Thanks to Bob for saying it so well, and to Cirq for moving this stuff. I was out hiking and thought how I should have started a new thread, and I didn't make myself clear enough about the sponsors.
I get this feeling of gladiator sports watching this stuff. How much of it is done for the camera? If the camera and money wasn't there, would they still be doing this? Are we to share in the blame, for paying to watch such feats?
I met Alex Lowe, and had great respect for him. He was another with that "when, not if" feeling. I remember when he died leaving a family there was pressure on The North Face to help out his family. I don't know what financial arrangements were made for him, but I hope his and Shane's kids are looked after.
In regards to your second statement here I would have to say definitely yes. People would still be doing this stuff without the camera or the money being there. I have never pushed my limits even close to as far as some of these guys do (i do like skiing fast in trees and dropping some cliffs) but I have friends who do and always have. There has never been a professional camera on them, maybe some gear hookups for shots, but no money. I think that's just their personality, it's who they are, it's what makes them feel truly alive, which be a different thing for different people.