The outbreak of COVID-19 may have slowed down our lives and limited the adventure, but it has given us a very important lesson to sit back, take a break and relax. Amid the break, we may not be able to get the adrenaline rush through tough climbs, breathtaking views but why don’t we just sit back and see the heroes who have defeated their fears and believed in their adventurous self to achieve an experience of their lifetime.
While mountain movies have their share of gripping drama, mountain documentaries, steeped in real-life, are edge-of-the-seat thrillers. So while at home, catch up on these mountain documentaries packed with candid tales of successful and failed expeditions, behind-the-scene realities and inspiring stories bursting out of the mountains.
Here are 21 movie suggestions which will surely provide you with a visionary and an adventure rush while being comfortable in your houses along with something to munch on.
Most links here feature the entire documentary. So, take a look and tell us, which one of these is your favourite?
Sherpas – the True Heroes of Mount Everest showcases the work, hardships, and life of the Sherpas at Mount Everest. The film follows the expedition of the Swiss mountain guide Kari Kobler and his European climbers as they climb the highest mountain in the world, a feat un-imaginable without the support and guidance of their hired Nepali Sherpas.
SHERPA, a documentary about the mountain guides of Mount Everest, set out to expose tension in the 2014 Everest climbing season from the Sherpa mountain guides point of view and instead captured tragedy when an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpas. Director Jennifer Peedom discusses what it was like to film the dangerous expedition as well as capturing the heartbreaking story of how Sherpa guides banded together through tragedy to face issues among the guides as well as the mountain climbing industry in this uncensored BYOD interview hosted by Ondi Timoner.
The long-awaited full-length Appalachian Trail documentary is finally here! Walking Home, Appalachian Trail Documentary Part 1 and Walking Home Appalachian Trail Documentary Part 2 as 1 Full-length Thru-Hiking Documentary.
In the summer of 2013, Casey Gannon and Colin Arisman thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with cameras in hand. “Only The Essential” is the story of their 5 months, 2668 mile journey on foot from Mexico to Canada across the wilderness of California, Oregon, and Washington. Filmed entirely by hikers.
This film shows us the historical expeditions of the ascent to the roof of the world ‘The Everest’ made by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. This includes the original clips from the expeditions and the interviews of the surviving members.
This 2014 movie shows the life experience of three climbers of the world’s greatest rock climb. The experience includes the learning process of what it takes to be a climber and understanding the fellow rock climbers. It represents the local community through their music and adventure. It is based on the original first ascent of the North Fork Mountain Traverse in West Virginia.
A film by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald starring Brendan Mackey, Ollie Ryall and Nicholas Aaron is the representation of the never attempted before the climb of the West Face of Siula Grande by two English mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yate. This 2003 movie based on the book ‘Touching the Void’ covers all the near-death experiences they faced during the climb and will surely assure that you have full-blown goosebumps throughout the movie.
‘Beyond the edge’ is yet another documentary based on the historic climb of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. It shows the most ambitious attempt to reach the top of world’s tallest mountain in the history of mountaineering.
On May 19, 2012, Giripremi’s eight climbers unfurled the Indian tricolour on the world’s tallest mountain and create the history. It was the biggest successful civilian expedition on Mt. Everest from India.
This expedition has brought the paradigm shift in India’s mountaineering scenario as several mountaineers from India started organizing expeditions on the world’s highest mountains.
One of the most unpromising ascents, the North Face of Eiger is covered with dense blankets of snow, dynamic terrain and unpredictable weather which made it almost impossible to attempt. This Oscar-winning movie for the best climbing documentary ‘Eiger Solo’ tells the tale about Eric Jones’ epic climb which made him the first British solo ascent of the Eiger North Face. This movie will surely pull some inspirational strings in your heart.
What does it mean to ski down a high mountain on the Karakorum range? This thrilling documentary follows the journey of a team which is inexperienced at mountaineering but finds themselves in the heart of the cold, rugged landscape where they cover 150 km over five weeks.
Rising tall at 7555 meters, Annapurna is the 42ns highest mountain in the world. While Mt Annapurna has been summited from the North-East, David Lama and his team attempt to climb it from the South-East. Watch this mountain documentary for some thrilling climbs on a razor-sharp ridge.
This deeply shocking and engaging documentary takes us through the grim reality of what happened in August 2008. For those who have watched The Summit, this movie opens up the real-life behind that movie. It revolves around the incident when out of 25 climbers who had gathered to climb K2, 11 simply vanish.
K2 was summited in 1954 after many unsuccessful attempts. And this candid documentary will take you through those failed attempts. It includes the story of British climbers Charley Houston and Fritz Wassner, who were unsuccessful in summiting the formidable K2.
In 2018, Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison, climbed 27,940-foot Lhotse to only descend the towering peak on skis. This documentary by North Face brings forward what it can take some time to gain clarity, to understand our existence. Watch it for the breathtaking landscape and framing of shots.
If you’ve ever shivered and cursed the cold on a Himalayan trek, this one is a must-watch for you. This North Face documentary will take you to the coldest place in the world – Pik Pobeda, the highest mountain in Siberia. While the temperature on our winter treks dip to -15 degree Celsius. Here, the minimum temperature reaches a new low. The lowest temperature recorded here was -71.3 degree Celsius. And two alpinists find themselves here in February 2018.
This one’s a treat! Made by climber and filmmaker Richard Pattison, it takes you on a journey to the handsome Mt Ama Dablam. In this mountain documentary, Richard documents his team through the expedition and reveals what it takes to achieve a goal. Sometimes, it involves battling lack of oxygen too!
What does it take to summit all the fourteen 8,000-plus-meter mountains without bottled oxygen? Watch this inspiring National Geographic documentary based on Ed Viesturs, who is the first American to achieve this. In this documentary, Ed also talks about how he emerged stronger from the experience.
Even with so many flocking to Mt.Everest, lives of sherpas remains tough and economically challenging. So, Apa Sherpa, who started working as a high-altitude porter by the age of 12, took it upon himself to make a difference. He became the world-record holder for summiting Everest. And has founded the Apa Sherpa Foundation to promote education in the lives of Sherpas.
It shows the story of three friends who decides to conquer the Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America. They moved between the peaks of Aconcagua and Mt. McKinley which was the tallest peak in North America. But their main motive was self-discovery which they achieved through community service towards the inhabitants at each stop to at least make a small contribution towards the community. Their journey searching for their inner self and the clear vision by going through tremendous challenges and adventures which never let them give up their generosity is what makes this movie remarkable.