Ice ClimbingIce climbing is “on the rise” so to speak. It is becoming one of the newest and most popular sports here in the Munising area. Our multitude of great waterfalls and porous sandstone cliffs in which the water seeps through make this sport possible.
Towards the end of December the ice has formed along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Island and our various waterfalls. Miner’s Falls is a 40′ high column of ice. You will need to plan according and snow shoe or ski into the location (3 miles).
Our annual Michigan Ice Fest is held towards the end of Jan and the beginning of Feb. Please check our calendar for exact dates.
For more information on Michigan Ice Fest: www.downwindsports.com
Grand Island is a recreation area that is approximately seven miles long, four miles wide and has a 27-mile perimeter. Three sandy beaches and dramatic 300-foot sandstone cliffs rim the island. It is these sandstone cliffs that form the base for some incredible ice formations.
It lies just off the shore of Munising and can be quite a tease to ice climbers as its shores are inaccessible until the ice forms on the bay an din the channel. The east shore of Grand Island can be seen from the Sand Point Road parking areak which produces incredible ice formations that drop to the shore ice.
Most of the climbs on the east shore are lead climbs only as setting top ropes is nearly impossible.
Trout Bay is an ice climbers paradise! The western shore of the bay develops into high sheets of ice ranging in height from 20 to 90 feet high. Skiing or snowmobiling to the island is a popular way to access the climbs.
The “Curtains” The most accessible ice climbing formation (and the one that is utilized during Ice Fest) is called “The Curtains”. It is located off Sand Point Road.
Other popular ice climbing formations are Munising Falls and various formations off the Lakeshore Trail.
Eben Ice Caves: The ice caves from each winter as water seeps through the walls of the Rock River Gorge. Although not “true” caves, they are made up of veritcal walls of ice formed by the seeping water, making this a great place to explore. They are difference each year and fund for the entire family.
The Eben Ice Caves are located west of Munising in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness which is part of the Hiawatha National Forest, north of Eben Junction. It is situated 25 miles east of Marquette, 15 miles west of Munising. To get here by car, take M-94 west about 17 miles (or by snowmobile, take Trail 419 east of Munising to Trail 8 and go west of Eben Junction. There you will see New Moon Bar. Make a right hand turn and travel north approx. 1 1/2 miles to make a right hand turn onto Frey Road. At the curve, park and begin walking east across the big field. The trail is easy to follow in the winter and it about one mile. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.