Ice Conditions Report- The Back Country 1-24-22


High winds blowing in from the north across Lake superior created a very cold blustery weekend that greeted visiting climbers.  The front country looked surprisingly quite with most climbs open even on Saturday.  The back country did see some action with climbers braving the challenging conditions.  If you have never climbed in the back country, climbers can be at the mercy of the winds as there is virtually no protection from the elements whether you are climbing or suffering at the belay.

While the lake ice was still questionable, this weekend also saw the first snow machines making their way out to Grand Island!  The locals were heading to their favorite fishing hole and if the winds don’t blow the ice pack out we may be able to hit the island next weekend.  If you are planning a trip and have thoughts about going to the island you can call our guide service at 906-387-8025 or contact the Forrest Service or National Park Service to get up to the date lake ice conditions before venturing out.

Erik Olsen, Ryan Nordstrom and David Hixenbaugh headed out to the Chapel Area and came back with this report:

“Spray Falls looked too sketchy to access from the lake when we were there, hollow snow/ice Bridge at the base and it was quite thin. You could see a ton of water rushing just behind the ice. Ships Prow not in. Close to touching down, but not really any water moving on it. Some Other Day was in as well as a smaller curtain we climbed. The shelf ice seemed pretty solid, but we did have to go up in the woods one time to get past a thin spot”.



Erik Olsen on the sharp end of Some Other Day


The left photo is of Spray Falls which Jesse Dolloway climbed the left side last weekend. as you can see, things do change week to week and Erik, David and Ryan found it unclimbable this weekend. Ships Prow and White Fang are coming along but not climbable yet.

With our high winds and recent snow, expect a bit of postholing and drifts on the approaches to any of the back country climbs.  The Miners Beach area, heading out to Bridalveil falls can still be done without snowshoes but any other remote climbs they may be required.

If you are planning on heading to the back country this week and not wanting to battle the long approaches?  Lake Superior Ice Caves Tours is running shuttles out the the Miners Area.  Check them out here










Angela Miller on Rapping Ice  PC John Miller


Arni Ronis topping out on Bridalveil Falls


John Miller leading Giddy Up



Be sure to check our website of social media channels for the latest ice conditions reports. If your group need to rent gear Down Wind Sports in Munising offers Ice Gear rentals and are open 7 days a week.  Check out the rental details here!

With these continuing cold temperatures  we should be right on track for having most climbs in for the fest!

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. Check back often for updates, pictures, and trip reports!