The Chicago Sun-Times has a cool feature on ice climbing and the annual Michigan Ice Fest by Felicia Schneiderhan. The Ice Fest is held in Munising (home to over 100 climbable waterfalls) and celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Schneiderhan says:
Ice festivals are great for beginners since the cost of admission — $25 for the Michigan Ice Fest — includes use of the necessary and pricey gear: crampons, boots, pick axes and harness. (Helmets and eye protection are a must for falling ice, and you usually can borrow them at the climbing site.)
Event sponsors often let you try out clothing like snow pants, gloves and belay jackets. Classes are available for an extra fee, or you can try your luck at the “Curtains,” a popular site where dozens of climbers can help a newcomer.
Read Upper Peninsula, Mich.: Faster, stronger, better: Climbers brave wall of ice in test of wills at Michigan festival in the Sun-Times, get a bunch of photos of climbing the ice in the Munising area on Michigan in Pictures and learn more about the Michigan Ice Fest from Downwind Sports (the 2009 Ice Fest will take place Jan 31- Feb 2, 2009).