Black Diamond- Gold Level Sponsor Returns For Another Michigan Ice Fest

For years Black Diamond has been very generous by sending double the amount of demo gear that other festivals receive,  so that all of our participants can test out the latest and greatest ice climbing gear.  BD, like our other Gold Sponsors, has sent amazing athletes to our event  ensuring that we get the highest quality instructors, and are entertained in the evening with inspiring stories of climbing around the world.   This year BD  has teamed up with Arc’Teryx and has graciously agreed to send Will Gadd.

Will Gadd

I grew up in a family that hiked, climbed and went into the mountains whenever they could. Some of my earliest memories are of long backpacking trips, wind-blown summits and surviving winter skip trips. The first sport I really got into on my was caving. When I was 14 I started kayaking. At 16 I bought my first climbing rope, and did my first new rock route. At 25 I first flew a paraglider. At 41 my daughter came into the world. She’s already doing all the stuff I did as a kid, and she’s an athlete too.  Some of Will’s exploits include:

-Establishing the hardest mixed ice climbing lines in the world.

-Setting the world distance record for paragliding. Twice. 423 km (263 miles) the second time.

-Kayaking down dozens of first ascents across North America.

-Winning the Canadian National Sport-Climbing Championships. Four times.

-Winning three gold medals at the X Games. And the Ice Climbing World Cup.

-Winning the US and Canadian Paragliding Nationals.

-Flying my paraglider over the Grand Canyon.

-Climbing icebergs off the coast of Labrador with Ben Firth.

-Flying my paramotor across the USA with Jim Grossman.

-Using supplemental oxygen to explore high carbon-dioxide caves in Thailand.

-Ice climbing in underground mines in Sweden.

-First one-day ascent of the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, Mt. Robson. Solo.

-Climbing big new rock, ice and alpine routes all over the world.


More on Will can be found here!


Don’t forget that Down Wind Sports will also feature a full selection of sweet Black Diamond gear at our on site retail shop.  Enjoy Will Gadd’s show then come on up and get geared up for your next adventure!

Black Diamond Stinger Crampon

It’s always exciting to see new gear being offered at the Michigan Ice Fest demo and this year we are super pyched to have the Black Diamond Stinger Crampon available for participants to try out!

Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is the lightweight stainless steel crampon offered by Black Diamond, with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight.


  • Asymmetrical stainless steel design is lightweight, won’t rust and fits the contours of modern boots
  • Mono frontpoint is replaceable at low cost and can be changed quickly and easily in the field
  • Hooded frontpoint and aggressive secondary points are optimized for precise, secure placements
  • Low-profile micro-adjust heel level offers precision fit
  • Thin, low-profile toe bail and thinner, shorter heel wire for improved fit with modern boots
  • Includes front and rear dual-density ABS




Cobra Ice Axe

Oh-la-la!  This is the most aesthetically beautiful tool on the market.  Not only does it look good- it swings even better!  The ultimate carbon fiber tool for leashless mixed, ice and alpine climbing, the Black Diamond Cobra provides unparalleled performance from the crags to the Karakoram. The Cobra features a lightweight shaft that provides precise, technical swings and offers the most clearance of any of our tools-all without sacrificing balance or axis of rotation.


  • Lightweight carbon fiber shaft with greatest clearance of any Black Diamond tool
  • Balanced with weight in head for damp, accurate strikes
  • Laser Pick, Cobra Strike and Fang included, modular head design
  • Removable upper and lower pommels
  • Shaft CEN-T certified, patented
  • Pick is CEN-B

All these videos makes us want to go climbing!  We can extend the Ice Fest discount one week- call or email the store for your hook up!  Once again a big thank you goes out to Black Diamond for another year at being a Gold Level Sponsor!

Gold Level Sponsor Steps Up- Arc’teryx Will Gadd And The M280 Harness

One of our gold level sponsors Arc’teryx is really stepping up to the plate this year by teaming up with Black Diamond to send one of their team athletes, Will Gadd to instruct and present a slide show Saturday night.


Will Gadd

Will is known as being one of the most versatile outdoor athletes in the world. He is an especially accomplished Ice Climber and mountaineer. His creativity, drive and agressive style has enabled him to win the 2000 Ice World Cup Overall. He has made several benchmark first ascents on routes such as Musashi (M12), Howse of Cards (1100 Meters, VI, WI6X, M7), Great Western (2000 meters, V, WI5, M7), and the first one day ascent of Mount Robson.

As a rock climber Will climbs to 5.13C, both sport and traditional, He is a solid competition climber and a three time Canadian National sport climbing champion. Follow Will Gadd on his latest venture on a steep ice line on Teng Kangpoche in the Khumbu region of Himalayan Nepal. This line looks to be one of the most challenging and sustained vertical ice lines in the world. Follow the action at:

Learn more about the world of ice as Will takes Australian “60 Minutes” host ice climbing.







Besides Will, Arc’teryx will also be at the event with their amazing clothing and the  M280 Mixed Climbing Harness.  Arc’teryx designed the M280 to give demanding ice and mixed climbers a



lightweight, comfortable feel with all the features they need and nothing more. Thanks to revolutionary WST construction, this Arc’teryx harness disperses weight throughout the entire width of the waist belt, so it doesn’t need bulky padding. The M280 Harness includes two gear loops to hold your draws and four ice clipper slots to help carry screws and holster tools. Arc’teryx also used mesh leg loops to decrease bulk even further and shave weight to a mere 9.8oz.

Don’t forget to check out one of these sweet harnesses at some point Ice Fest weekend!  Another bonus is that Down Wind sports will also be stocking an array of Arc’teryx clothing in the store and between slide shows participants will be able to shop for killer deals!

Thanks Arc’teryx for committing to support Mid West ice climbers and sending Will to this years Michigan Ice Fest!


Just Announced! Will Gadd To Attend Ice Fest 2013!

2013 Presenter

Michigan Ice Fest is proud to announce that good friend Will Gadd will be joining us again (use Canadian accent when saying “again”) instructing our courses and headlining the Saturday evening presentations.  We are so fortunate to have our Gold Sponsors Black Diamond Equipment and Arc Teryx sending Will to the event!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

All-round action hero Will Gadd is a living legend in the truest sense, continually pushing the boundaries of ice climbing after having won every major title from the World Cup to the Winter X Games.

A veteran of the sport, Will continues to seek new adventures and has boundless energy – not bad at all for the Canadian man now in his mid-forties. In 2010 he proved his pedigree once more by climbing a 130ft ice wall solidly for 24 hours at the Ouray Ice Festival in Colorado, reaching a total height of 25,414ft.

Eager to rise to a fresh challenge, Will also broke the world distance record on a paraglider not once, but three times. He was also the first person to cross the US by paraglider after a gruelling seven-week trek. His hunger for adventure doesn’t stop there – he can turn his hand to almost every outdoor sport and has been featured in the media for his numerous feats in rock and ice climbing, kayaking, mountaineering, caving, Nordic and Alpine skiing and mountain biking.

These days Will likes to set himself more creative challenges and has successfully climed icebergs off the coast of Labrador as well as conquering the longest vertical ice climb in Nepal. “I’ve done enough, won as much as I need to,” he says. “I’m at a point now where I feel like I have a lot less to prove. The coolest things are now beyond competition. All I want to do now is take high level skills and go to interesting places.”


Yikes!  Another gem from our friend Will Gadd as he analyzes an ice climber taking a HUGE fall on the classic climb Dracula a WI4 located in New Hampshire. Check it out and be safe out there!  Will brings out a lot of good points and things that we can all learn from.

Watch the video here