Thursday, July 31, 2014

Running Chicago for Concordia - To God be the Glory

Dear friends,

In October (2014) I will be running in the Chicago Marathon.  It is my first attempt at running in such a classic race.  I've been training very hard for it, just ask Sarah, and I am excited about this opportunity.

More importantly, this really isn't about me.  I am running with a team from my alma mater Concordia Chicago to help raise money for a pair of good causes that will benefit thousands of people in the greater community.  Part of our team is raising money for a Literacy Center on campus and the other half, myself included, are raising money for a Community Fitness Center.  It makes running in the marathon all about giving back and loving thy neighbor.  

What each of us has been tasked to do, as a part of our being a member on this team, is to raise at least $1000 to support this cause.  I am honored to be a part of this and humbly am looking for my brothers and sisters in Christ to step up and offer their support of these community projects at Concordia Chicago.  

To be a part of this good cause follow my link ( to my bio page hosted by "4aGoodCause" and there is a "Donate Now" link on that page.  You can also send check donations via snail mail to the campus of Concordia Chicago and mark my name and Chicago Marathon on your check so they route it to the right place.

Thank you so much for reading and for considering being a part of this wonderful event.  Below you can see more of my story that our team organizers have asked me to write.  That same story is also on my bio page at the link above.  God bless.

My Story

I am blessed to be pastor of Grace Lutheran Church (Monroe, MI) and Teacher at Lutheran High South (Newport, MI). In my years teaching at LHS I've seen them develop a wonderful tradition and theme that governs what they do: 'To God be the glory.' This seems to be the perfect way to describe why I've joined Concordia Chicago's Marathon Team for 2014.

Running is a pastime I've picked up in the last few years. I used to run here and there just enough to stay in shape for summer hiking trips. As my passion for summer hiking grew, and I realized I could only indulge that passion for 2 weeks a summer, another passion had to grow to cover the other 11 1/2 months of the year: so enters running.

In the past year I pushed my limits over and over with more and more distance running. For several years I'd thought about 8 or 9 miles would have been at my limit. Then I set the goal: let's do 13.1, a half marathon. I worked towards that and it was accomplished. This led to the goal for this fall: go for the whole 26.2 miles.

One problem I've faced though is most major marathons are run on Sundays. This is a practical problem for me as a pastor as that happens to be the one day I work each week (Just kidding, if you know what I mean). I couldn't see telling my congregation that I needed to get away for a Sunday just because I felt the need to go run a race (especially at a time when I'm the sole pastor). I was looking around for any great opportunity that would arise and then I heard about Concordia's Team running for the Chicago Marathon. To run for my alma mater and to support them by raising money for a Community Fitness center became the perfect way to do this to God's glory and not just because I felt like it.

It is especially great to be supporting Concordia Chicago as this university is alma mater to such a large portion of my family: father, mother, uncle, wife, brother, sister-in-law and so many of my closest friends. It has also been the career home of my father Dr. Dennis Witte.

So now that the plans are in place it is time to simply make it happen. I am humbly going to ask for the support of all my family, friends, and Christian neighbors in this life to raise up some fantastic support for Concordia Chicago's Community Fitness Center. I also wish for prayers and support for my training efforts to be ready to run this marathon and run it well.

My thanks and to God be the glory.

Rev. Mark K. Witte -- Monroe, Michigan

(If you'd like to help share this page you can use this short-link to help simplify things:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quandary Peak 2014

Route Name: East Ridge
Trailhead Elevation: 10,850 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,265 ft.
Distance: 6.49 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3,450 ft.
Start Time: 4:45am
Summit Time: 6:25am (5 minutes on top)
End Time: 7:35am
RT Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Trip Report:

Quandary Peak will always hold a special place in my Colorado 14er memories as it has been the location of now several firsts for me.  In 1991 it was my very first 14er summit.  In a way I'm proud to share that we began our climb many years before 14er climbing began to hit the mainstream and websites and other guides made them so much more accessible.  We began in the days of carrying the Roach or the Lampert book along on the hike to make sure you knew what you were doing.  Back to the topic at hand, in 2010 Quandary became my first winter 14er ascent.  And now in 2014 it was my first solo ascent on a 14er.  Of course, in this day and age when everyone is climbing Quandary I'm not really going to make any big deal about that last one.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

El Diente Peak

Route Name: South Slopes from Kilpacker Basin
Trailhead Elevation: 10,395 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,015 ft.
Distance: 11.9 mi.
Elevation Gain: 4,766 ft.
Start Time: 4:12am
Summit Time: 10:00am (25 minutes on top)
End Time: 3:42pm

Trip Report:

This was round #2 of our attempts on El Diente Peak.  Last July we were camping at the lovely Kilpacker Basin trail, we made the hike up into Kilpacker basin, we even made it up to 12,500 feet at the base of the South Slopes route, and the weather prohibited further passage.  We were even there before 7am and the clouds were thick and the sprinkles were starting.  Wisely, we chose to turn around as the south slopes of El Diente are not a place to be when everything is wet.  This necessitated our now 2014 attempt.  I've already once laid out several of my thoughts and photos on the basic Kilpacker Basin hike and so I won't revisit all of those in this trip report.  I would commend to you my 2013 Kilpacker Basin trip report as good reading for that portion of this hike.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wetterhorn Peak

Route Name: Southeast Ridge
2WD Trailhead Elevation: 10,395 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,015 ft.
Distance: 8.67 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3,850 ft.
Start Time: 8:21am
Summit Time: 12:14pm (32 minutes on top)
End Time: 3:47pm

Trip Report:

Today's hike almost didn't happen.  If you read my Snowmass trip report you'll see that we didn't make the Snowmass trailhead until 8:30pm last night.  We then had to drive from that trailhead through Snowmass Village, and beyond.  Our original plans had us heading for the Wetterhorn trailhead to camp there, but it would be over a 3 1/2 hour drive.  We added to the time crunch by stopping in Aspen to grab a quick supper.  As we drove over Independence Pass we made the wise decision to grab a hotel in Gunnison to ease our pains.  It wasn't until 1am that we arrived there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Snowmass Mountain

Snowmass Mountain became #50 on our list of the 54 Fourteeners to climb in Colorado and so it was time to get acquainted.  We had heard and read of the loose rock and the challenge that all the Elk Range peaks offer and so this led us to some cautious anticipation.  We also know the fun and varying experience that snow offers and so the thought of hiking in the snowmass on Snowmass was a bit exciting as well.

Day 1: Tuesday, July 15

Route Name: Snowmass Creek Trail (Maroon-Snowmass Trail)
Trailhead Elevation: 8,400 ft.
Camp Elevation: 10,800 ft.
Distance: 7.87 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,891 ft.
Start Time: 2:54pm
End Time: 7:33pm

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Missouri Gulch & Mt. Belford Backpacking with the Boys

Ever wanted to take 3 kids under the age of 10 on a backpacking trip?  We did.  My father and I have been avid backpacker's since our first trip in 1999 and with my 3 sons beginning to get older I wanted them to begin to have the same experience.  One big problem though: how do you get all the gear you need into the wilderness with little bodies that cannot carry much?   That's what we would find out.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mt. Royal 2014

The summit ridge on Mt. Royal has some good rock
Route Name: Mt. Royal trail
Start Elevation: 9,086 ft.
Mt. Royal Elevation: 10,422 ft.
Distance: 3.6 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,483 ft.

Start Time: 9:00am
Summit ridge time: 9:39am
End Time: 10:05pm
Duration: 1 hrs 4 mins


Mt. Royal has become an almost annual acclimatization hike for us Midwestern flatlanders.  Its almost to the point where I may not even blog or make trip reports about it.  There isn't anything new to say about the trail itself which is pretty straightforward, but the experience is still rewarding so I share it.  Plus, there are always great photos to be had as there are on any good hike.

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