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13 Scary-Ass Images Of What It's Like To Scale An Ice Mountain

Just like regular mountain climbing except for the thick sheets of ice.

Posted on February 27, 2018, at 5:10 p.m. ET

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Paul Garrison of Howell, Michigan, looks up at an immense ice formation.

The 2018 Michigan Ice Fest brought close to a thousand ice climbers to the Pictured Rocks Shoreline in the Upper Peninsula of the state for a five-day climbing festival earlier this month. What began informally over 30 years ago has grown into one of the largest and oldest ice climbing events in the country. This year's excellent conditions brought thrill-seekers of all ages, from 30 states and seven countries, to the ice formations located along the Lake Superior coast in Munising.

We sent photographer Mark Felix to cover the action as eager mountaineers grabbed climbing harnesses, strapped crampons to their feet, and grabbed a pair of ice axes to scale giant walls of ice.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

A climber ascends the ice formations on the east side of Grand Island over the frozen waters of Lake Superior.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Climbers ascend an ice formation in Trout Bay.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News
Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Climber Eric Greene scales an ice formation.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Left: A climber's rope dangles atop an ice curtain. Right: A climber pauses for a look below while rappelling down an ice formation.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Snowmobiles are the vehicles of choice to get climbers out to the ice.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Meet the mountaineers (clockwise from left): Carl Behrend of Marquette, Michigan; Neil Blythe of Erie, Pennsylvania; Mike Margoni of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Laura Andrews of Madison, Wisconsin.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

A climber heads out to set up ropes for a climb.

Mark Felix for BuzzFeed News

Father and son snowmobilers explore ice formations.


More of Mark Felix’s work can be found here and on Instagram.

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