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'17-'18 Midwest ice conditions

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jon jugenheimer · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 2,248

Anyone been out yet?  Pictures from Facebook has ice plastered on the N. Face of McRae in Thunder Bay, a bit in Casket Quarry and Sandstone MN.  Anything happening in the UP? 

angieL Limbach · · Madison, WI · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 5

So it begins! I've been dying for some condition reports for Munising.... planning to go seek some ice over Thanksgiving :)

jon jugenheimer · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 2,248

Anything taller than 30' in Munising is normally never in by Tgivving. You are better off heading to Canada.  Liz and I are planning a Nipigon trip that weekend. 

angieL Limbach · · Madison, WI · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 5

Wish we could make Canada work. Some of the crew (not me, thankfully) have to work on Friday after Thanksgiving so we're trying to find something local-ish. May try to ski instead. 

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,108

Just posting to lament the fact that this thread hasn't seen any action in almost 3-weeks. On a bright note, the 10-day looks COLD!

Mikeyy Blisz · · Glendale Heights, IL · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 246

I lament with you, but am a little happy the delay has given my bum self time to build out a screw rack for this season :D Now cue the ice pics!

Bryan LaRue · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 35

Got out last night under the bridge at Hungarian Falls near Houghton MI. Just TR, Ice was only a couple inches thick

Jordan Mullins · · Detroit, MI · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

Social media posts from Michigan Ice Fest on conditions look promising. Anyone thinking of heading there this weekend?

SThal · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 130

Anybody know what the drainpipe in Eau Claire is looking like? Usually takes a lot of snow. 

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,108

The right side of Cox Hollow Falls is barely-formed. I took a lap and bailed onto the scratch-and-sniff slab left of the pillar. Probably best to tread lightly on this until the New Year given the forecast. The left side was not formed as of this morning, and I didn't bother to check Stephens' Falls or any of the other floes at Governor Dodge.

Mikeyy Blisz · · Glendale Heights, IL · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 246

Any eyes out in Driftless / Southern Wisco this cold week? 

Burton Lindquist · · Madison, WI · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 3,305


My operative sent out and took this photo of "Old One Eye" in Eau Claire this morning.  

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

Anyone been out yet?  Pictures from Facebook has ice plastered on the N. Face of McRae in Thunder Bay, a bit in Casket Quarry and Sandstone MN.  Anything happening in the UP? 

And kudos to Joh for snagging all those nice pics of ice climbs that made the last issue of Vertical Times.    Makes us midwesterners look like we rule the ice world over the mountain states for sure.   

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

Also,,,,is there any other page or link other than Midwest' spot, with any info about ice conditions or access, new rules, limitations, closures, etc. at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL?   I've not paid much attention to it for several years for many reasons.  ( swap out of park superintendants every couple years, new rules, more closures, less info about ice access or WHO decides if it's OK to climb it.)   I've been real lax in my paying much attention to MP pages at all for most of the last two years as my own activity has dwindled down for both rock and ice due to age, health, job, and lack of free time.     So coming back to start checking in more as of the new year here.

  I see NO info at all on various Starved Rock facebook pages.  No time to drive out and check, or schedule a meeting with the current superintendant.   Been a long sweet trip doing ice out there since our original first official' day in Feb. of 1980.    Imagine how easy it still was 25 years ago when any ice was open to climb, access was climbers decision, and a siimple phone recorded message updated continually told you the ice conditions. And that update came from our input written on the sign in climbers log book.  Now we have dozens of hopeful resources with the internet, and alas,,, I've not seen any that provide us with conditions or access updates at all.   Is there something in the works at the park, to begin a permanent closure?

    Would seem odd, since after the success of Access Fund and the ICA to get Holy Boulders going and the one year old access to climb at Pere Marquette, the state seemed to be more 'climber friendly' for sure.  But again , we 'northerners' or better put, Chicago area mid-state folks have always run in to a more stubborn approach to any adventure sports access in our immediate area.   (Kankakee River State Park rock climbing closure of '83 still sticks in my stomach as a low point).   Is dealing with the DNR in our area a more touch issue than it is in far southern parts of the state?  

                  So, as for ice:   I sort of gave up on ice at SRSP after that spell of almost 5 straight non- winters in a row of no ice, or at least park decision to keep ice access closed. ( I know that did not keep some climbers out or off the ice, but whatever.)  Found an easy alternative to driving out there 90 miles with some local 'home grown' ice on farm silos to keep me busy for a few seasons.  I know they have had ice in last year or so at the park, and wondered where the updates on access and conditions might be found.   I used to be the guy to drive out after work for 75 miles one way, arrive near dusk, and take a fast peek or run into most ice canyons to get a visual report to file or pass on.  Sorry,  those days have passed me by now for a decade or so.   And both local ice climbers right in Utica have 'retired' from ice climbing so no reports from them either.  Anybody taking up the challenge to be the official contact to the park, or at least get us accurate visuals, photos to share here, to push for a start of ice seasons to administrators who may be hesitant to allow us out there?    Think my high ice count for one superb mid 80's winter was over 40 days on the ice there.    I'd be happy now days to just wander out and get in one or two nice top rope days a season.   Updates appreciated here sometime by January I'd hope. 

Mikeyy Blisz · · Glendale Heights, IL · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 246

I agree with Woodchuck's rant - No doubt about it, Chicago is the worst access climate for climbers. [EDIT: Maybe Indiana is worse, but not much better than Chicago]
We have been working with the parks for Kankakee access and having limited success getting an audience - but that is a different subject. 

As far as Starved Rock - I emailed the park super in the late summer, and once again in late fall to try to begin the discussion. I know that the park's answer always seems to be - "we'll talk about it at the next meeting.. a few months from now" Well, ICE doesn't have time for this. I mentioned this in my message (nicely)

As far as conditions this page, and the facebook pages for the park and lasalle co. tourism page (which I've been spamming here and there about ice access!) seem to post pictures to attract hikers to just go for a sight-seeing "Look at the icefalls!" hike. The tourism videos show ice climbing, which is a bigger slap in the face.

I for one am hoping / keeping an open mind they'll let us in this year, as the cold seems to be holding up down here. A message I sent to the park confirms some formations coming in, but as far as climbing told to contact the park office.



If the level of regular Chicagoans "gumby's" who could injure themselves is a concern, open up access at nearby less trafficed Mathiessen! They have an ice fall there too :/ SRSP is the over-hyped park all my wannabee outdoorist friends make a group hike trip to and litter with bud ice and candywrappers. What a joke!

How do the parks expect to attract anyone if all you're allowed to do is look! How many elderly birdwatchers and naturalists are going to support the visitor count at these places? Are we just going to have to say screw it and go climb anyway? Will that attract some attention to the issue?

-Fed Up

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

thanks Mikeyy.  I know Mathiessen is a nice ice formation, but I'd rather argue back our access to the FORMER allowed canyons of Starved Rock .  Another can of worms to go to the other park to start up there.    Just cant' figure out why there is so little communication.  I've done the leg work on this since Day ONE in 1980.  Each and every new park superintendent up to about 5 years ago, always agreed to a face to face meeting to find out what is up.  Some were super supportive and thinking of expansion,  but alas, retirement is what that park is all about.  It's a 'high value target' so to speak. The top of the line, a place you are rewared with a position and often in last 15 years it has been a 'goodbye' , last job, retirement position.  Thus we have not had someone in position now who has even half a decade of ice climbing background from seasons of climbers.   (no thanks either to the lousy winters and lack of ice).    I've not met with the latest super', who I  think has been there for a full season or more now.   

     Their winter ice hikes and eagle watches, and winterfest, and such are always part of the Jan and Feb. programs they offer. They have never interfered with ice climbing, and the climbing has not created any distraction for their events.    Why the sport might be on the 'get rid of it list' for the state DNR is a puzzle to me.    Hope that isnt the situation. 

Mikeyy Blisz · · Glendale Heights, IL · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 246

So I went yesterday to check out the ice in SW wisco. Figuring the recent snowfall and stretch of single digit temps there might be good ice coming in. I was wrong, mostly. 

Devils Nose _ bone dry. Theres ice here? Same with the area north of the tracks. Back to the car and off to Gov Dodge!

Stephens falls - only a little piece by the falls. Not bonded enough to climb easily

Cox hollow is in pretty good. The feature is stream fed and the right is a bit thin. Cold, brittle ice day of 0 degrees high so tried to be delicate here. The left side, being right on track with the stream is soft and plastic, a treat! Its even warmer by this fall in such cold temps

I venture to guess the snowfall didnt have a chance to melt before the single digit temps and dry air evaporated what couldve been good ice? Anyone more familiar with how these form?

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

Joel is up there this weekend, and said he wil check out the ice around there too.   Meanwhile back home 'on the farm' ,the home ice project is freezing up and building slowly. 

Doug Hemken · · Madison, WI · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 6,094

The shape of the falls at Cox Hollow is a little unusual this year.  This pillar on the far left seems to have formed around a small oak that came down.

On the right, the curtain on the right is running water!  Much more interesting than usual.

The lack of ice at Stephen’s Falls is likely due to a combination of dry weather and intense cold.  Sadly, the lack of ice makes it obvious how much vandalism there has been in recent years - anything we can do about that?

Given the state of Cox Hollow, Lone Rock *ought* to be in (but didn’t check it out).

Mike, the Devils Nose requires a lot of moisture *and* some freeze thaw, so it is less reliable than the spring- or waterfall-fed ice at Dodge and Lone Rock.

Juggler · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 1,090

Thanks for all the info. We have very good ice at the ice tower in Monee, IL We will be climbing this coming wknd for our Full Moon event.... come get on ice!
Juggler · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 1,090
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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