Was it really such an achievement?
I don't understand mountaineers or round-the-world yachts... people? I sailed once, crewing on a 30-footer, and enjoyed it, but that was that. People sign up for Clipper Ventures and some are buried at sea (https://endlesschain.substack.com/p/plain-sailing-for-stockholders). Robert Uttley was a schoolfriend who, at 21, died attempting to be the first to scale Anapurna III, the south-west face. Catherine Smith was a mountaineer I knew in student days, who fell from a mountain on her honeymoon. I did Ben Nevis by cable car.
The impulse to do anything is to do it. And, if it can be done well, it is to do it well. But where the impulse comes from can be others' compulsion and it's controversial in how far work is just amended slavery (https://endlesschain.substack.com/p/we-want-freedom-and-fear-slavery) or simple need: we work, to earn, to spend. Working well may gain us promotion and betterment: to earn more and to spend more. And there are prizes. Achievement brings recognition. By others. By us, ourselves? Not, it seems, always.
From two quite different roads of approach, Richard, you and I have contemplated the same sentiment in the same days: achievement, and what that consists of. My own piece is a little longer, and founds on impulses from a different source, but which nevertheless come to rest in the individual and ultimately raise the questions of why one does what one does, to what end, and whether achievement itself is nothing more than self-delusion. If you care: https://endlesschain.substack.com/p/shame-what-a-shame.