill in. No Boundaries, The Dryer Hose, The Curtains, Prelude Curtain are all growing and should be bigger by next weekend. Our guess is most climbable formations will be in by next weekend!

Back Country

Looks like area legend and Pictured Rocks pioneer Paul Kuenn was out exploring the back country and found a few newly formed pillars. He also reported Dairyland is almost formed with the main sheet of ice being five feet from touching down. Pillars continue to grow but not all are in yet.

Reports from the backcountry of climbs that are in include AGF, Bridalveil, The Rim, Rappin Ice, HMR, On The Rocks, and After Midnight. Giddy Up was reported that it was not climbable this past weekend.

Our forecast heading towards Ice Fest week is looking very promising. Cold temperatures and fresh snow are on the way and should be exactly what we need to get the back country pillars in shape to climb.

If you are heading up this way and you forgot your long undies or that ratty belay parka is not cutting it, be sure to stop by Down Wind Sports in Munising to pick up any last minute items, gear rentals or beta!

Please be mind full that this season, formations are extremely delicate and knocking any pillars down at this point may take a month to reform.

Weather and ice conditions can change hourly and what may appear to be “good conditions” to one climber may not be so to another. Please remember that just because a conditions report says that a particular climb is “in”, each individual is ultimately responsible for making his/her own climbing decisions.

Sterling Rope- The Official Rope Sponsor of the Michigan Ice Fest!

We really could not organize the Ice Fest without Gold Sponsor Sterling Ropes.  Once again Sterling has set the Ice Fest up with a whole new fleet of ropes for the demo and our classes!  We are so stoked to be supported by such a great company with a strong history of ice climbing. Be sure to stop by the Sterling booth where you can visit with Kevin Lindlau & Dave Egan and maybe even pick up a new Sterling Rope for yourself!

Big Agnes Warming Tent!

If you have ever been to Ice Fest you know waiting for the bus at the end of Sand Point Road can be brutal! Cold winds blowing in across Lake Superior will chill even the hardiest Yooper. Don’t worry, back again for another Fest will be Big Agnes which is planning on keeping everyone comfortable at the fest this year.  Their basecamp will be located at the Sand Point Parking lot, so stop by and take the edge off the cold as you wait for the shuttle or prepare for your next climb!

Michigan Ice Fest 2023 Photo Contest!

Over the past 31 years we have seen some incredible photos of Ice Fest and
the climbing at Pictured Rocks. We started a photo contest 2016 and have
been blown away by creativity of our Ice Fest family. We’re stoked to see
what everyone comes up with this year!
Here’s how it works:
1. During the weekend of Ice Fest (February 8th -12th) snap some photos. Photos
of climbing, socials, approaches, whatever as long as you feel it represents your
Ice Fest experience.
2. Post your photos to social media (Facebook or Instagram) with the hashtag
#michiganicefest2023. You can enter as many times as you want. Please make
sure your privacy settings allow us to see your photos. If we can’t see them, you
can’t win.
3. When the event is over, all of the photos tagged with #michiganicefest2023
will be judged by a panel of Ice Fest staff. Photos will be judged based on some
seriously strict criteria like exposure, composition, creativity, and coolness.
4. The panel’s ten favorite photos will be shared on the Michigan Ice Fest Facebook
page and the photo with the most likes at the end of one week will be the winner.
You must attend the Ice Fest to be eligible and photos need to be taken during
the event.
Pretty easy. It doesn’t cost you a dime and we know you’re posting all of your sweet Ice
Fest shots anyway, so you might as well try and win something. The prize will include a
registration for the 2024 Michigan Ice Fest and a class of your choice at next year’s event.
On top of this already stellar prize, we are throwing in some gear and clothing from our
event sponsors. So, when you get to Munising make sure you pull out your phone or
camera and take your best shot at winning the Michigan Ice Fest 2023 photo contest

Ice Conditions Report 1-23-23

Finally, a weather forecast we can celebrate! Looks like overnight temps will be favorable to building ice all week. Many of your favorite pillars have formed this past week but still remain thin and potentially unstable. That may just change by the weekend!

Over in Marquette the Ice Fest Organizers got in some laps at the Wolf’s Den before the Michigan Ice Fest Volunteer meeting. Due to heavy wet snow the standard line was pretty think and the mixed line had the most ice in it that we have seen in a long time.

Ice conditions continue to improve in the park with Three Sisters, a Swamp Thing, now touching down having steep difficult climbing. The Dryer Hose is formed but is open near the top. Folks should stay off it this week as it is fragile so that it has a chance to form up nice and solid for this weekend.

The Dryer Hose

We have been getting many inquiries about access to Grand Island. Unfortunately, the lake ice has not begun to form yet so there is no access to the climbing out on the island for the unforeseeable future. Hard to look across that water at the amazing climbing and not be able to get to it. Hopefully with this cold spell we will start to see some lake ice and be able to hit the island later in the season.

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) 387-8020

Weather and ice conditions can change hourly and what may appear to be “good conditions” to one climber may not be so to another. Please remember that just because a conditions report says that a particular climb is “in”, each individual is ultimately responsible for making his/her own climbing decisions.

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!

Polaris Joins The Michigan Ice Fest!

In an effort to be more efficient getting our backcountry classes out into the park we are very excited to announce that we have teamed up with Polaris, the global industry leader in powersports. 

This year in an effort to become more environmentally sustainable, our back country shuttle will be electric! The Polaris RANGER XP KINETIC PREMIUM, with range up to 80 miles, convenient charging from a 120V outlet, and less scheduled maintenance than a similar gas-powered vehicle, will give us the power to do more!

We are stoked that Polaris will be joining the Michigan Ice Fest Team this year helping us to become more responsible in the world that we play in. be sure to check out all of their vehicles at the backcountry shuttle or at the Michigan Ice Fest headquarters


Polaris Adventures

Polaris Adventures is the adventure arm of the Polaris brand you know and love.  By partnering with a select network of Outfitters nationwide, Polaris Adventures provides on and off-road a safe and memorable outdoor adventures for guests of all skill levels. All outfitters feature unparalleled rental experiences – either guided or unguided and best-in-class vehicles, all at the top travel destinations near and far.

Hop on the Bus- Ice Fest Shuttle is the way to go!

Over the years the festival has grown, so to help alleviate the parking problem along Sand
Point Road, the National Park Service has asked the Festival to offer a free shuttle to and from the demo area and the Sand Point Road parking area. The buses depart from the Central Community Center, stopping at The Curtains (demo area) and the Sand Point Road parking area. Please help us out by utilizing this free service. New this year vehicles will need a park pass if you intend on parking at Sand Point Road.

Wednesday- Saturday 8:00am-5:00pm   Sunday  8:00am-4:00pm


Please hop on the bus as there is VERY LIMITED parking at Sand Point Road and new this year each vehicle will need a park pass!

* Entrance fee beginning January 1, 2023:

Seven-day vehicle pass: $20.00
Buy Your Digital Pass on

Whether you’re planning a single visit or coming back multiple times a year, enjoy the convenience of purchasing a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore digital pass on before you arrive.

Ice Fest Headquarters 2023

During Ice Fest our headquarters is the ultimate “toy shop” that any climber could dream of. From clothing to gear if it is made for ice climbing, you’ll find it here!   All of the leading manufacturers will have booths set up displaying and selling the latest and greatest gear with sales representatives on hand to answer any questions you might have. And that’s not even the best part! As a participant at the Michigan Ice Fest you are entitled to a 20% discount on all purchases made during the festival.

From now until Ice Fest we will be giving you a sneak peak on a small sampling of what you can expect to find in the sponsor booths!