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.

Ice Conditions Report 1-10-23

The Curtains Pc John Miller

Not to sound like a broken record but not much has changed in the last week as the Upper Peninsula is still experiencing warmer than normal temperatures. We have received snow which is good as we need the snow to melt a bit during the day and then freeze over night to build up the ice formations, and more importantly to form the ice pillars that Munising is so famous for.

Lets start with the good news! HMR was climbed by Michigan Ice Fest Guides Colton Harris and Tyler Davis a few days ago and they reported great ice and that it was fat! There are climbs in the back country to be found and like the front country, if the are seeps, they are climbable.

The front country is pretty much the same as it was last week. Seeps are the only thing climbable right now and they include Prelude Curtains, Opening Curtains, Boomer Falls, 2 lines at The Curtains, Drake Seep, The School Room, Big Pine Pillar, and Lakeshore Curtains.

Also as a reminder there is other great ice climbing in the U.P. including a few climbs in Marquette and quite a few places in the Keweenaw Peninsula. These locations can be found in the guide book, An Ice Climbers Guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Most of the climbs outside of Munising tend to be seeps, which are what is in, and are certainly fun to climb in a beautiful wilderness setting.

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!

Ice Conditions Report- 12-26-22

Well Santa delivered the good to the Upper Peninsula this past weekend! Munising received over 30 inches of snow during the weekend blizzard. While this sets us up for an amazing winter, the blowing snow has created severe drifting. That means if you are coming up this week you will have to plan accordingly as trails have not been packed in to most of the backcountry climbs.

The other good news is that we have had our first stretch of colder temperatures and the pillars are starting to touch down! Low flow climbs such as the Dryer Hose are in but it will take a bit more time for the higher flow pillars like Giddy Up to be climbable. The traditional seeps along Sand Point Road are coming along nicely but still relatively thin.

Because Michael Ganley wants to know, The Dryer Hose has formed and has seen a few ascents this week. This is good news as the backcountry pillars that are similar to the Hose but taller can’t be far behind!

Dryer Hose 12-26-22 PC John Miller
Colton Harris on the sharp end. Dryer Hose 12-25-22

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

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!

Ice Conditions Report 12-19-22 Game On!

Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus! Finally the cold temperatures we have all been waiting for are finally here. The weeklong forecast looks amazing and seeps and pillars are sure to freeze up and grow this week! Yesterday Pictured Rocks saw the first action of the season on climbs other than HMR.

Right now there are a mixed bag of front country and back country climbs available to swing some tools into. Seeps are coming in and are the best bet for climbable ice next weekend. Pillars are still not safe to climb yet but that may change by the holiday weekend. (Sweet Mother Moses was not touching down yesterday). Please use extreme caution on any pillars- let them go, let them grow! While most seeps are thin, a few that froze up enough to climb included The School Room, Lake Shore Curtains and climbers left of Bridal Veil Falls.

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

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!

Ice Conditions Report 12-5-22

Michigan Ice Fest Guides Brian Rajdl and Luke Baker found the ice in the Keweenaw is still in and climbable! It certainly has us in Marquette and Munising a bit jealous as winter still hasn’t fully descended upon this part of the Upper Peninsula.

The good news is that the weather forecast for this week is promising for making ice. From the folks at TV 6 Weather:

Breezy conditions and snow skies are sticking around for some of our central and eastern counties this afternoon. Chances of snow are shaping up to be on and off throughout the next few days. Moderate snow is planned for Monday and is shaping up to be a slight mix in some areas which could lead to slick roads. The other thing to keep in mind is that temperatures are looking to be mostly below average for the next few days so be sure to bundle up on the colder days.

We will cross our fingers for some potential ice in Munising and we will keep everyone updated on its progress next weekend. On a side note while we patiently wait for the ice to form don’t forget Michigan Ice Fest staff will be in Madison Heights Michigan for the Planet Rock goes cold this coming Saturday night! Hope to see our lower Michigan Friends!

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!

Somethings Never Change

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Aaron Peterson of Clear & Cold Cinema, was asking the other day for some vintage photos of ice climbing in Munising.  I started digging through the boxes of photos and found a few of my climbing partner and Ice Fest fixture Arni Ronis.  Pretty stoked to see some of these as it brought back lots of good memories of exploring in the “olden days” in and around Munising.  I looked at the photos a bit closer and I’ll be damn- some things have changed, and obviously some things have not.  First of all the thing that stuck out the most is that Arni is greyer and heavier.  What might not be so obvious is that what hasn’t changed is that damn 1980’s orange helmet.

Let’s play a game. Which is older, Arni’s helmet or?

 

  1. The internet
  2. Milli Vanilli’s Grammy award
  3. Nintendo’s Gameboy
  4. The year the first GPS Satellite went into orbit
  5. Selena Gomez
  6. The year Chouinard Equipment became Black Diamond Equipment

If you answered Arni’s helmet to all of the above you are correct! Feeling quite sorry for the old dude, I put a the notice out “can any of you help a brother out?” Low and behold our title sponsor Black Diamond has come to the rescue and are hooking Arni up with a new lid.   So if you see Arni running around the demo site, be sure to compliment him on his equipment upgrade. This new lid should last him until 2046!

Featured Presentations To Be Held In The Beautiful Mather Auditorium

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With all of the changes happening with this years Ice Fest we thought we would give you a look at our new facility- The Mather Auditorium, which will host our feature presentations Thursday-Saturday evening.  The auditorium is a historical old theater with classic wooden seats, an overhanging balcony and raised stage.  An area leader, William Mather, is whom the auditorium is named for, and is where we now host our shows.

William G. Mather was an American industrialist. Mather who was born in Ohio, headed the Cleveland Cliff Iron Company for 50 years from 1890 through 1940. During his tenure he consolidated several mining operations and diversified into iron-ore industries and steel operations.

The Mather Elementary School was built in his honor, in 1921 and included a classic auditorium with a raised stage and theater style seating.  In 2001/2002 the auditorium was completely renovated and a state of the art sound and lighting were introduced.  With over 700 seats, and a sixty foot screen, the auditorium will provide the perfect setting for our featured slideshows.  Gone are the days struggling to see a small screen in a hot, overcrowded, and loud room!

Michigan Ice Fest 2015 Recap

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The 2015 Michigan Ice Fest is in the books and 492 participants ascended on Munising Michigan for what was the largest gathering of ice climbers in the Midwest ever!  Climbers from 13 different states, and two different countries were represented this year with participants coming to enjoy the camaraderie of Midwest climbers and the chance to climb the beautiful ice formations at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island!

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THURSDAY

The festival got underway on Thursday with Introduction to Ice Courses, and a Top Rope Anchor Course where participants spent the day learning the tricks of the trade out at The Curtains. Many folks new to the Fest were excited to get out on the ice and a chance to climb the vertical pillars that are so common in the park.  Other early arrivers jumped at the chance to get out on the Lakeshore Trail and take advantage of the great ice conditions.   Sunny and mild temperatures made for an enjoyable day of cragging!

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Thursday night with a cold brew in hand, climbers were treated to a collection of slides submitted by Ice Fest participants and set to music, during the third annual  “Participants Slide Show: Beers with Bill III”.  After the show many hung around Sydney’s hatching plans for an early morning departure and dreams of climbing the big routes along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

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FRIDAY

Waking up early Friday morning with temps hovering around 20 degrees, climbers hit the trails in search of ice.  Several groups headed out the Lakeshore Trail, and others walking, skiing or snowmobiling out to Grand Island  The fest also saw an increase in demos as many took advantage to check out gear and climb in small groups throughout the park.  Introduction to Ice Courses, a Women’s Into to Ice, a Top Rope Anchor Course as well as a Rigging and Rescue course were filled to capacity and went out for a day of instruction and climbing.

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Friday evenings programs started off with a climbing social and free beer sponsored by Salewa.  Exciting news of a new guidebook coming to the Canadian side of Lake Superior and a short slide show on climbs in the Agawa Canyon area started off the evening’s festivities.  The first presenter originally from Marquette, was Ben Erdmann and now a proud climbing bum.  Fresh off the mountains of Patagonia, Ben entertained the crowd with shots of his adventures.  We are so proud of Ben and what he has accomplished in his climbing career!

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We are so happy that Title Sponsor La Sportiva sent Will Mayo out for a second straight year to instruct and present.  For the last few years Will has been literally on fire putting up and climbing some of the hardest mixed routes in North America.  Friday evenings presentation was highlighted by Will’s trip to Alaska with Josh Wharton – the two completed a new route on Huntington, Scorched Granite (4,200′, M7 AI6), just two days after leaving home in Colorado!

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The rest of the evening you could find people browsing the booths of  Mountaineer Bob, The Access Fund /American Alpine Club, socializing with other climbers from around the country, introducing themselves to the athletes and reps,  and heading over to the Down Wind Sports booth looking to score a few deals!

 

SATURDAY

As usual we got the ball rolling early with equipment hand out for Ice Fest Courses.  One of the unique aspects of the Ice Fest is the opportunity of taking a course from one the  most accomplished climbers in the country.  Sent to the festival from one of our Gold Level sponsors, these athletes work with our participants to give them the tools to be successful.  Talented, patient, funny and some of the nicest guys in the industry- these climbers are what make Michigan Ice Fest so darn fun!  Two Intro to Ice, Lead climbing, Women’s Intro to Ice and the Kids courses all filled up fast and participants were treated to instruction provided by Will Mayo, Mark Wilford, Ben Erdmann, Anna Pfaff, Raphael Slawinski, and Barry Blanchard.  Again this year, our Gold Sponsor Fits Socks hooked up course participants with brand new socks to keep their feet warm during classes!  Thanks Fits for joining us again this year!

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DEMOS

Year after year the leading manufactures of ice climbing gear and clothing step up to the plate and send loads of demo gear to our festival for participants to “try before buying”.  We really appreciate the effort and the amount of gear these companies send to help ensure that the demo is a success and that we are able to outfit many first time climbers.  Besides our long time sponsors of the demo- Sterling Ropes, Black Diamond, Petzl, Scarpa, Salewa, Asolo, Camp, Cassin, Grivel- Liberty Mountain, Patagonia, Hopp Outdoors, University of Minnesota, and the Ridge Roamers.  Saturday morning saw long lines of participants winding through Sydney’s waiting to score their gear.  It was close but we outfitted nearly 275 participants with the latest ice gear!  We thank everyone for their patience and we are working to secure more demo gear for next years event.

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Gold Level sponsors Black Diamond and Patagonia graciously supplied their Stance Belay Parkas to the Michigan Ice Fest participants to keep the participants warm and happy throughout the weekend.

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The Demo area at The Curtains saw lots of first time ice climbers learning the basics on some of the many routes that were set up.  Mild temperatures and a light snowfall greeted the participants but determination and grit got most climbers to top out on their first climbs.  Hundreds of climbers were challenged throughout the day with a variety of difficult climbs set up, and excitement filled the air as climbers celebrated their success.

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After a long day of climbing, everyone converged upon Sydney’s for the Saturday evening social and free beer provided by Dry Ice Tools.  During the shows we introduced Leigha as the 2015 Sue Nott Scholarship winner.  Down Wind Sports has created the Sue Nott Scholarship with the purpose to promote, inspire, and introduce young females to the sport of ice climbing. Girls had to submit a letter of why they wanted to participate, a letter of recommendation from someone other then their parents, and their report card.  Leigha was selected from the applications and was provided with free entry into the fest and the Women’s Intro To Ice Course.   It is always one of our favorite parts of the whole weekend- way to Leigha!

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With a standing room only crowd, our first presentation of the evening was from Cold Clear Cinema on a new film project called Michigan Ice. Producer Aaron Peterson premiered the trailer and answered questions on the film.  Be sure to make it to the 2016 Michigan Ice Fest as we will have the world premiere of this beautiful film!
 
 
 
 
Raphael Slawinski followed with a wonderful show highlighting the spectacular climbing in the Canadian Rockies as well as his amazing climb of K6 in Pakastan.  A plethora of amazing ice and mixed routes filled the screen as Raphael described various routes he has established and climbed over the years.   A huge thank you goes out to our Title Sponsor Black Diamond for hooking us up with a class act like Raphael.
 
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Our final presentation of the night was from Ice Fest favorite Barry Blanchard.  One of North America’s top alpinists, Barry read excerpts from his new book The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains.  Entertaining, funny, and poetic, Barry never disappoints delivering a great show.  Questions and a book signing followed this amazing show.

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As usual the evening concluded with the Michigan Ice Fest raffle where we gave out over $6000.00 of gear and clothing to some very excited climbers.  Soft shells, belay parkas,  Sterling Ropes, Cassin crampons, Mountain Hardwear parkas, Patagonia packs and jackets, GoPro, Petzl Nomics and La Sportiva ice boots were only a few of the items raffled off!

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SUNDAY

More mild temps greeted our Intro to Ice  and Intro to Leading participants which made for comfortable classes all day long.  The effects of climbing hard all day Saturday and a late night of socializing must have took it toll on climbers as the demo area was a very laid back all day Sunday allowing climbers their choice of routes for most of the day.

 

All in all it was another great Michigan Ice Festival and we appreciate all of the patronage we get from Midwest climbers.  We are proud to say that over the weekend we were able to sign up 34 new members to the American Alpine Club, and the Access Fund  and exposed hundreds of first time climbers to the sport of ice climbing.

As you look back on your Ice Fest experience we ask you to think about the companies and organizations that you saw this weekend- and if you liked what you saw or tried during the weekend we encourage you to buy local.  Buying local in the Midwest supports the Reps that came, and in turn helps to keep the Michigan Ice Fest alive and healthy.  Having remorse for not buying those mountain boots?  Down Wind Sports is still offering the Ice Fest discount for the next week.  Give them a call at 906-226-7112.

We also want to thank all those who volunteered their time, energy, and hard work throughout the weekend.  Without these folks Ice Fest would simply not happen.  A big shout out to  Maddog Lynch, Mario Molin, Linda Wappner, Bryan DeAgustine,  Neil Poglese, the Schneiderhan’s, Ian Hahn, Colten Morre, Alec Berghoef

 

The reason our event is so successful is because of the assistance behind the scene from all of our sponsors.  If you were at the event and had fun, enjoyed the presenters, or loved the killer raffle prizes please drop the following sponsors a note to tell them that you appreciate them supporting the Michigan Ice Fest!

Patagonia                       dixiemarree@patagonia.com   Jimmy.Hopper@patagonia.com

La Sportiva                  erussell@sportiva.com

Black Diamond            Holly.Merriman@bdel.com

Scarpa                                mark@scarpa.com

Petzl                               james@figure8sales.com        codette@petzl.com

Grivel                               peterm@libertymountain.com

Sterling Rope                 marketing@sterlingrope.com

FITS Socks                       help@fitssock.com

Salewa                               info@salewa.us   nrgsales1@gmail.com

Asolo                                 cbf106@asolo-usa.com

Camp USA                      glen@camp-usa.com

 

 

 

Thank you so much for being part of the Michigan Ice Fest this year!  Be sure to keep up with what is happening with the Michigan Ice Fest through our blog at michiganicefest.com or on our facebook page!

 

NEW DATES!

ICE FEST 2016 February 11-14th