Big City Mountaineers / Michigan Ice Fest

For the 2020 Michigan Ice Fest created a pilot program to bring inner city youth from the Midwest to experience the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and to learn the sport of ice climbing.

We feel it is an ethical imperative to keep 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. We are excited to announce a partnership with Big City Mountaineers again for the 2021 Ice Fest!


Big City Mountaineers is a national non-profit organization that provides transformative wilderness experiences for under resourced youth across the country. Based in Golden CO Big City Mountaineers (BCM) has hubs in six states including Minnesota where during the summer months Midwest teens participate on weeklong expeditions into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. While on trail students learn skills and lessons that are aimed at helping them succeed both on trail and in life once they return to their home communities. BCM’s commitment to providing wilderness opportunities to teens who may not otherwise have the opportunity started over thirty years ago when founder Jim Kern took his son and an interested teen from their hometown Boys and Girls club into the Montana backcountry. Since then BCM has continued to partner with local youth serving agencies and organizations in the communities where they operate and still strives to have a one to one adult participant ratio on trips. This includes a BCM instructor, agency staff, and volunteer mentors from the community.

Thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and foundations BCM participants don’t pay a dime. While partnering organizations are asked to pay a nominal registration fee the cost of the trip is never a roadblock to participating. Folks interested in getting involved with Big City Mountaineers can visit or keep an eye out for them this week at events around the Ice Fest!