Sometime in the 1980s, in a science fiction anthology (English language, hardback, checked out from a library), I read a short story that went along the following lines:
The story is written in the third person, but with only one viewpoint character. He is a diehard mountain climber who is out to set a record. The futuristic equivalent of being the first to scale Mount Everest. He is visiting a world (I think one without a breathable atmosphere, and possibly with no atmosphere at all) which has some very impressive mountains. One in particular is supposed to be virtually impossible to climb in the conventional fashion -- as in, since humanity first discovered this planet in this star system, there has been no record that any human climber has ever made it all the way up to the relatively flat area (a plateau, or whatever it's called) at the very top. Which is not to say that a fair number of climbers haven't tried!
I don't remember exactly what the rules of the game were supposed to be -- for instance, if large groups of climbers had ever tried (and failed) to go the distance as a team effort. For that matter, I'm not absolutely certain that the protagonist had been alone when he began his own climb before the story starts (although I think he wanted this to be strictly a one-man show, start to finish). It becomes clear to the reader that nobody had ever used a spaceship or other aerospace vehicle to land on top of this mountain and look around. I say this because the protagonist obviously had no detailed information about what could be found up there. (I don't remember if "don't fly up there" was simply a sacred rule, or somehow extremely dangerous due to local conditions, or what.)
The protagonist thinks rather poetically about the mountain at various times in the story. (I guess the author didn't have much choice, since there was no one along for the protagonist to talk to, and the text had to be filled up with something more exciting then "he raised his right foot . . . raised his left foot . . . raised his right foot . . ." all the way up.) We get the impression that the guy regards this mountain as a proud lady to be wooed and conquered, or some such thing.
He finally makes it to the top, while thinking that he is not likely to ever make it back down again. (If we don't count "a very long fall" as a way to deliberately get back down.) I don't remember what the exact problem was -- I think his airtight suit still had enough air, food, water, etc., to permit a return trip in theory (though I could be wrong), but perhaps he was just mentally and physically exhausted, and it didn't seem worth the long days of painstaking effort that would be involved in a careful descent. But that's okay, because he figures he'll be happy to just curl up and die here, now that he's been first to cross the finish line.
Then the penny drops. He looks around carefully, and realizes he is not the first, nor the second, nor even the twentieth, to have successfully made the full ascent. There are lots and lots of other spacesuits scattered about the area, each with the skeletal remains of a proud mountaineer from one species or another, probably going back untold millennia before humans ever explored this system. (I say "skeletal," but that may not be accurate for some species. I don't remember how much detail, if any, we were actually given about the anatomical peculiarities of the ancient remains of various other sentients.)
Our hero is shocked as he looks around at his predecessors, then suddenly gets his second wind (at least psychologically), and resolutely turns around and heads back the way he came, bound and determined to survive the return trip. (We don't know if he actually did.) The final words of the story explain his about-face in roughly the following terms: "What do you do when you discover that the great lady whom you adored has not been true to you? There is at least one thing you do not do: You do not lie with her."
I've never read that story again. I don't remember who wrote it, nor the title, nor what other stories I encountered within that same book. (I'm fairly sure it was not a collection of a single author's short stories, however.)