» in search of ice, chapel area
On our first day, we decided to ski to Chapel Falls which we hoped would be frozen and provide us with an 80 foot climb. There were 7 in our party, 2 kids and 5 adults, many of whom had little or no skiing experience. Cross-country skiing isn't a particularly challenging thing to learn, unless you are skiing down steep hills or carrying a heavy pack that throws your balance off. This is because your feet are fastened to the skis about as securely as Britney Spears' baby while she is driving. I mean, your skis aren't going to fall off, but they also aren't necessarily going to go in the direction you want them to, or not slide out from under you like banana peels. Read more...

a canyon near the chapel trailhead.

an iced wall in the canyon, and paul & tyler skiing chapel road.

large ice shelf on chapel beach.

elaborate icicles on a lakeshore cliff.

looking towards grand portal point from some ice on chapel beach.

pancake ice on lake superior.

hanging ice.

glazed ice on chapel beach.

a narrow cove filled with ice chunks.

lake superior.

chapel rock.

chapel beach.


the tree on chapel rock, one of the battleships of "battleship row", and colorful ice (the same minerals that stain the cliffs, color the ice).


cliffs west of chapel beach.

ice under chapel rock.

ice covered cliffs to the east.

cliffs east of chapel beach.

chapel falls, too wet to climb.

kai climbing some unnamed ice falls near the chapel lake overlook.

firey sunset.

» ice climbing, sand point
There are ice formations all along the cliffs near Sand Point, only hundreds of feet from a plowed road, making them much more accessible than Chapel Falls. This was a good thing because after our adventure the day before, everyone was probably hating cross-country skiing at this point. We still had the place to ourselves and started out by climbing the "Ice Curtains" and then finished off at the "Dryer Hose". The Ice Curtains are about 30ft high at points and extend horizontally for 100ft. The kids enjoyed climbing around in the ice caves created in the spaces between the cliffs and the ice, as did I. Ice climbing was awesome, especially the Dryer Hose. It's not as easy as I thought it would be though, you can't just go up wherever you want if you are climbing a vertical piece of ice, you still need to look for footholds and good places to strike your axe.

me climbing the "ice curtains".

behind the "ice curtains".

the "dryer hose" ice column, and some ice seeps.

tyler climbing, and the gang hanging out.


me climbing the "dryer hose" (listed at 70ft), and tyler belaying.

peter exploring the ice caves.

the "amphitheater", and some other ice.

» munising falls
we had a bit of daylight left on saturday so we decided to make the short walk to munising falls just to see how it had changed since we had seen it a few months ago. turned out to be one of the cooler things we saw that weekend because at the base of the falls there was a big ice cone that had a tunnel in it and when you went into the tunnel you could see the water falling from above, inside the ice column, cascading on the rocks below, and collecting in a turbulent pool.

frozen munising falls, icicles outside an ice tunnel under the falls, and in the ice tunnel.

the view from the end of an ice tunnel at the base of the falls where you could see the waterfall still flowing strong, inside the ice. Click here to see a video of the falls in motion

me near the falls, and munising creek.

» other things

grand island (left) and the frozen munising bay. the abandoned east channel lighthouse on grand island can barely be seen on the far right point of the island.

alger falls (a roadside waterfall that greets you as you enter munising from the east), and having fun with long exposures at the bridge.


< Back to Photos & Trip Reports

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Thinking about traveling to Pictured Rocks yourself? You might want to read my guide to Pictured Rocks.

Ice Climbing, Michigan
March 4 - 5, 2011
Ice Climbing at Pictured Rocks with a side trip to Miners Castle.
Ice Climbing, Michigan
March 4 - 5, 2010
Ice climbing in the Sand Point area of Pictured Rocks.
The Upper Peninsula, Michigan
October 2 - 11, 2009
Enjoying fall in the Upper Peninsula from Pictured Rocks to the Porcupine Mountains to the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
October 3, 2009
Spending a short day on the island and enjoying the views, even without the influence of fudge.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 7 - 9, 2008
Skiing & snowshoeing in the Miners Castle & Grand Sable Dunes areas. We also checked out the ice in Grand Marais & Mackinac Straits.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 17, 2007
Hiking along the ice shelf from Twelvemile Beach to Spray Falls.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
January 27, 2007
Skiing & hiking the Chapel Loop in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on a stormy day.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 2 - 4, 2006
Ice climbing and skiing in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
January 7, 2006
A backcountry ski trip to the remote lakeshore cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
July 3 - 4, 2005
Hiking in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and checking out some of the other sights in the area.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
February 25 - 26, 2011
Backpacking the Chapel Loop in winter, with a side trip to Spray Falls.
Bare Bluff, Michigan
October 8, 2009
A fall hike to Bare Bluff, one of the more scenic areas of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
October 4 - 11, 2009
Some stormy fall weather along the Pictured Rocks lakeshore.
Ice Climbing, Michigan
February 25 - 27, 2009
Ice climbing in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
August 30 - September 2, 2007
Back to the Great Lakes with a rare summer visit to Pictured Rocks to see what it all looks like when it's green.
Mackinac Straits & Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 16 - 18, 2007
Skiing to Miners Castle, lingering in the Straits of Mackinac, and some other stuff.
Pictured Rocks in Fall, Michigan
October 7, 2006
Hiking the Chapel Loop & checking out other sights like Spray Falls, Miners Castle, Miners Beach, Munising Falls, Grand Sable Dunes, etc.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
February 19 - 20, 2006
Skiing & snowshoeing the Pictured Rocks backcountry. Areas visited include: Miners Castle, Miners Beach, Twelvemile Beach, and Spray Falls.
The Upper Peninsula, Michigan
December 26 - 28, 2005
Winter pictures from Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.