The title says it all. Utility theory is the standard economic theory, which is that people do things because they get some pleasure out of them. Pretty obvious, right? Not really.
Loewenstein, an economist and psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University, reports the surprising results that mountain climbers generally hate mountain climbing. They won't say that if you ask them directly. But they hate each step of the way. The preparations are monotonous, the fundraising is necessarily but insipid, getting to the mountain is not half the fun but instead boring and for many mountains frustrating, and the climb itself is the grueling. Some people love to bask in the glory of success. But most of the people who are successful mountain climbers do not seem to be publicity hounds, and are often shy and publicity averse.
Check this recent review about an old, but increasingly time relevant study: HappinessPleasure