Here is a link to one of the best articles I've read about back country travel and the Risk/Reward side of it. Unfortunately the article was tied to the death of 3 snowboarders who were from Seattle, but it sheds a bit of light into what we get out of the adventures we take!
Here a couple of good quotes ...
"The public—mostly people who aren't likely to try backcountry snowboarding or skiing—only hears about the backcountry when people die or are injured. But people play and survive in the backcountry regularly. More importantly, people take risks in everyday life far away from the dangers of the mountains, and many of those risky behaviors are much more likely to kill than backcountry snowboarding. People drink, smoke, or eat themselves into early graves. All of those behaviors offer some form of reward; otherwise people wouldn't take the risk in the first place."
"Anyone interested in the backcountry is naturally more of a risk taker than someone who is inclined to get his kicks on the couch playing Wii"