So what's the big deal? People spend years preparing; the treks are followed closely in the press. And when successful, which isn't all that often, there is all of this excitement ~ flag waving, high fives, maybe even a parade back home. All of this for traveling a mere 5.49905 miles. Straight up miles, to be sure, but seriously, all of that hoopla? For all of the attention the feat attracts, climbing Mt. Everest simply means navigating 29,035 feet of climbing, just a medium sized yak* shy of 5.5 miles.
Sure, we've made it out to be a big deal, but I can tell you that I've made that same climb. In shorts. Dragging along a bike. Looking at my ride log, I noticed that, on April 23, I went past the 29,035 foot mark in total climbing. A Mt. Everest's worth of verticality. And I didn't even get an inch in the local paper. Go figure.
OK, so maybe climbing our local 500 foot hills 60 times isn't the same as summiting a mountain in the Himalayas. But I'll take it. My total climbing has now reached 37,693 feet. This means that I'm already 9,442 feet up K2. Only 18,809 feet to go. Piece of cake!
* it's well-known that medium yaks are 0.00095 miles (or 5.016 feet) tall.