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Ice Climbing

Ice Climbers over Lake Superior on HMR in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Without a doubt when speaking of ice climbing in the Midwest, the first area that comes to mind is Michigan. Nestled on the shores of Lake Superior, the Upper Peninsula offers some of the countries most outstanding ice climbing. This part of Michigan is a sparsely populated region with predominately northern hardwood forests. Hidden within these forests sandstone bluffs seep water that forms spectacular blue ice formations. Along with these seeps hundreds of waterfalls are also available for climbers to explore.

Stop by one of our shops for the most up to date ice conditions or to check out the latest and greatest climbing equipment available to the aspiring ice monkey. Also, don’t forget that we offer ice climbing equipment rentals out of our Munising location, and every February we organize the Michigan Ice Fest. The Michigan Ice Fest is the perfect place to become familiar with the area and to meet other climbers from the Midwest. It happens in Munising on the first weekend in February every year. For more info please visit www.michiganicefest.com.


Climbers looking for ice in the Houghton area have more options that one might think. This area of the Upper Peninsula has a fair amount of high quality routes with relatively short approaches that seldom get climbed. Please be aware that many of the climbs have land ownership issues, including some private land owners who do not allow climber access. If you’re in the area stop by the shop for some beta, and if you give us a heads up it’s usually not too difficult to get one of us to show you around.

Cliff Drive

Cliff Drive is located about 20 minutes north of Houghton. Here you will find a handful of climbs tucked into the dense woods of the Keweenaw. Finding the ice is sometimes the most difficult part of climbing in this area, so a trip to our shop in Houghton is a must if you aren’t from the area. We’re happy to share any beta we have… you just need to ask.

Hungarian Falls

A short hike up the snowmobile trail on Sixth Street in Tamarack City gets you to the beautiful Hungarian Falls. Hungarian Creek tumbles overs a series of falls on its way down to Torch Lake. The upper falls are around 20 feet high, while the lower falls provide a 50 foot drop, which is spectacular. The lower falls are the main attraction and can easily be protected from above which makes this area a great place for beginning climbers. And don’t miss the side falls to the west of the lower Hungarian falls.

Down Wind Sports owner Arni Ronis ice climbs Douglass Houghton Falls in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula


Down Wind Sports owner Bill Thompson getting a sunset ice climb in near Marquette

Wolf's Den & The Grotto

Found on Hogback peak just north of town on county road 550, these climbs offer a fun day with fast enough access to get you back in time happy hour.

Little Presque

With several climbs right on the shore of Lake Superior, Little Presque is another great option for those looking to get out for some after work laps or a less commiting day on the ice.


Michigan Ice Fest Guide Nic Dobbs ice climbing Twin Towers in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Jon Jugenheimer climbs The Dryer Hose in Munising Michigan

This is it: Midwest Ice Climbing Mecca. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Island Recreation Area, and the surrounding area offer more ice climbs than the entire rest of the state.

These are some of the classic climbs in the area that you just have to do. Don’t head home without baggin’ these great climbs.

Life’s A Pitch (The Dryer Hose)

This is the classic formation along Sand Point Road and a must for all visiting climbers. This type of large freestanding pillar is typical for the Munising area. The Dryer Hose, like most climbs in Munising, forms in an large overhanging sandstone bowl. The pillar forms a large cone at the base and narrows a great deal towards the top. Super fun and should be your first stop in Munising!


A mega-classic on the lakeshore- it is the largest formation in the park. The climb usually forms two large pillars that come together at the top to produce massive formidable bat wings. Ice is typically very brittle, three-dimensional, and the route is very sustained.

The climb has the character of a sea-cliff climb, due to the ominous presence of Lake Superior at its base.


One of the most beautiful climbs you'll find anywhere, this long, steep line drops straight into the often turbulent waters of Lake Superior. Featured in many climbing magazines, HMR is hard to reach but definitely worth the effort.

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