Warm Weather Leads To Ice Climbing Halt At Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Warm weather has led to a temporary halt in ice climbing at Sand Point in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore/NPS file

Unseasonable weather has forced closure of Sand Point in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan to all ice climbing activity to protect park trails and natural resources.

“Temperatures at Sand Point have been well above average for several days, resulting in considerable ice melt at popular ice climbing locations and severe snowmelt,” the National Park Service said. “Melt activity in combination with increased foot traffic has caused drastic deterioration of trail conditions and the potential for significant impacts on park resources.”

The forecast through Sunday does not appear to have the potential for ice building or snowfall, the agency added. Temperatures are predicted to remain well above average into the weekend.

“We value our long-standing partnership with Michigan Ice Fest,” Superintendent David Horne said, “and we both remain committed to protecting park resources and maintaining recreation access into the future.”

On a typical year, the park has several feet of snowpack on trails leading to ice climbing locations. Snowpack allows for foot traffic with limited impacts on the ground below. Without snow, areas with high foot traffic are extremely muddy and approaches to climbs are beginning to erode, which can have long-term effects on future trail conditions, park staff said.

Park staff is closely monitoring conditions to determine when ice climbing activity can resume on Sand Point.

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