When water freezes around Lake Superior, that’s when things really get moving for ice climbers.
Some 17 years ago, ice climbers in the Midwest states began annual pilgrimages in search of early season ice climbs along the shore of Lake Superior from Pigeon River at the Minnesota border east to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Michigan. This area has the only guaranteed ice in the Midwest from December through May, and sometimes the ice forms mid-November and stays to June. In this 700 kilometer stretch, there are more than 300 frozen monoliths for ice-climbing enthusiasts to scale.
Some of the best ice climbing in the world is found around Lake Superior, considered the third best climbing destination in North America (after Colorado and New Hampshire).
There are places to climb all around the lake, in each of the three U.S. states and the Canadian province. In Orient Bay alone, on Ontario’s Lake Nipigon, there are about 128 climbs along 12 miles of highway: A higher concentration than anywhere else in the world and incredibly accessible.