Maybe it stems from a Western mentality of being among those select few who have experienced the biggest and baddest of the world's natural offerings. Another checkmark on the list of world experiences, a process that crosses into any vocation that runs off of sheer passion. Many embark on a profession or task and what's often popularized nowadays is the acts of the most extreme participants in the lot.
Clearly natural phenomena have little to do with the social inner-workings of humans. But I imagine we'd cease to reach for those peaks or meet those great challenges if they weren't held in such high social regard.
By nature, we're competitive. Sometimes we lose site of the experience at hand when what's driving us is what those before us have already beaten us to. Quantity before quality, when it's clear we'd better serve ourselves to flip that right around.