UPDATE: Search scaled back, name released of missing ice climber near Miners Castle

The National Park Service continues to search for a Gaylord man from land.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 9:10 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 3:48 PM EST
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has released the name of the missing ice climber near Miners Castle.

James Bake, 31, of Gaylord, was climbing when waves resulted in his fall from an icy rock ledge into Lake Superior.

The National Park Service says staff will continue to search the waters from land.

The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday.

The 32-year-old man was climbing with a friend when he fell. After receiving a report of the mishap at about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sector Sault Ste. Marie joined an interagency response with National Park Service Rangers and the Alger County Rescue 21 team.

The Coast Guard routinely trains with both agencies for similar emergencies, and sent an ice rescue team from Station Marquette and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Traverse City to join the search. Difficult weather conditions prevented the ice rescue team from launching. The helicopter searched into the evening but was unable to locate the missing man, and a second helicopter from Air Station Traverse City returned at first light Wednesday and completed its search, also with no sightings.

Even with highly specialized safety gear, recreation on and around ice and cold water is inherently dangerous. The Coast Guard urges anyone participating in these activities to remember:

• Take precautions, not chances. Survival time in cold water is greatly diminished.

• Wear a life jacket and dress for the water temperatures, not the air temperatures. Cold water lowers body heat dramatically faster than cold air.

• Whenever possible, carry a VHF-FM radio or personal locator beacon. Remember, freezing temperatures drain batteries quickly.

• Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return, and use the buddy system whenever possible. Every minute counts in a cold-water environment.

Update: Feb 8, 2023 2:00 P.M.

The search for an ice climber missing near Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore continues.

According to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the search is ongoing Wednesday afternoon.

TV6 and FOX UP will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

Last published: Feb 8, 2023 8:35:54 AM

A search mission will resume Wednesday in Lake Superior for an ice climber missing near Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

According to the National Park Service, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore received a 911 report at approximately 5:15 p.m. Tuesday that an ice climber fell from the Miners Castle cliff formation. A multi-agency team, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Alger County Rescue 21, and the National Park Service, have responded.

The Coast Guard says crews searched the area Tuesday evening.

Crews from the Marquette Coast Guard Station responded along with a helicopter from the Traverse City Coast Guard Station.

The Coast Guard says there are plans to continue searching in the morning. The search Tuesday evening was difficult because of unfavorable ice conditions and 5-7 feet waves.

Miners Castle is located about 5 miles east of Munising on Alger County Road H-58, then 6 miles north on Miners Castle Road (H-11). It is one of the most famous landmarks along the Pictured Rocks shoreline and is the only cliff area in the park accessible by vehicle. In the winter, it is only accessible by snowmobile as Miners Castle Road is not plowed.