Cold, icy conditions hinder New Year's plunge

CREATED Jan. 1, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan. 1, 2014

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MILWAUKEE— Extreme cold and a buildup of ice caused issues for Wisconsinites looking to continue a New Year’s tradition.

Hundreds of people looking to participate in this year’s ‘polar plunge’ found a huge mass of jagged ice standing between them and the frigid waters of Lake Michigan.

"Every year in the past, I was able to go underwater, get up, and get my sorry, cold butt out of town. This year, it's a little different," said Mike Steggeman of Milwaukee.

2014's pilgrimage was more of an individual mission than a team effort.  The ice prevented the pack of swimmers from plunging together.

"They have an ice shelf--a four foot wall that they have to climb--to get into the water. Then, they have to come back over that to get out of the water,” explained Battalion Chief Brian Smith of the Milwaukee Fire Department.

“Sometimes, with the cold temperatures, people are getting stuck and need assistance.”

Though Milwaukeeans braved the cold, Kenosha canceled its New Year’s Day plunge due to the frigid conditions.

Click through the photo gallery above to see more shots from the Polar Plunge.