I have never entirely understood the point of climbing mountains. Mallory's famous old line (if he ever really DID say it) that he wanted to climb Everest "Because it is there" has never seemed to me quite enough. All kinds of things are "there" in the world, which we dont feel the need -- or think it worthwhile -- to conquer. Without want to pour cold water on the efforts of Ben Fogle, swimming the Atlantic has never been top of most people's "wish I could" list, and we would take it as a curious obsession if we met someone who wanted to climb every tree in the country (because they were there). For many people mountains are obviously different (climb every mountain?) and I wouldnt for a minute want to stop then doing it -- but it's not for me.
This may have something to do with the fact that both my parents were passibly keen mountaineers and rock-climbers. And I was dragged up many a Welsh peak at too early an age. It was the cost-benefit analysis that I couldn't ever quite figure. When you had done it, what did you actually get out of it? My Dad would always enthuse about "the view", but not many under-10s are great admirers of mountainous panoramas. Although the parents decried it as desecration, I rather liked Snowdon, because there was at least a café when you got to the top -- though equally I could never really see why we couldnt have taken the little train to the summit.
Add to that a few nasty fatalities among the parents closest friends (from "falling off"), and I think you'll understand why I'm none too keen.
Anyway this all came back to me this week -- as we were "celebrating" the 60th anniversary of the Ascent of Everest.