Stephan Alheim pauses during his 19,431-foot climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. (Supplied photo)

Stephan Alheim pauses during his 19,431-foot climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. (Supplied photo)

Lyons man ‘accomplished something’ with Kilimanjaro climb

By Steve Metsch

Stephan Alheim of Lyons learned a lot about himself while making the 19,341-foot climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

He learned preparation is important, especially when it comes to breathing properly. He also learned to have faith in the climbing guides. And he learned to always bring an extra layer.

“It was pretty cold the day we got to the crest,” he said, saying his water froze.

Alheim recounted his journey during a news conference Feb. 8 at the Lyons Village Hall.

It was put together by Mayor Christopher Getty, a client of Alheim, who is a fitness trainer.

Getty said he’d been often asked by many residents about Alheim’s climb and decided to offer him a chance to share his story.

And what a story it is.

Alheim and his nine fellow climbers began their ascent on Jan. 23, reaching the summit at 8 a.m. Jan. 27. They needed two days to descend the dormant volcano, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.

“I never had a vacation where I came back and felt like I accomplished something. All vacations are great, but this one stood out for that reason,” Alheim, 47, said.

He learned of the climb in April 2021 from a business colleague. Being a trainer, he loves to test his body. This fit the bill.

He and the team hiked up four to seven hours a day, 10,000 to 30,000 steps daily.

“Summit Day was intense, 16 hours. We woke up at 11 p.m. (Jan. 26), we were all anxious. We started our ascent to the summit at midnight. The whole scene was so surreal, so beautiful.”

The ascent took eight hours. So did the descent that day. They finished the descent the next day

He was under-dressed for the 15-degree weather at the summit, “but once we got moving, everything was fine.”

“The trip down was the most taxing on my body,” he said. “All that downhill puts a toll on your body. My left knee, which had a patella tendon repaired, was fired up that day.”

Three of the 10 climbers did not finish the climb because of health troubles. One had a COVID-19 scare, and one had altitude sickness. The altitude did give Alheim headaches, he said, but he toughed it out.

A breathing instructor, he was glad he did breathing exercises for the higher elevations.

One reason he decided to climb was his late father, Pete, whose death in 2015 inspired him to leave his IT career and follow his dream of starting a fitness training business.

“On the mountain, when the going got tough, or it got colder, although I thought, ‘Wow, this really stinks,’ I said I want to do this for my dad, make him proud. The mind always gives up first,” he said.

The transition from the base of the mountain to the summit led them through four climate zones: Rain forest; heather, which is shrubbery and tall grass; alpine desert; and the Arctic summit at 16,000 feet and higher.

“It was just really beautiful,” he said. “I’m so happy I went. Great pictures. Great memories.”

Kilimanjaro is achievable for pretty much anyone if they train first and are willing “to put in the work.”

“The guides are so good. ‘Grab here, step here, move up.’ If you have the right training plan, preferably possibly mine, and you work on your strength, your mobility, your breathing, and you have good range of motion, I think Kilimanjaro is achievable for a lot of people.”

Alheim “stands as an inspiration to all those looking to accomplish a dream,” Getty said. “As a community, we are proud of him.”

Asked about being called an inspiration, Alheim said: “Everybody might have their own mountain. Maybe it’s something they’ve wanted to do. If they work at it …”

His work translated to 128,562 steps in seven days on the mountain.

“I went in overconfident. I went in thinking it would be easier,” he admitted. “So, Summit Day was harder than I thought, especially with a headache and my water freezing.”

“It made me respect the mountain when you get kicked a little bit.”

After Kilimanjaro, Alheim went on a safari in Tanzania, noting a cheetah jumped atop one of the vehicles. “We saw lions, elephants, giraffes. It was awesome.”

Would he attempt another climb?

“I would do it again,” Alheim said. “I kind of want to go back to Kilimanjaro and do a different route. Maybe a faster one.”

dvn mountain climber t shirt

Stephan Alheim, of Lyons, shows off the T-shirt he received after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Mayor Christopher Getty is a client at his business, Trainer Alheim, in the village. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Local News

Palos Heights Alderman Heather Begley said members of the Recreation Advisory Board are now OK with proposed changes that could be coming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Changes coming to Palos Heights RAB despite resistance from McGovern

By Jeff Vorva The Palos Heights City Council is expected to approve new guidelines and regulations for the Recreation Advisory Board on Tuesday and at least one alderman doesn’t like what he sees. Jerry McGovern took issue with the proposed changes. “As many times as I read through this thing, I have to turn around…

Attorney Marcia Owens presents a modified request for additional parking for Wu's House restaurant at Monday's Palos Park meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Wu’s House modifies parking proposal to Palos Park council

By Jeff Vorva Wu’s House restaurant was rejected once in a bid for extra parking space, but is trying again. The eatery, which is located at 12300 S. LaGrange Road, is seeking an extra 82 spots — many on land next to the business. Citizens expressed concerns during a Plan Commission meeting and the request…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Volleyball: Marist knocks Mother McAuley from unbeaten ranks

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Kamryn Chaney had the “eye of the tiger” and Marist got a huge win over their arch-rivals. Hosting Mother McAuley in the regular season for the first time in four years, the RedHawks came out focused. Chaney clubbed a match-high 12 kills and added five blocks and eight digs and an…

Martin Hopkins, a 2009 St. Rita graduate, will lead the school's football program beginning next season. Supplied photo

Area sports roundup: No drama here, St. Rita grad Hopkins named Mustangs football coach

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer There will be no drama waiting to see who the will coach St. Rita’s football team in 2023. Even though there are four weeks to go in the 2022 regular season, the school last week named Martin Hopkins the successor to Todd Kuska. Kuska, in his 25th season as the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Football: Evergreen Park edges Reavis in SSC Red

By Steve Millar Correspondent The back-and-forth battle waged against Reavis in Week 5 was the kind of game for which Evergreen Park prepares. It provided the Mustangs a chance to test how they would respond in an intense situation. They passed the test. “Resilience was the key,” Evergreen Park coach Jerry Verde said after the…

Lyons’ James Georgelos goes in for a tackle of York’s Brian Filosa. Photo by Steve Metsch

Football: York hands Lyons first loss of season

By Steve Metsch Correspondent Lyons’ bid for a fifth win and to essentially clinch a playoff spot was put on hold by York and junior running back Jake Melion. Melion, thrust into the RB1 role because of an injury to starter Kelly Watson, ran for three touchdowns in a 27-14 win for the Dukes. Lions…

regional ppwc

Palos Park Woman’s Club turns 120

The Palos Park Woman’s Club officially turned 120 years old on August 21, 2022. A celebration was held on that day at the Palos Park Rec Center with approximately 100 people in attendance including members, local dignitaries, family and friends. The Village of Palos Park recently proclaimed August 21 through September 17 as Palos Park…

Northwestern College Summer Quarter Nursing graduates hold lanterns during their Pinning Ceremony, symbolizing the passing of the flame from the founder of professional nursing, Florence Nightingale. (Supplied photo)

Northwestern College holds summer pinning ceremony

Northwestern College’s Violet L. Schumacher School of Nursing held a Pinning Ceremony for its Summer Quarter Nursing graduates on September 8. The ceremony was conducted at the Oak Lawn Public Library’s lower-level conference room, a new location following the college’s recent move from Bridgeview to Oak Lawn. The traditional ceremony marks the formal induction of…

dvn community calendar

Join the Polish American Cultural Club Meetings of the Polish American Cultural Club are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at American Legion Post 1941, 900 S. La Grange Road, La Grange. Dues are $20 per year for individual membership and $35 for a family membership. The mission of our…

MVCC Halloween 5k 2015

9th annual Halloween run at Moraine Valley

Grab a costume, dress up the kids and head to the ninth annual Halloween 5K run/walk and Kid’s Dash on Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 a.m., at Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills. Participants can walk or run the officially timed 5K (3.1 mile) path throughout campus. The Kid’s Dash will start…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
CAPITOL RECAP: State announces further unemployment debt repayment

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces further unemployment debt repayment

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a plan Tuesday, Sept. 27, to reduce a $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit by $450 million through an infusion of unemployment-related revenues. The trust fund is the pool of money paid into by employers to provide a social safety net for unemployed individuals. The employer’s insurance premiums…

State to reduce $1.8 billion federal unemployment debt by $450 million

State to reduce $1.8 billion federal unemployment debt by $450 million

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a plan Tuesday to reduce a $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit by $450 million through an infusion of unemployment-related revenues. The trust fund is the pool of money paid into by employers to provide a social safety net for unemployed…

Capitol News Illinois to expand operations with $2 million McCormick Foundation grant

Capitol News Illinois to expand operations with $2 million McCormick Foundation grant

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Capitol News Illinois will significantly expand its operations as it enters the fifth year of operations in 2023 because of a significant grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The McCormick Foundation has announced a three-year, $2 million investment in Capitol News Illinois, a nonprofit news organization that provides…

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday to three felony counts stemming from an alleged bribery scheme involving a red light camera company. Jones, 44, is a Chicago Democrat who has served in the Senate since 2009. He is also the…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office. Former Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and former Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, argued…

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III has been charged in federal court with three criminal counts tied to his dealings with a red light camera company. Jones, a Chicago Democrat, is the son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. The younger Jones has served in the Senate since 2009…

Treasurer’s Race: Frerichs touts investment gains, Demmer sees opportunity for GOP check

Treasurer’s Race: Frerichs touts investment gains, Demmer sees opportunity for GOP check

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In Illinois, the role of state treasurer is that of chief investment officer. Treasurer Michael Frerichs has held that position for two full terms, winning by less than 10,000 votes in 2014 before cruising to an 18 percentage-point victory in 2018. He boasts that Illinois has…

Sen. Emil Jones III charged in bribery scheme

Sen. Emil Jones III charged in bribery scheme

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III has been charged in federal court with three criminal counts tied to his dealings with a red light camera company. Jones, a Chicago Democrat, is the son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. The younger Jones has served in the…

DVN Very Gentle Dental Care House Ad
CRR NH Fireside Realty House Ad