After two off the charts, record breaking years for ice we are settling in to a “normal” year for ice conditions. El Nino is certainly effecting our snowfall as Munising has seen very little snow accumulation, but tons of rain this season so far. What does that mean for Ice Fest? Being a glass is half full kind of guy, it means we have lots of water in the ground table and our seeps should be fat when the cold temps finally get here! We are starting to get calls with climbers concerned about conditions, but rest assured, we will most certainly have ice, and my guess lots of it!
We sent Ice Fest Staffers out to all corners of the U.P. this weekend and here is your report from the field!
Conditions in the Big Bay area were thin! The Scratch Wall is a short dry tooling area that is usually one of the first areas to form in the Upper Peninsula. Low snow fall in the area has not produced much early season ice.
Reports coming in from the Munising area were a bit more promising. Ice Fest friend John Miller provided these two shots where he found Bridal Veil Falls was in.
Located along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore trail, the falls lie about a half mile east of Miners Beach. Obviously with the lack of shelf ice currently on the lake, a hanging belay or a top belay would be required.
Potato Patch Falls, with the high volume of water from recent rains, is still not in. The curtains look like they are coming along nicely and with continued cold temperatures they will continue to grow.
Ice Fest Staffer and local Munising climber, Mario Molin hit the woods to check out a few formations. Mario found lots of water flowing and very little snow.
Michigan Ice Film producer, Arron Peterson got in on the action and sent this shot of Laughing Whitefish Falls which just happens to be in his neck of the woods.
Looks like the Keewenaw is the place to go for winter conditions and early season ice. MIF Staffers Arni Ronis and Matt Abbotts headed out to Cliff Drive after the areas first winter storm. Climbable ice was found in the Ice Fall Area.
While it is not the report everyone was hoping for the ice is forming and we should all be out there getting after it in no time at all. For reference check out the Dryer Hose below- taken on December 22, 2011 it was not all that much ahead of where we are now. Check back next week as we will have an updated report!