Mt. Kilimanjaro

Lyons Man Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

The 47-year-old suburban resident was the oldest in his group to make it to the summit

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The Lyons community is celebrating a big accomplishment by the one of their own. Stephan Alheim successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in January.

"As a community, we are proud of him. And as a community, we celebrate him in his accomplishments," said Lyons Mayor Chris Getty at a reception in Alheim's honor Tuesday.

"Alheim stands as an inspiration to all those looking to accomplish a dream," said Getty.

At 47, Alheim was the oldest in his group of 10 to make it to the summit of the world's tallest freestanding mountain. Only seven finished the climb in full.

Alheim began the trek on Jan. 23 and reached the peak on Jan. 30. He returned home Sunday, Feb. 6.

"I think Kilimanjaro is a very achievable mountain for almost anyone out there if two things: you’re willing to put in some work beforehand and you have the right mindset," said Alheim.

Alheim is a longtime fitness trainer and credits his bodyweight work and breath training for his success.

"I learned a lot about my body, and my training," said Alheim, who now plans to start a program to help others who also hope to climb Kilimanjaro.

"It was a really cool experience," he said.

But, it wasn't without its challenges. Alheim and others suffered from altitude sickness. At one point, it was so cold, their water froze. They went without hydration for four hours.

"I was one of the most under-dressed people because I like to challenge myself in different ways. I was taking ice baths before the trip," said Alheim. "The trip down was the most taxing on my body."

"[Summit day] totaled out to be about a 16-hour day," he said.

During the toughest parts of the climb, Alheim thought of his father, who passed in 2015 from a heart attack. That inspired him that life is short. He switched from a job in IT to full-time fitness instructor.

"I wanted to do this for my dad, to make him proud," said Alheim.

Kilimanjaro was the first mountain, but Alheim is already planning his next climb.

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