Still, it's all worth it, right? For the memories? For the groupies? Maybe not if you're a guy because it turns out that you'll also have to give up something else: Regular genitals.
According to research recently published in High Altitude Medicine and Biology, it turns out spending time at high altitudes can lead to what's known in the medical parlance as "testicular shrinkage." The results of this study came after researchers in Italy fMRI'd a group of men after they'd spent twenty-two days at high altitude (plus an additional thirteen days hiking). They found that the guys' balls had shrunk by 15 percent on average compared to their testicular mass pre-climb -- while similar experiments on animals suggest that this might be caused by the reduced oxygen levels.
That's not all, either. Another study by the same group of researchers found that spending time at high altitude also causes a reduction in sperm count that can last up for a maximum of TWO YEARS. The quality of the sperm isn't affected, so while mountain climbers don't necessarily shoot blanks, they have to make sure that every shot counts.