Frozen Falls, Crashing Waves: ‘Michigan Ice Film’ Reveals Lake Superior Climbing Mecca

Water drips, and ice forms in massive curtains along the shore of Lake Superior. Welcome to Michigan’s U.P., where sandstone cliffs, frigid temps, and the world’s largest lake set a stage for some of the best ice climbing on the continent.


In a new production by Clear & Cold Cinema, “The Michigan Ice Film,” director Aaron Peterson captures the intensity and spirit at one of the country’s least-known meccas for climbing ice.

The 1h 11min documentary is currently on the film fest circuit as well as available for rent or purchase from Vimeo on Demand.

Steep ice! An advanced route

A description of the film: “Discover the untold story of one of the world’s largest concentrations of climbable ice in a scrappy corner of the American Midwest: Munising, Michigan.”

Boat access (even in winter) on Lake Superior to get to the ice climbs

The Michigan Ice Film features locals and climbing luminaries, with a cast including Sam Elias, Raphael Slawinski, Conrad Anker, Will Mayo, Dawn Glanc, Anna Pfaff, Ben Erdmann, Adam Dailey, Jon Jugenheimer, Paul Kuenn, James Loveridge, and Bill Thompson.

We have climbed Munising for years and can attest to the epicness of the place! Here are a few shots from the action.

Rappelling in: Many climbs in Munising are accessed from above, climbers lowering over Lake Superior water
Steep ice formations, sometimes hundreds of feet tall, dominate the region
Munising’s northerly location grants a long ice-climbing season
Sandstone cliffs drop into Lake Superior along miles of shoreline
Spot the climber… getting into the meat of a hard lead
Action on the “set” of the ‘Michigan Ice Film’
Conrad Anker (excited!)
Director Aaron Peterson
Step on over… moving from one frozen fall to the next
Massive pillar of ice
A peek from behind the (ice) curtain

–Watch the full “Michigan Ice Film” via Vimeo on Demand.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.