Big City Mountaineers / Michigan Ice Fest

In 2020 the Michigan Ice Fest partnered with Big City Mountaineers to pilot a program that enabled students from dis-invested communities in Minneapolis to experience the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and try ice climbing.

We feel it is an ethical imperative to work toward making our sport, and our community, open to anyone who wants to join. No exceptions. Many groups are underrepresented in our sport and we’d like to work to remove the barriers to their representation and participation. We are excited to continue this partnership with Big City Mountaineers again for the 2021 Ice Fest!

Big City Mountaineers (BCM) is a national non-profit organization based in Golden Colorado that for over thirty years has partnered with local youth development organizations and schools to facilitate a variety of outdoor and backcountry based programs for students from dis-invested communities. BCM is focused on providing experiences that are culturally relevant and foster a connection to the outdoors.

During the summer students participate on weeklong backpacking and canoeing courses. During the fall, winter, spring students participate in weekend campouts and day programs. Combined these year round activities provide introductory opportunities that culminate in a 7-day wilderness trip as well follow-up opportunities for students to step into leadership roles and take on additional responsibilities. Regardless of the season BCM programs are opportunities to learn technical outdoor skills and uncover, discover, and enhance one’s own interpersonal skills.

All programs are fully outfitted with quality outdoor equipment and lead by professional instructors. Staff from participating organizations and volunteer mentors round out each program’s adult team.

Thanks to individual donors, corporate sponsors, and philanthropic foundations there is no cost to students to participate in a BCM program.

Due to Covid-19 BCM cancelled all programming during the 2020 summer season. As they develop new Covid-19 policies and guidelines ahead of the 2021 season BCM has engaged students virtually through a number of different programs and offerings. Folks interested in learning more or getting involved with Big City Mountaineers can visit email them at