Mt. Everest - Why do people climb it?

Is Mt. Everest the ultimate test for us mere mortals? The reason why I raise this question is because of the articles I have recently read and blogged about relating to our Sagarmatha (or Mt. Everest to the rest of the world).

Just yesterday, Former Foreign Minister Shailendra Kumar Upadhyaya passed away while trying to set the record for the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest. Today, we read that Apa Sherpa has broken his own record for most climbs of Mount Everest by scaling the world's tallest peak for the 21st time. Neil Biedleman, the Into Thin Air survivor has returned to take on Mt. Everest 15 years after his first disastrous attempt. 66 year old Jan Smith of Melbourne is attempting to become the oldest woman to climb Mt. Everest. A few days back Kenton Cool became the first person to tweet from Mt. Everest. Al Houby is currently attempting Mt. Everest and if she succeeds, she will be the first Palestinian woman to do so. Her message for the world is "we Palestinians have the will to live in peace." Two Nepalis are also planning to para glide from the top of Mt. Everest.

Why do people want to climb Mt. Everest? Is it the fame and fortune, or is it the sense of inner fulfillment? Is it physical challenge, or is it the mental or spiritual challenge? No matter what it is, Mt. Everest continues to mesmerize the world and make us Nepalis proud.