Ice Fest kicks off in Munising

MUNISING — Michigan’s Ice Fest kicked off today, and there were some open classes for Ice Climbing, one of the weekend’s biggest attractions. It’s one of the Upper Peninsula’s signature events. Every year, hundreds of people make the trip to Munising for the annual Michigan Ice Fest.

Of course, ice is abundant this time of the year at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore…perfect for some Ice climbing. Michigan Ice fest is sort of a hidden gem to those who may not be as familiar with the Upper Peninsula’s Ice–climbing scene.

“I’m Originally from Indiana, and didn’t know this palce existed until I came up last year for the fest, so just to have the access to this quality of ice climbing in the midwest and to be able to reach that demographic is really awesome,” said Jacob Raab, one of the climbers.

“This is a beautiful, beautiful location; I never knew this was really up here,” said Anders Cox, another cimber. “I had heard of the Upper Peninsula and just never knew there was an ice fest up here. There’s all this ice to climb, it’s a lot closer to home.”

This curtain of ice, as it’s called, is one of many near Munising that climbers can conquer. From beginner to expert, ice picks to no ice picks, Michigan Ice fest gives everyone a chance to try something new. Even for the experienced climbers, the sport is a great way to work together and become a better climber.

“I’m still learning myself, so, just trying to throw in any sort of input, even just with what gear to put on or ‘hey swap your gloves out,’ or just little basic foot placements, just trying to add a little input, and you learn from everyone no matter how long you’ve been doing it,” said Cox.

And for all climbers, there’s a simple piece of advice that goes a long way.

“Don’t fall,” said Raab.

No worry, chances of falling are slim…expert climbers and instructors are on hand to make sure you get to the top, or at least try to, safely.

The pictured rocks are a perfect place to enjoy this year’s Ice Fest. Compared to the Rockies or other mountains out east, the Pictured Rocks is a unique place to climb.

“This is just, I don’t know. It’s something else,” exclaimed Cox.

“It’s like nowhere else,” said Raab. “I mean, when you’re out on the lakeshore, climbing out on the water, it’s different than anywhere else I’ve climbed.”

Ice fest runs Today through Sunday, February 18th. Be sure to leave a few hours open to visit Munising and maybe, just maybe, climb some ice.