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Ice climbing near Milwaukee/Chicago?
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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 20, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

I know some of the best ice in the midwest is in the UP, but I'm looking for something a bit closer to home. I don't care of the climbs are short or the ice not as good. The main reason is that it'll help me gain practice and technique and I'll get more time on the ice without the 11 hour RT drive.

Does anyone know of some places that are closer to Milwaukee/Chicago?

Thanks.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Nov 20, 2009
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

The Ice Pit is in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The pit
The pit


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 20, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

That's $300 to climb there though. You have to be a member of their club.

That's also $$ that I want going toward my AR membership so I can work on my rock climbing technique.


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
Nov 21, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

www.mountainproject.com/v/wisconsin/the_ice_pit/105864562
Is this an area/destination? Description? Or an advertisement..... This seems to me, to be akin with posting gym problems. However no routes are even posted? Just links, saying "Come check us out!" Only $200 annually to be able to climb* here!**
Solicitations,
or was it salutations?
Opinions....


  • *Climbing will be top rope only
  • **Time to be spent during hours of operation 2 days a week


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Nov 21, 2009
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Paul Reineck wrote:
That's $300 to climb there though. You have to be a member of their club. That's also $$ that I want going toward my AR membership so I can work on my rock climbing technique.


You asked a question about ice in the area. Other than the Ice Pit, I know of no better ice climbing outside of Ontario. You live in Wisconsin, so you make do with what you have. If $300 breaks the bank, then maybe ice climbing isn't for you.

It's not a gym, per se. It's a quarry that rents out its space to the club. The dues are simply to pay for water, the lease, insurance etc. The club is non-profit. Having known the president of the Ice Pit for many years, I can attest that this is simply a labor of love.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 21, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

I saw literature on the Ice Pit at Ice Fest in Munising. $300 certainly does not break my bank. It just hurts that I'd have to pay so much for something like that. And I do understand why the costs are there. If they had a pay-per-visit I would certainly think about it more. At this point, I dont know how often I'm going to be able to get up there.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 21, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

ok, never mind . . . they do have a "guest fee", so I was mistaken there. $30 is that bad. A guest limit of two times seems reasonable, and $200 also seems more reasonable than the $300 I've seen before.

Its certainly something I'm going to check out.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 21, 2009
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Do you have to be a 'guest' of a member to get that 30 a day price? There is ice southwest of Chicago in Utica, at Starved Rock State Park. They have continued to increase the limitations of where to climb over the last 15 years. Usually a short window of opportunity from late Jan to mid or late Feb depending on the conditions each year.
If you want some indoor ice training time, there is a 20 ft. indoor 'ice' wall at a climbing gym down in Monee, IL. Check www.Xtremeplex.com to see gym hours and prices.


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By Ben Mahaffey
Nov 21, 2009
generic crack

have you looked into going to Gov. Dodge, Lone Rock or Wyalusing St park. i dont know how far of a drive it would be for you but there is some good stuff to climb as long as the flows are in.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 23, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Do you have to be a 'guest' of a member to get that 30 a day price? There is ice southwest of Chicago in Utica, at Starved Rock State Park. They have continued to increase the limitations of where to climb over the last 15 years. Usually a short window of opportunity from late Jan to mid or late Feb depending on the conditions each year.


I may check out these places. Thanks for the suggestions.
Yes you do have to have a member "represent" you in order to be a guest at the Ice Pit. But with an easy way to contact them and such, I'm sure you can setup arrangements.

GD and Wialusing are on the other end of the state. It'd be just as far as Pictured Rocks.

Don't know where Starved Rock is, or Lone Rock. I'll check a map and figure some things out.

Thanks for the tips guys!


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By Ben Mahaffey
Nov 23, 2009
generic crack

Lone Rock is in the same area as Gov Dodge and Wyalusing. There are only a few flows and it is not really a destination per say but if you need to get an ice fix it is a place to go. I would look at www.climbingcentral.com they tend to have a fairly updated conditions section in the forums area, that also may be a good place to hook up with others


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 23, 2009
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

BITD (talkin' 'bout the sixties here) you used to be able to climb at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. Frozen waterfalls up to maybe 80 feet, free-standing columns, stuff we couldn't do with the equipment of the day except by using direct aid. I'd guess the park folks caught on long ago and have banned ice climbing by now.

Given a properly stormy winter, ice cliffs can form on the shore of Lake Michegan. The cliffs aren't much more than fifteen feet high at best, but they can go on horizontally for half a mile, offering mountain-sized traversing. If you fall off, you're likely to go into the lake, so the exposure is, in some sense, quite serious.

Here's a shot from a winter in the sixties when the cliffs formed. Note the vintage gear...



Typically we had to do a short rap to get in. Getting out could be challenging:


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
Nov 23, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Cool pictures!!!


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By Ron L Long
From Out yonder in Wisco.
Nov 23, 2009
City life

A couple things to set the record straight.

The membership fee to climb at "The Pit' is $200 per year, weekends and the occasional holidays only, as long as the season lasts. Some years this has been as early as Thanksgiving (though clearly not this year) others as late as New Years. End of the season usually comes in March, the main wall is north facing (and yes it is in a hole in the ground so it collects cold).

A guest fee ($30) is required to climb there (if you are not a member), you can only come twice per year as a guest. To become a member you need to be "sponsored" by an existing member due to a shared liability in insurance. If you do not know some one who is a member you can come as a guest of the club (you will get hooked up with a member for the day). We are not checking to see how well you climb, just to see if you appear to have a reasonable grasp on safety issues, again there is the liability issue. Any money you pay in guest fees gets deducted from your membership should you join (fees from that season get deducted from membership that season).

What do you get? As mentioned this operates as basically a members/guests ice climbing/climbing gym. Gear such as ropes, anchors, webbing are all club owned. The walls are up to 110' in height and largely dead vertical. Depending upon the day you could have 4 to 14 top-ropes to chose from, members are expected to participate in set-up and take down.

That is a basic over view, for more info email midwesticeclimber@gmail or PM me. For better or worse (depends upon who you ask) I am the club president that Jay speaks of....

By the way, the club is officially a "Not for Profit" organization so no one is making money off it.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 23, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

I'm most certainly interested in checking it out, Ron. And I know one, maybe two others who would be as well. Thanks for posting. :-)


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By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 25, 2009
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

rgold wrote:
BITD (talkin' 'bout the sixties here) you used to be able to climb at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. Frozen waterfalls up to maybe 80 feet, free-standing columns, stuff we couldn't do with the equipment of the day except by using direct aid. I'd guess the park folks caught on long ago and have banned ice climbing by now. Given a properly stormy winter, ice cliffs can form on the shore of Lake Michegan. The cliffs aren't much more than fifteen feet high at best, but they can go on horizontally for half a mile, offering mountain-sized traversing. If you fall off, you're likely to go into the lake, so the exposure is, in some sense, quite serious. Here's a shot from a winter in the sixties when the cliffs formed. Note the vintage gear... Typically we had to do a short rap to get in. Getting out could be challenging:


Starved Rock State Park 'officially' began to allow the ice climbing in Feb.1980. Footfangs soon were available and the classic Chouinard 'Zero' ice axe and hammer were the specialty tools of the day. My first climb there was with a rock hammer in one hand and an 85cm. hiking ice axe in the other with hinges crap'ons for my feet. Yes, they do have great pillars of ice, and most of the big ones are still open for climbing. They only ask for you to sign in/out at the ranger station and stay off the sandstone and trail boardwalks with your cramps'.


The Ice Dagger in French Canyon.
The Ice Dagger in French Canyon.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 26, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Starved Rock State Park 'officially' began to allow the ice climbing in Feb.1980. Yes, they do have great pillars of ice, and most of the big ones are still open for climbing. They only ask for you to sign in/out at the ranger station and stay off the sandstone and trail boardwalks with your cramps'.


Is this to say that many of the other falls are closed to climbing? I am seriously going to start looking into that location as it's only 3 hours away or so. I tried finding some park regulations on Starved Rock SP's official website, but couldn't find any,

. . . wasn't quite sure if I wanted to risk the "better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission" clause.

It's certainly great that they still let you climb there. I'll be making that a weekend trip this winter for sure.

That little bit of info really made my day! Thanks!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 26, 2009
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

No, don't expect to find any info at their web. It's currently a 'tolerated' sport, not a publicized one. When it began, we had a different park supt. He retired, and we are still walking softly with the new guy to be sure we can continue.
When the sport began here in 1980, part of the rationalization was that it required expensive gear and some training, so they probably wouldn't be overrun with carloads of rookies falling off the canyon rims. But now, things have changed somewhat. It's become very crowded with what I call the 'sport climbing' faction of ice. The leashless guys who insist on doing mixed routes of ice/rock. The #1 rule here is Stay Off The Rock! They want no tool or crampon damage and dry toolers will get us kicked out for good. Unfortunately, I also saw this happen last winter. There are now colleges that hand out ice gear to anyone who wants to check it out from their college outdoor adventure sports locker or something. No requirement to show they know knots, belaying, rope or tool use, anything! Now that's what will ruin the program here. A big crowd of inexperienced wankers out there with no knowledge.
climbingcentral.com is usually the place to find the updates on ice conditions. Expect to wait until late Jan. for Starved Rock ice to be ready. See 'ya there.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Nov 26, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
There are now colleges that hand out ice gear to anyone who wants to check it out from their college outdoor adventure sports locker or something. No requirement to show they know knots, belaying, rope or tool use, anything! Now that's what will ruin the program here. A big crowd of inexperienced wankers out there with no knowledge. climbingcentral.com is usually the place to find the updates on ice conditions. Expect to wait until late Jan. for Starved Rock ice to be ready. See 'ya there.


That's ridiculous! If they have no experience requirement to borrow gear, . . . there is far worse things that the officials will try legislate than damaging the rock with picks and crampons. I foresee someone getting impaled with an ice tool, or badly injured with shattered ankles (poor belay), or stabbing their calves with their front points. . . or far worse than that. Then that single injury/death get all sorts of bad publicity on the sport and officials will ban it completely "because it's dangerous". I hate it when stuff like that goes on! Officials tried to legislate banning climbing on Mt. Hood years ago because some people died.

But on the bright side of things, I'll certainly look forward to making my way down there for some quality ice routes!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 26, 2009
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

yeah Paul, I was shocked when I saw this college group outing. Some were climbers they said. But most were kids(18-20 I guess) in ski jackets and bibs, waiting their turn to be tied in and sent up to the ice. I must admit they did at least wear helmets and stay far clear of the climb when not tied in on belay, but the whole concept just bothered me. It's not the same as taking a bunch of wankers out to try a 5.4 rock route on a top rope. You just don't know what the ice will do, especially when you pick a vertical pillar like Tonti Canyon.
Enjoy this fabulous belay shot I took of them.

A back up belayer, with a spare backup belayer, ,, I think.  Go figure.
A back up belayer, with a spare backup belayer, ,, I think. Go figure.


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By Ron L Long
From Out yonder in Wisco.
Dec 3, 2009
City life

Any of you that might be interested in climbing at 'The Pit' might want to check out this.....


www.theicepit.org/default3.asp

This year will be the first Ice Pit Ice Festival & Demo Weekend on January 16-17, 2010.
"Kind Bars, DMM, Marmot, Osprey, Scarpa, Point 6 Socks and SOLE Footbeds, as well as Little Hotties, Red Bull, Yaktrax and more are coming......Saturday night event at the Ramada Inn, with a slide show from our Everest summiting club member, Lance Fox of New London, WI. Plus way more cool stuff to come!"


The Ice Pit is top rope climbing only and the ropes will be set for you that day. You need to bring & fill out two forms: 1. Liability & Release From and 2. Ice Pit Orientation Rules & Regulations Agreement Form (SEE BELOW); $10 per person CASH; and personal climbing gear (boots, crampons, harness, belay device, tools, helmet).
If you have any other questions or information about this event please contact Dan Kopperud @ dpkopperud@gmail.com or midwesticeclimbers@gmail.com. We look forward to meeting new climbers and welcome back others. We hope you have a fantastic experience climbing at The Ice Pit.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Dec 4, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

Cool! Is this something that everyone can be a part of or do the Guest/member fees still apply?

Otherwise, I'll try to get there if my weekend is open (and maybe a couple others)

I also just picked up this Superior Ice guide book from Climbing Central:

orders.climbingcentral.com/superior-ice.html

Don't know how good it is yet as its still in the mail, but it has over 300 routes from the midwest.


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By Ron L Long
From Out yonder in Wisco.
Dec 4, 2009
City life

This event is open to anyone, the $10 fee is the cost to ALL non-members. That will cover 1 day of climbing and/or the festivities on Saturday night. This is the first time we have tried something like this so I have no idea what the turn-out will be like, hopefully it will be good.

As of this week our water source is fully activated, we should be building ice as we speak. I hope to go and check things on Saturday. If this weather holds at all, we should be climbing before/near Christmas, it takes 2-3 weeks to build reasonable ice.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Dec 4, 2009
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

This sounds fantastic! My guess is it will be very busy. Hope you get another 20 extra ropes set up. Could be a long line of climbers waiting. What is the start time each day for this special weekend? I'm used to 6AM climbs down here in Ill. Looking forward to trying out the Pit' for once.


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By Paul Reineck
From Milwaukee, WI
Dec 4, 2009
Me on Mt. Hood!

Ron L Long wrote:
This event is open to anyone, the $10 fee is the cost to ALL non-members. That will cover 1 day of climbing and/or the festivities on Saturday night. This is the first time we have tried something like this so I have no idea what the turn-out will be like, hopefully it will be good. As of this week our water source is fully activated, we should be building ice as we speak. I hope to go and check things on Saturday. If this weather holds at all, we should be climbing before/near Christmas, it takes 2-3 weeks to build reasonable ice.


Totally awesome! I'm almost certain I can attend.

Just got my guide book in the mail today. They have the Ice Pit in there too. Seems like a pretty decent purchase.


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Dec 5, 2009

Wow, this event sounds great! If I were in the Midwest, I'd go!


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