Ice Climbing Michigan Needs to be on your Bucket List Now

Ice Climbing Michigan

When you thought Rock Climbing couldn’t get anymore dangerous, you just have to throw in some sharp edges and ice formations. For those who aren’t familiar, I’m obviously discussing, Ice Climbing. While temperatures continue falling, the popularity of this sports only continues to climb! Let’s discover all there is too know about Ice Climbing Michigan 

What is Ice Climbing?

ice climbing Michigan

Ice Climbing is the process of scaling ice formations with the assistance of rope and other essential tools. The tools of the trade are crampons, ice picks, and helmets. The sport is essentially rock climbing on ice but instead of using your hands to hold the rock, you utilize ice picks and crampons to secure your position on the face of the ice.

When the temperature starts to significantly drop, ice formations begin forming over areas with water flow. These cold days lead to majestic ice formations that eventually fill in allowing climbers to ascend up and up.

Best Places for Ice Climbing in Michigan

Dryer Hose Ice Climbing

Michigan has some of the best ice climbing in the United states. More specifically, Munising is home to some of the states best pitches and formations. Although many spots on here originate from Munising, there are plenty of other spots you can find in Michigan. Here are some spots in Michigan that any seasoned climber needs to visit as soon as possible!

Munising, MI – Home to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising has some of the best routes that any ice climber will find in the state. Some popular routes off of Sand Point include: Dryer Hose, the Curtains, Amphitheater, and many many more. 

Pictured Rocks Shoreline – Ready to face your fears and scale sandstone cliffs towering more than 120 feet? These shorelines really will elevate climbers adrenaline especially when the wind is whipping in climbers faces.

Grand Island – This island is a winter wonderland when it gets cold enough and has some amazing spots to climb when the weather acts right. Be careful if heading out here on your own as the ice bridge is dependent on correct weather.

Marquette, MI – Marquette isn’t quite as notorious for it’s formations as Munising but there are some that will excite climbers. 

Peabody Ice Climbing – Downstate in Fenton, MI, the Peabody Ice Climbing facility provides members a chance to hone in on their climbing skills where there is nowhere else to train. This spot is very popular for those seriously looking to elevate skills and beginners entering the sport. 

What makes this area such a good spot? Not only are there a plethora of available routes, the area is loaded with natural beauty. The area itself is apart of a National Lakeshore but just outside of it are a multitude of other adventures visitors can partake in.

Michigan Ice Climbing

Best Places for Ice Climbing outside of Michigan

Don’t get bummed out if you can’t go climbing in Michigan, there are tons of other incredible places to scale these seasonal formations. Here are some of the most popular spots to keep on your radar:

  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Lee Vining, California 

I could drag this list on for days but we will keep it concise for now. 

Essential Gear for Ice Climbing

The thing about this extreme sport is that you are definitely going to need reliable gear. This is life we’re talking about here. Here are some of the essential items for a day out on the ice:

  • Crampons
  • Two Ice Picks 
  • Helmet 
  • Warm clothing 
  • Food/Water

Don’t overlook the importance of good gear. 

Munising, Michigan Ice Fest - 2021 Cancelled

It’s worth noting that Munising is home to Michigan’s Ice Fest that happens every February. This year however, the Ice Fest is cancelled due to Covid-19 but climbing and tours are still available! If you are looking for the 2022 Ice Fest, add it your calendars because the juice is well worth the squeeze. Daily climbing training and courses. Nightly movies and speeches from some of the best in the business, and many more events make this a well worthwhile event.

Booking an Ice Climb in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Have these photos and videos you’ve seen inspired you too take action and try something new? Luckily if you want to give this extreme sport a chance, there are enough reputable outfitters who can make sure your day on the ice is worthwhile. Here are the outfitters I recommend: 

  • Down Wind Sports
  • Superior Outfitters

Why should you book through these trusted outfitters? They know the lay of the land better than anyone else. The guides are well trained and very professional. Support local businesses that protect the sacredness of the community and sport.

Other Things to do In Michigan's Upper Peninsula other than Ice Climbing

Fat Biking Ice Formations

Wintertime in the Upper Peninsula makes for some dramatic outdoor adventures. Don’t limit yourself to just ice climbing because you will definitely kick yourself. Here are some other popular Michigan winter activities:

Ski or Snowboard – Michigan has the 2nd most ski resorts in the USA

Waterfalls of Michigan – Waterfalls are even more dramatic in the winter! 

Fat Biking is one of Marquette’s claim to fames – Go Ride some North and South Trails today!

Upper Peninsula of Michigan Photographer

Thank you for reading this Ice Climbing piece of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If there is anything else that you might want to know, head here to learn more about the activity. 

If you are in need of someone to photograph your Ice Climbing experience or your Upper Peninsula trip, you can book me at my Midwest Photographer page. Thank you for reading and hope to hear from you on your visit to Michigan!

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