There has been one vendor who has been with us since day one and it has been La Sportiva. For 23 years Mark Wilford and La Sportiva have been coming up to help teach our Intro To Ice Courses and to provide some of the best ice climbing boots in the industry at our demo site.
Who’s the one guy you can guarantee you’ll see at the fest? Mark of course! A long time supporter of the festival, Mark is considered one of the most proficient and diverse alpinist/rock climbers in the world. With more than 30 years of experience, he has accumulated a long resume of bold rock ascents, alpine solos, Alaskan climbs and Himalayan expeditions. Among his most notable climbs are the first American solo ascent of the Eiger North Face, a first ascent route on Nameless Tower, a winter solo of the Diamond on Long’s Peak and first ascents in Alaska’s Saint Elias Range. Although he has participated in sport climbing and ice-climbing events, Mark is considered a staunch traditionalist when it comes to the style and ethics of climbing. “Whatever that means these days,” he jokes. “I just like to climb. I just love climbing.”
Will Mayo is considered one of the world’s strongest ice and mixed climbers. If you have been reading any media lately you are sure to see Will killing it, be it in Vail or Indian Creek! Making his third appearance at the Michigan Ice Fest, Will has been very busy since we last saw him. On March 7, 2015, with Anna Pfaff, he sent a giant, long-standing traditional mixed project on the Cholesterol Wall above Ten Mile Pond in Gros Morne National Park outside of Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland. Apocalypse Now (WI7 M9 traditional 220 meters), was one of the few remaining “king lines” of the area that had yet to be climbed.
“I coach proficient rock climbers and plateaued experienced winter climbers looking to steepen their learning curve on ice and mixed terrain or take their winter climbing game to the next level. I have been coaching ice and mixed climbing throughout the United States since 2002. Recently, I trained Sasha DiGiulian who red-pointed M10 and followed WI6 cleanly after only a week of my coaching. Basically, my training is a direct regimen: together we climb sick mixed, ice and/or alpine routes, I push you outside of your comfort zone, and you accelerate your journey toward mastering winter and alpine climbing—all within tight safety tolerances”.
If you are headed out to the demo site you may have seen dozens of the Nepal Evo’s. We had plenty of these award winning boots in men and women’s styles. When the brutal cold winds come blowing in from across lake Superior, the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Mountaineering Boot will be your foot’s best friend! La Sportiva combined a waterproof breathable Gore-Tex membrane, an insulated lining , and a durable leather upper to keep your feet warm and protected for many summits to come. The Vibram sole, featuring the Impact Brake System, provides tough traction on slippery inclines, while the 3D Flex ankle allows for maximum sole-to-surface contact on the steeps. An adjustable, removable tongue offers a comfortable, customizable fit for any foot shape. We are also hoping they send these sexy looking Nepal Cubes!
Once again a huge thank you goes out to La Sportiva for joining us again and continuing to support Mid West ice climbers and sending Mark and Will back to this years Michigan Ice Fest!