Steve's Wish Climb

Steve's Wish Climb

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Recap

Home safe and sound.

Sadly, due to hazardous rock fall conditions, we had to turn around at the base of the 'Grey Tower', about 20,000'. We were about 18 hours from the summit, but lead guide Brian Warren felt the conditions were too dangerous to continue.

However, due to your support and generosity the expedition was a success because we will raise nearly $37,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Each of you were on the trip with me and during difficult times, I thought of all the Make-A-Wish kids and their struggles and they kept me going.

You can still become part of the Climbing Team by donating at the following link:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

At the bottom of the Grey Tower @ 20,000'

Our Sherpa Team

Camp 1

Camp 2

Yellow Tower 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Even with the recent political issues and fuel issues in Nepal, we are still scheduled to depart this Saturday.

My flights go through LA and Seoul, Korea then on to Kathmandu ... 30 hours later. From Kathmandu we fly in to Lukla next Wednesday, then trek to basecamp.

We still have space on the Climbing Team. TO DONATE TO MAKE-A-WISH CLICK HERE: Steve's Wish Climb

Monday, October 5, 2015


OK, so just 12 days to go to departure and I'm getting pretty anxious! I started to taper a bit on my fitness. I find to be very helpful in managing my time and workouts. But I'm still a bit nervous about my fitness so I'm going to stay at it for a bit longer, just cut down on the time and intensity.

I raised the goal to $32,000 because we've had so many generous people become a part of the joy of Make-A-Wish. We still have a few spots left on the climbing team, so if you'd like to be a part of the expedition click here:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

New members of the Expedition below:
My doc: Dr. Mark Florek

Shawn Fopma, Wakonda Club Iowa

Oakland Hills Golf Pro, Pat Croswell

Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines GC

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Goal!!

Thanks to your generosity, we've raised the goal ..... Now at $32,000!

Let's keep climbing!!!

Monday, September 21, 2015


Thank you to Purpose2play for the nice exposure article for Make-A-Wish. I'm not too comfortable with all the press, but if it's good for MAW then I'm all for it.

Thanks also to Hometown Life for the nice article giving MAW a little more PR!

I'm feeling really good and motivated with some excellent workouts since I returned from Wyoming.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Training on The Grand

Headed out to Jackson WY on Wednesday to do some training for Nepal. The terrain is similar, although at much lower elevation. This will be a good opportunity to test some gear and spend time with the lead guide on the Nepal expedition, Brian Warren from Alpenglow Expeditions.

Me and Brian Warren

Saturday, August 22, 2015

This Week

Today and tomorrow will be a long bike ride and a long hike/swim, about 6 hours total. Seven weeks from today I leave for Nepal, so time is short!

My heel pain seems to be under control...a visit to the doctor three days before I leave for a 'special' injection will carry me through the climb.

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support of Make-A-Wish! It means a lot to me and to the kids lives that we are improving.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How it all started

This is a great story about the beginning of Make-A-Wish. Truly inspirational and will be with me on my summit attempt:

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting Organized

I organized some space in the basement so I can start getting things ready and organized. Most of the gear I've used before so it's just a matter of checking everything off the list and making sure it all works properly. Fist aid kit the obvious starting point! Only 10 weeks to go!



Saturday, July 25, 2015


With my heel/foot pain limiting some of the weight bearing exercises I do, cycling is not a bad substitute. This week I hopped on the bike a bit and while it is not the best exercise for climbing it is a good endurance sport. Longer rides of 3 hours or so (if I can find the time) can be a great way to keep the heart rate up for an extended period.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Off to the doc this morning. Feels like plantar fasciitis is back in my left foot. Hasn't been a problem for several years, but training no doubt is the issue. I'll probably need 7 - 10 days off to get it calmed down. I've been successful at not over training but apparently I crossed the line!

Monday, July 13, 2015


I've decided to head out to Jackson, Wyoming to do some prep work for Ama Dablam. I'll be climbing for three days over Labor Day weekend with guide Brian Warren from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. He's also part owner of Alpenglow Expeditions and will be the guide on Ama Dablam in October. This will be a chance for us to work together and practice skills I'll need in Nepal and will also be a chance for Brian to see my climbing level and offer any last minute advice. 

The plan right now is one day of skills review and a 2 day ascent of the Grand Teton via the Petzhold Ridge.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gear Prep

Most of my gear I have used before and I'm pretty familiar with how it works in a harsh environment. But it's always nice to review everything and get the minor inconveniences repaired. Like checking all of the zipper pulls, making sure they are useable with gloves on. Some of the 'prefab' pulls are nice but 2mm cord works well too.

Please consider helping me get to $30,000 for Make-A-Wish so we can grant one more Wish:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Wish Granted! Thank you!

Because of your generosity, we are able to grant another Wish!

Wish child name: Olivia
Age: 12
Hometown: Fair Haven
Illness: Seizure Disorder
Wish: To Go To Walt Disney World Resort
Interests: Basketball, Baseball, Barbie’s
You too can become a Team member by donating any amount at the following link. 100% of your donation goes to Make-a-Wish and helps give Wish Families hope, strength and courage:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

16 Weeks To Go!

With 16 weeks remaining before departure, we still have $5,000 to go to reach our goal of $30,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. That $5,000 will be enough to grant one more Wish. A wish that may change the future for a child and their family.

The Make-A-Wish mission : We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Please consider helping me reach this goal.

Donate here:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Friday, June 5, 2015

Wish Climb Update 6.5.2015

My training in recent weeks has centered around aerobic conditioning: longer bike rides and pack weighted hikes. Some of that has been combined with running and swimming. In addition, I continue twice a week at either a Crossfit Box or D1 Detroit 'boot camp' style workout.

I still feel confident my summit chances are good, if we can get on the mountain. Many things need to fall in place for that to happen, but I'm on track.

Fundraising is steady. Thank you so much to all the donors, some of whom have donated 2 and 3 times. Your generosity continues to motivate me. As of today we're over $24,000!'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Thank you to my wife Robin and her graphic design business Whitfield Design for helping with promotional pieces and constant encouragement!

Oakland Press Article

An article in the Oakland Press chronicling a Bloomfield Hills man who was in Nepal during the April earthquake.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


I will be sending out a Constant Contact email update next week. My Wish Climb is still scheduled for this October.

Friday, May 15, 2015


As of today, my trip to Ama Dablam is still a go. The people of Nepal need the money that western guides and their clients bring. Climbing expeditions also help raise awareness of the devastation that occurred during the earthquake of April 25th.

Many of you have been asking about the dangers of a trip at this time. Not only do I want to continue to raise money for Make-A-Wish, but the dollars I spend in Nepal may also help many of the Sherpa guides whose homes were destroyed.

So I am still asking for your support. Please consider donating at the links on this blog.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

More Wish Facts

More than 78 percent of Michigan wishes require air travel, making it a critical – and costly – resource. In fact, we anticipate that more than 300 wishes will involve travel this year alone – that’s more than 98 million airlines miles.

"I wish to be a policeman."

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nepal Earthquake

Most of you are aware of the tragedy in Nepal over the weekend. At this time I do not know how this will impact my climb in November, certainly things have changed. My guide service Alpenglow Expeditons is currently on the North side of Everest opposite of the avalanche zone on the South side. They and their Sherpa are safe. However, many of their Sherpa guide's home villages were badly damaged.

I still plan on climbing this year to raise money for Make-A-Wish. I will keep you updated as the status becomes more clear. Meanwhile, here is a link to an article regarding charities helping in Nepal:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wish Facts

While doctors provide the medicine, Make-A-Wish Michigan supplies the magical experience that provides a positive and life-changing experience. In fact, a recent Make-A-Wish® America survey found that 97 percent of parents said the wish experience strengthened their families.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

VO2 Test

VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. It is measured as "milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight."  (ml/kg/minute) This is considered a good measure of an athletes cardiovascular fitness.

Yesterday I took this test and scored 51.1. For my age group (50-55 yrs old) an excellent score is >45 ml/kg/minute. This also puts me in the "superior" category for the (much younger!) 30-39 age group. So I was very pleased! My goal is to get this number to 53-54 ml/kg/min.

I still have some work to do in the lower heart rate zones to improve "cardiovascular endurance", but I will achieve this in the next 90 days. I take the test again in July, I'll let you know the results. So far ...on track.

If the Wish Children can fight to get better .... so can we!

I NEED YOUR HELP TO GRANT WISHES, DONATE HERE:'s-Wish-Climb.htm's-Wish-Climb.htm


Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Vo2 submax test today to judge my current level of fitness. This test measures the volume of oxygen the body can use and is a good test for an endurance athlete. Once I get the results I'll be able to tweak my workouts for the next 90-day training period.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2ND Wish Granted!!!

Thank you for granting Wish #2 to Donnivan, age 7 from Redford, Michigan. Donnivan suffers from a Hematological Disorder and his Wish was to go to Disneyland. Thank you so much for helping me grant this Wish to Donnivan and his family.
According to the results of a 2011 Wish Impact Study that surveyed wish parents, health professionals, and Make-A-Wish® volunteers, a wish come true empowers children with life-threatening medical conditions to fight harder against their illnesses. When wish kids are granted a wish, they get more than just a great experience for a day, two days, or a week. That experience improves the quality of life for them and their entire family.

I need your help to grant Wishes for kids like Donnivan. We still have a ways to go to get to $30,000:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Thursday, April 9, 2015

At Home Too

Sometimes it's better to find a workout at home, in many ways it's easier ... and less exposure to the sickness' that float around the gym. I've got a "home gym" set up in the basement and my bike on a trainer. Riding indoors right now will get me ready to hit the road when the weather changes. (Thanks to the resident photographer and designer for making me look reasonable.)

BE A WISH GRANTER TOO:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Monday, April 6, 2015

Thanks Joe Spurgeon

Joined a new CrossFit box today, just down the road from work. With our busy season starting, this will allow me the opportunity to leave work and get my workouts in during the day. I'll still be at CrossFit Justice in Milford too.

The next 90 days goals: increase hours per week from 8 to 10, with most of the additional workload coming on the weekends through long hikes and bike rides.

I want to thank Joe and Jane Spurgeon for donating AGAIN! to Make-A-Wish. Joe works on our Turf team and has a nice tradition of bringing in donuts every Friday for the entire crew. Thanks Joe!

BE A WISH GRANTER TOO:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Your Impact

According to the results of a 2011 Wish Impact Study that surveyed wish parents, health professionals, and Make-A-Wish® volunteers, a wish come true empowers children with life-threatening medical conditions to fight harder against their illnesses. When wish kids are granted a wish, they get more than just a great experience for a day, two days, or a week. That experience improves the quality of life for them and their entire family.

Health professionals treating them say the wish experience is an important adjunct to medical treatment, and they observe their patients feel better and comply more readily with treatment protocols when they experience their wish come true. And the community volunteers who grant wishes say the wish granting process heightens both their ability to see the best in others, and their commitment to actively help more people in need.

DONATE HERE:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Goal

Last night, we passed the original goal of $22,500 and I put a new goal of $30,000 up on the website. This would allow us to grant 6 wishes, like Paytons' below. Thank you to all of you Wish Granters! Your donations are really motivating me!

I have also signed up with a guide service: Alpenglow. They have run several trips to Ama Dablam and I'm confident they will run a safe and fun trip.

Training is going great and I would like to thank Crossfit Justice in Milford Michigan for taking me to a new level. I really love their system of classes and community they've developed. I feel like I've missed something if I miss my 2x/week class.


Payton's Wish - "I want a Pirate Ship"

Friday, March 20, 2015

Make-A-Wish Meeting

I met with Susan Smith and Leah Borst yesterday at the Make-A-Wish office in Brighton, Michigan. A really dedicated and professional staff and it should be noted that at least 80% of every dollar raised goes to granting wishes. Wish family doctors have confirmed that wish children get better once they're in the make-A-Wish program. So to all of you ... keep it up!

We discussed how well the fundraising is going, with over $20,000 raised in just 4 months, pretty incredible and due to all of the donors generosity. We also talked about the 2nd and 3rd wishes that will be granted soon and I'll have more on that upcoming.

They had some ideas for me regarding media press releases so hopefully you'll see more on that soon.

Donate here:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Susan Smith's daughter Lucy, a Make-A-Wish kid

Monday, March 16, 2015

Big Step

Booked the flight yesterday! A lot of travel to get 1/2 way around the world, almost 25 hours there and over 30 hours on the way back. Detroit-LA-China-Kathmandu. I've traveled a lot to Europe and thought a 9 hour direct flight was long. Still need to select a guide service, but that's almost complete too.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update Training

I continue with HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) at Crossfit Justice in Milford and at D1 Detroit in Bloomfield Hills. Two to three days per week is adequate for the moment for this kind of workout. The other days are lower intensity endurance workouts.

I've broken up the next 7 months into workout 'pods'. Until mid-April I'll focus on these types of HITT/strength workouts. Then the following 90 days will be strictly endurance 8-10 hours/week followed by the final 3 months a combination of both 10-12 hours per week. My plan is that this varying exercise routine will keep me injury free until I leave.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Considering the fight that Wish Kids are experiencing, my training pain seems easier to accept. I've been a big fan of Crossfit Justice in Milford. They have a "Crossfit light" program I like called Streamline. It's all the Crossfit stuff we love without the heavy Olympic weightlifting moves.

Friday's workout was:
250 air squats
100 Abmatts
225 jumping jacks
100 meter row

I followed that with a 45 minute spin class interspersed with TRX core and upper body work. I was pretty spent! What keeps me focused are the Wish kids. Their mountain is a lot higher than mine.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thank You Boss

Chris Berlin, GM at Oakland Hills has been a big supporter of fundraising for the staff and for my Wish Climb. Chris has been at Oakland since 2009, cares deeply about servicing the members, readily accepts change and allows the staff to run their respective departments.

Thanks Chris and Jennie for your generous support of my Make-A-Wish project.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Donations Continue

Thank you to all the donors who have now pushed us over $18,000! Contributions continue on an almost daily basis and we have already granted our first wish. More details on that upcoming.

I continue my fitness plan at D1 in Bloomfield hills and Crossfit Justice in Milford. Along with strength training, stretching, hiking and swimming I'm feeling great ... and confident.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gear Check

The recent snow was a great opportunity (5degF) to take a hike and check gear and with winter leaving us soon in Michigan, these opportunities won't last long. Pack, mountaineering boots, layering system, gloves etc. Using all these pieces in cold weather is critical to success on the mountain at altitude. Walking with 60#'s in deep snow is a chance to work on posture: walking upright smoothly and deliberately takes practice and will be important on Ama Dablam.

If you'd like to be a Wish Granter, you can donate here:'s-Wish-Climb.htm

Island Lake state park

Monday, February 2, 2015


I spent the week last week getting back to the gym and working on my fitness. For the next several weeks I'll be focused on strength and base cardio, then when the weather turns I'll take those gains outside.

The snow yesterday and today was a great opportunity to check my gear and layering systems. I won't have that opportunity again when spring arrives. Maneuvering gloves, hats, boots and eyewear is much more difficult with large gloves on, gloves that cannot be taken off at altitude. So getting comfortable changing and handling gear with large gloves is critical. Any wasted energy handling gear is energy not available for climbing. Efficiency is key!

climbing on Ama Dablam

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back From Ouray Training!

Just returned from a week in Ouray, climbing ice, working on ascending fixed lines, passing anchors etc. Had great fun with Tim and Peak Mountain Guides. Getting excited for Ama Dablam in October!!

I took a couple of days off when I returned, then back to the gym.

Working on technique
Tim Brown, IFMGA guide

If you'd like to donate to my Wish Climb in support of Make A Wish, follow this link:

Steve's Wish Climb for Make A Wish

Monday, January 12, 2015

Leaving for Ouray

This week I leave for Ouray, CO to do a little climbing, my "skills" challenge. If all goes well, in February I'll be booking my trip to Nepal. I'll be climbing this week and next with guide Tim Brown through Peak Mountain Guides. Tim and I met climbing the Grand Teton a couple of years ago and have spent several days in the mountains together. He's safe, knowledgeable and a good teacher. Having achieved the highest level of certification in each of the three American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) disciplines (Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering), he is a fully licensed International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA) guide.
Tim Brown

Friday, January 9, 2015

First In

I want to thank Jeff Frentz, a former Superintendent on the South Course at Oakland Hills and now at Lakeshore CC north of Chicago. When I told Jeff of my Wish Climb plans, I received a check in the mail 2 days later. His was the first donation. Jeff left a permanent mark on our operation at Oakland Hills, building loyalty and teamwork among the staff. His guidance during the Ryder Cup in 2004 was key to the success of that event and now he's making his own mark at a great club. We're still good friends and he's a peer I can rely on. Thank you Jeff, I'm not too surprised you were the first donor!

Jeff in 2004

Monday, January 5, 2015


We made it to $12,000 ... over 50% of our total goal. Thank all of you so very much. Your generosity is overwhelming.