The Michigan Ice Fest for many people, is the highlight of the ice climbing season in the Midwest. It can be a bit overwhelming as Munising is busy with loads of climbers and jam packed with activities. Here are a few pro tips on how to have the best fest ever!
Show up early! Doesn’t matter if it is a class, the demo, a presentation or for the free beer at the after parties. If you are late you will almost certainly miss out.
Prepare for anything. The weather on Lake Superior is unpredictable at best. Be ready for cold, snow and wind. If you want some help figuring out what gear will help you enjoy the festival, check out some of tips HERE.
Take a course/clinic. This is a sure-fire way to increase your skills, gain some valuable knowledge, and get on some amazing ice, all the while being instructed by one of the country’s best alpinist/ice climbers.
Corner a manufacturer’s sales rep. These folks come from all over the country to support our event and represent the leading manufacturers of climbing equipment and clothing. They bring with them a vast knowledge of this gear and are more than willing to share their insights and experiences. If you have questions, they have answers. You can see what companies support our event on our sponsor page.
Have a drink with a professional athlete. Many of the world’s best climbers are in attendance at Ice Fest and will be attending our after parties and socials. It is a rare opportunity to be able to socialize with a sport’s elite athletes and the ability to share stories with them is priceless. If you want to see who’s coming this year check out our Athletes Page, and check back often because we’re always adding new arrivals.
Enjoy Munising and Pictured Rocks. The ice climbing in the Munising area is immense. Try to get of of Sand Point Road and explore the backcountry where you will find solitude, incredible scenery, and the opportunity to climb on the shores of the world’s largest freshwater lake!
Headquarters. Our headquarters will be at the Central Community Center in Munising, located at 413 Maple Street. Most of-ice activities will take place here including: registration, class meeting spot, gear demos, gear sales, and shuttle pick up. Have questions about the festival? The Central Community Center is where you will find the answers. Maps, schedules and official Ice Fest memorabilia will also be found here. You can find a map to our headquarters HERE.
Spectating & Photography If you are traveling up to Munising and looking to watch the climbers or exploring the possibility of catching the action on film, for your safety please do not walk under or around the ice while climbers are climbing. Ice can and will fall during the ascent and could easily injure a spectator/photographer. The best location for catching a glimpse of the climbers is along Sand Point Road. Take the shuttle from the Ice Fest Headquarters parking lot and the driver will drop you of right at the trailhead. A short but steep walk will take you to the base of the climbs. We ask that all photographers please remain at the bottom of the climbs at the demo area. If you are interested in improving your
climbing photography, check out our rigging course.
Safety Climbing a serious sport and safety is our primary concern. Climbing over a fresh water sea adds an extra element of both excitement and risk. When climbing along the lakeshore please make sure your group skills required for self rescue. Once you rap over the edge you have to be able climb our or ascend the rope. If you don’t have these skills, check out our free Lakeshore Safety classes. We have more information on how to stay safe at the fest available HERE.
Below is more general info about the event that might be useful:
Online registration fee is $50. This gets you into all of the Ice Fest socials, slideshows and the famous raffle. If you sign up at the door the registration fee will $75. You’ll get the same benefits but registering online will save you some money.
No refunds will be given if you can’t make it to the event. You are more than welcome to sell or trade your registration, but please let us know before doing so.
Demo gear is available to for the entire weekend. The demo fee is $50 if you register online, or $75 at the door, and gets you boots, tools and crampons for Wednesday through Sunday. Gear must be returned each evening and checked out again in the morning. If you are taking a class, the gear is provided for the day of the class only and you must pay the demo fee to receive gear for the rest of the weekend. Non-climbing classes do not get demo gear.