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US Ice Destination Recommendations


Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110
Michael C wrote: Oh, I've seen that thing before. Pretty awesome. I would totally come visit!
Not to be confused with the huge 80 ft.Peabody ice tower up near Flint Michigan. Stop and visit when you drive through state on I-80, a few miles southwest of I-57 intersection. Check out facebook group called Nice Ice.
George Marsden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2005 · Points: 0

I would definitely vote for Ouray. If you can swing 5 days, even if you have a full day of travel on each end you will still get in more climbing than pretty much anywhere else. There are 150+ climbs less than 30 minutes from where you park.

Keep the altitude in mind if you plan on anything in the backcountry with a long approach. Living near see level this will beat you up a bit unless you are very aerobically fit. Even then the altitude might effect you a bit.

If you are comfortable rigging top ropes you should be fine in the Ice Park without a guide. Almost all the climbs have big trees or bolts for anchors so it is easy to rig.

If I had 3 climbing days I would consider 2 days in the park to get in some mileage and acclimate a bit to the altitude and then maybe a day with a guide on something in the backcountry.

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340

Pretty much set on Ouray at this point. 3 days, not including travel. Thanks for all the tips, everyone. In a couple months I'll have a trip report and some pics.

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

George has a good idea of the park, then some other stuff.

Try out camp bird road. 15min drive, 15min walk(max) to awesome backcountry(if you want to call it that!) multi pitch(2-3pitch) reliable = forms every year… check out the skylight, it is listed on here. It is one of my favorite not too hard climbs up there.

KathyS · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 125

Hey Woodchuck - how early season does the silo ice come it? Heading to the midwest for Christmas. Unlikely I could get there, but I can daydream. Btw, I was a co-op student not far from there in the early 80's, at a plastic plant in Morris, IL.

Sorry to hijack the thread. To the OP, I would suggest checking the average high temps in Feb for your destination, especially higher altitude or further north. Ice climbing is more fun when the temperature isn't in the single digits. Not that there isn't a lot of variation day to day, year to year, but you want reasonable odds of decent conditions. Feb might not be the best time for some venues.

Bill Thompson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 245
Michigan Ice Fest

Have to throw my two cents in with Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. No fancy spa but you can soak in the hot tub at the Days Inn after scoring classic routes.
Keyan P · · Seattle, WA · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 80

Not an ice climber myself, but a lot of folks up here in VT are. You should consider Smugglers Notch, plenty of ice and you can stay in the resort town Stowe (fancy hotels/restaurants etc). A few different options for guiding services but you are best off contacting Petra Cliffs first: petracliffs.com

Dave Lynch · · Waseca, MN · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 515

Cody, Wyoming. Can't believe it hasn't been mentioned. One of the best ice areas in the lower 48. Look up Jackson Hole mountain Guides. And check airline ticket prices that fly right into Cody. Cheap, because of the close proximity to Yellowstone and the Tetons. Check outcoldfear.com for route and conditions info. I moved to WY in Jan after 7 years inAlaska and was blown away by the number and quality of routes in the Southfork near Cody.

Kevin Craig · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 325
Michael C wrote:This is going to be a one last hoorah sort of trip, as my wife is demanding I get her pregnant with baby #2 in the coming months. So, I'd like to head out west (for the first time) since doing North East trips will pretty much be the regular in the coming years. Sadly, I've yet to climb in the Daks or NH. And I'm thinking we might add a couple extra days. @ Doligo, thanks for the info about Telluride and Moab. I haven't even looked at where Ouray is on the map yet. And I live 30 minutes from Newark, so that direct flight is perfect for me. @ Cor, I'll check out that guide. Thanks!
This makes me sad. Does your wife really care so little about what YOU want and need to enjoy your life?

That said and given your constraints and experience, yeah I'd say Ouray with second choice being Canmore or Lake Louise (the Fairmont has to be see to be believed). Built in the era of the first railroads and the robber barons; opulent doesn't quite cover it. Ouray will definitely net you more pitches per day than anywhere else in the world except perhaps Rjukan Norway though. OTOH, the mountains and climbs in the Canadian Rockies are real, and they're specTACular. :). All of the aforementioned have good lodging, food, spas, hot springs nearby etc.

Edit to add- I love climbing in Cody, but wouldn't recommend it based on the OP's parameters. Most of the approaches are pretty significant. Great climbs for sure but not the best place for folks with 3 years and a wide difference in experience. A trip you'd remember forever though I'd bet. JHMG are definitely the folks to call for a guide there in any case.
Merlin · · Grand Junction · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 10
Kevin Craig wrote: This makes me sad. Does your wife really care so little about what YOU want and need to enjoy your life? That said and given your constraints and experience, yeah I'd say Ouray with second choice being Canmore or Lake Louise (the Fairmont has to be see to be believed). Built in the era of the first railroads and the robber barons; opulent doesn't quite cover it. Ouray will definitely net you more pitches per day than anywhere else in the world except perhaps Rjukan Norway though. OTOH, the mountains and climbs in the Canadian Rockies are real, and they're specTACular. :). All of the aforementioned have good lodging, food, spas, hot springs nearby etc. Edit to add- I love climbing in Cody, but wouldn't recommend it based on the OP's parameters. Most of the approaches are pretty significant. Great climbs for sure but not the best place for folks with 3 years and a wide difference in experience. A trip you'd remember forever though I'd bet. JHMG are definitely the folks to call for a guide there in any case.
We cant all be dinks with outdoor focused wives.
Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Juggler got out and was climbing the ice silo here in Frankfort on Tues. night! Hope to be on it again Friday, tomorrow. Expect a small melt down then rebuild it during week of Dec.8-13th with colder weather again!!!
Still working on sealing up the new warming hut area, wind tight and with a window this year!!
Working on plans for a small scale ice fest by Feb. this winter.

facing the ice tower,,you can watch the action this year in warming hut.

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340
Michael C wrote:This is going to be a one last hoorah sort of trip, as my wife is demanding I get her pregnant with baby #2 in the coming months.
UPDATE!!!

Wife is pregnant. Took a home test two weeks ago, confirmed with the doctor yesterday.

Now, I know somebody is going to say how their pregnant wife climbed this, onsighted that, blah-blah-blah. That's totally awesome, but not mine. One, she's not a serious climber to begin with and Two, she's not comfortable climbing during her pregnancy. And I totally respect her decision.

Still, we got a last hoorah or babymoon to take.

While I can't say for sure if she's still down for the Colorado trip or not since it hasn't been discussed, we might go ahead and do something here on the East Coast.

Interestingly enough, this happened before. We got pregnant with #1 while on our first vacation (after honeymoon) in Belize. It was supposed to be an adventure trip but while I was out cave exploring, black-hole rappelling, and bush whacking she was poolside with virgin drinks and taking pics at the zoo. So, I totally feel for her right now.
Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Congratulations Michael!

I just want to say try the ADK mountain fest or the MWV ice fest if you're staying on the east coast. I think you guys will have good time. I really enjoyed last year's. The people that attend are really friendly. You get a guide and it's cheaper than private rates. Most of the weekend is TRing in groups the whole day but a good time none the less.

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Our ice is up thick and ready to go as of NOW. Almost 2 ft.thick on silo...climbers coming out tonight and on Thursday night so check in at Nice Ice group on Facebook or with Juggler and get set up for an evening of ice in Chicago south suburbs. Well backlit with ropelights, and a huge new warming cave for us to enjoy. Full moon climb planned for the night of the 17th too, so plan ahead. Check out the night lights and thick ice pics.

thick ice after 72 hours of freezing

Over 300 ft. of rope lights under the ice!

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340
UPDATE!!!

We had dreams of Ouray and Bozeman...but along came another bun in the oven. So, here's what we've decided.

Heading up to the Daks!

This is actually (and sadly) my first time. We're staying in Lake Placid and I plan on climbing at Chapel Pond. Wifey is going to induldge in spa treatment. Also looking to do some snow shoeing and maybe even jump in a dog sled.

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I'm hoping that in a few years (probably 10) we can bring both of the kiddies out to Colorado for a family ice trip. I don't mind staying local, or East Coast. I'm just happy to climb, and even happier to have a family.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Ice Climbing
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