How to Start Ice Climbing in Michigan

Would you climb a frozen waterfall?

If you’re a fan of rock climbing and beautiful Michigan winters, ice climbing might just be your sport.

The challenge and adventure of climbing the temporary natural features gives way to rewarding scenic views. Climbing heights that can extend more than 200 feet offers an unmatched sense of accomplishment.

You’ll need a lot of the same gear and skills you need for rock climbing – a helmet, harness, rope and skilled belaying partner – plus you’ll need specialized equipment such as ice axes you hold with your hands to dig into the ice, and crampons that attach to your boots and provide a spiky base to give your feet more grip on the slippery surface.

Since the equipment you’ll need for ice climbing can be pricey, it’s a good idea to test the waters, er ice, before you fully invest in your own gear. Here are some great places in Michigan that can help you get started on your ice climbing adventures.

  • Michigan Ice Fest, Munising: This annual festival welcomes experienced climbers and newbies alike each February. A guide service is offered for those wanting to beat the crowds or to stay a bit longer in order to enjoy the ice with more one-on-one instruction.
  • Peabody Ice Climbing Club, Fenton: Experienced climbers and beginners can climb on the club’s two towers, 45-feet- and 72-feet-tall. You can rent climbing gear and certified instructors are available to help you get started.
  • Superior Ice Climbing Adventures, Munising: This ice climbing guide company provides equipment and lessons to help you experience gorgeous climbs overlooking Lake Superior on the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline.

This photo gallery highlights the beauty you can experience ice climbing in Michigan. Thanks to Joe Bitely and other members of the Grand Valley State University Campus Recreation team for the snaps, which were taken during this year’s Michigan Ice Fest. For more great pictures from GVSU’s Ice Fest trip, visit this photo album on their Facebook page.

Do you ice climb? Where do you go in Michigan and what’s your favorite thing about the sport? Tell us in the comments.

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Photo credit: GVSU Campus Recreation

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