30 Best Climbing and Mountain Movies

Missing the Outdoors?

It’s true that we cannot go to the mountains right now due to the COVID-19 lockdown. But don’t let that keep you from revisiting stories and memories of some brilliant mountain expeditions.

There are a ton of movies and videos to watch and wonder why you ever thought being in the wilderness would be a good idea. These mountain movies trace journeys and lives of climbers and mountaineers who dreamt big and dared to climb some of the loftiest peaks.
Most of these can be found on some streaming service like Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.

So, take a look and tell us, which one of these is your favourite?

01

Everest

We love this one! This movie is based on Jon Krakauer’s legendary book “Into Thin Air”. It takes us back to May 1996 when many commercial expeditions gather at the base of Mt. Everest to summit it. The spotlight is on an incident when bad weather thwarts two teams while on their way to the summit. Based on the unfortunate 1996 Mount Everest disaster, this movie takes us through the grit of climbers who are struggling to survive in the Death Zone.

This mountain movie and book are close to our hearts because it brings us face-to-face with the ground realities, the challenges of being in the high altitude.

02

The Summit

This is a mysterious tale from K2. It happened in 2008 when out of 22 climbers, who had met on the last stop before the K2 summit, 11 disappeared. As the story goes, they either got killed or simply vanished into thin air. But what happened? Perhaps the first man to summit K2, Ger McDonnell, has a clue.

03

Everest: The Wildest Dream!

Was it British climber George Mallory who summited Mt Everest first, in 1924? This movie digs deep into the question and puts some baffling facts on the table. Is history different than what we have been told?

04

Mountain

Why is climbing mountains so attractive? It is certainly not comfortable. In fact, three centuries ago, entertaining such thoughts were considered as lunacy. What changed? This movie explores the relationship between humans and mountains. So, if you have ever wondered, why do we climb? This is a must-watch.

05

Meru

The famous mountain climber Conrad Anker steps out of his comfort zone to climb Mt. Meru. This mountain, also known as Sumeru, stands between Mt. Thalaysagar and Mt. Shivling and is visible from the Gaumukh Tapovan trek. And it offers a challenging climb.

While Conrad was familiar with the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest, climbing Meru posed deeper challenges. The team, consisting of Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, ponder if it is worth the risk. And conclude it was worth dying for! As if on cue, the team runs out of resources while still having 90% of the mountain to climb. What happens then?

06

Poorna

‘Poorna’ is an Indian biographical 2017 film directed by Rahul Bose. It is about the youngest girl to climb Mt. Everest. Poorna Malavath belongs to the Pakala in Nizamudin district. Despite her not so well socio-economic background, she possessed and extreme set of skills which led her to the completion of Everest summit at the age of 13 years and 11 months. This is an inspirational film which contributes to woman empowerment represented aptly by the tag line “Ladkiyan Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hai”.

07

Vertical limit

This is a story of climber Peter Garrett who is attempting to climb K2 with a team. His sister is also in the team and during a mishap, she hurtles through and gets stuck in a crevice. Now, it’s up to Peter to get her out, alive. Will he be able to do it?

We recommend this one for the action-packed sequences. You also get a great insight on Acute Mountain Sickness and how it affects the body in this movie.

08

The Himalayas (Korean)

This is a South Korean adventure drama film. But one that’s based on the real-life of climber Um Hong-Gil’s life. The movie traces how Um Hong-Gil goes back to the mountains with his bad legs to the bodies of two climbers under his mentorship.

09

Beyond The Edge

Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary officially summited Mt. Everest in 1953. Like in most great mountain movies, this movie too takes us along on their historic journey. If you’ve ever been curious about how did they do it, then Beyond the Edge is a must-watch.

10

Death On Matterhorn

The Matterhorn in the Alps is one of the world’s most challenging mountains. It was conquered around 150 years ago. 1865 two rival teams were on a race to the top. British against Italian mountaineers. The triumph of the Britishers turned tragic as four men fell to their deaths. The ascendants of the climbers go back to find out what went wrong. Forensic tests provide clues and there are new sources. Was it an accident, foul play or murder?

11

Touching the Void

This is also based on a book, the real-life story is set in 1985 when two climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates set out for the virgin West Face of Siula Grande in Peru. Disaster strikes when a surprise storm hurtles Simpson off the mountain and he breaks his leg. Yates tries to pull Simpson up but fails. Should he cut the rope and save himself from the impending storm? The movie meanders through the gullies of trust and courage.

The dilemma in this movie – of whether to cut the rope or no – is real. In extreme situations, mountaineers need to take this tough call. And Touching the Void beautifully touches upon this dilemma.

12

Cold

In Feb 2011, Cory Richards became the first American to climb an 8000-meter peak in winter. A time when cold at this height can chill you to the bones. How did Cory brave it? This movie offers freezing insight.

13

127 Hours

A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.

14

The Dawn Wall

The Dawn Wall is an impossible 3000-foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, California. But in 2015, two American climbers – Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson attempt this impossible climb. The movie revolves around their attempt.

15

A Walk in the Woods

In this comedy adventure, Robert Redford & Nick Nolte star as old friends who make the improbable decision to hike the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, and that’s when the fun begins. Based on Bill Bryson’s bestseller, the movie co-stars Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman & Kristen Schaal.

16

The Grey

In The Grey, Liam Neeson leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries and merciless weather, the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt before their time runs out.

17

The Way

The Way is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honour his son’s desire to finish the journey.

18

180° South

In 1968, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins set on a journey from Ventura, California to Patagonia, Chile. Almost four decades later, Jeff Johnson decides to retrace that journey. This movie is based on Jeff’s journey as he sets his goal to climb Corcovado Volcano in Patagonia as a part of this journey.

19

Tracks

From the producers of THE KING’S SPEECH comes this remarkable true story of Robyn Davidson, a young woman who leaves her urban life to trek through the sprawling Australian desert. A young woman goes on a 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with her four camels and faithful dog.

20

Into the Wild

Released in 2007, this film traces the journey of a young graduate, Christopher McCandless, who decides to hitchhike across America with no money and limited possessions. On this journey, Christopher encounters some life-changing situation, some subtle, some extreme, and his isolation in parts starts taking shape. A beautiful movie of self-discovery while on an adventure.

21

Mile...Mile and a Half

This one traces a historic route too – the John Muir Trail. It is an endearing tale of how five friends decide to follow in the footsteps of John Muir and cover the distance in 25 days. And how, while on the journey, people start joining them.

22

Wild

Released in 2014, this movie is based on a book that tells a true story. That of Cheryl Strayed, who decides to set off on a 1,100-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail. This is a tale of self-discovery as Cheryl sheds her fears, but what does she step into?

23

7 Years in Tibet

Ever wondered what life of an instructor to the 14th Dalai Lama looks like? This movie gives you a peek into it. It revolves around Henrich Harner, an Austrian climber who finds himself in Lhasa after breaking out of prison. A curious tale of how surprising twists and turns.

24

Togo

In 1925, dog-sledge teams had to transport diphtheria antitoxin serum across 700 miles in the harsh climate to save Nome, an Alaskan town. Togo, released in 2019, revolves around this page of history. A heartful movie that touches upon valiant efforts to prevent an epidemic.

25

Southbounders

Return to the Appalachian Trail. This 10th Anniversary Edition of the beloved, original movie about one woman’s long-distance hike on America’s legendary trail has been lovingly re-edited by the director, with remastered picture and sound. At a crossroads in life, Olivia (Amy Cale Peterson, DEAD WITHIN) decides to “thru-hike” the Appalachian Trail, a continuous 2,181-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia. The journey will take months to complete, and Olivia is ill-prepared for the rigorous journey. Along the way, she’ll cross paths with eclectic and eccentric hikers and discover what it means to “hike your own hike.”

26

Deliverance

Four city men on a weekend canoe trip pit their nerve and muscle against the churning waters of a wild Georgia river where only three are “delivered” from the heart-pounding experience.

27

Alive

The true story of a rugby team stranded in the Andes after a plane crash. They face many physical and mental challenges which threaten their survival, in a situation which tests the very limits of human endurance.

28

Backcountry

In this terrifying and critically-acclaimed thriller, a young couple’s romantic camping trip becomes a tale of survival as they face the darkest side of nature: a man-eating bear.

29

The Way Back

The Way Back is the critically acclaimed new release from renowned director Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Truman Show), starring Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Mark Strong and Saoirse Ronan. Inspired by an incredible true story, this epic film of survival against-the-odds tells the story of a group of seven prisoners who escaped from a Soviet gulag in Stalin-era Russia and walked over 4,000 miles across some of the most unforgiving terrains in the world, crossing the Siberian Arctic, the Gobi desert and the Himalayas before finally arriving in British-ruled India. 2010 Siberian Productions LLC.

30

Tell it on the Mountain

Follow a half dozen of the 300 or so hikers who attempt a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike every year. Armed with cameras, they give us an insider’s view into what it takes to spend half a year living in the wild.

Outdoor Adventure Movies

Available on Amazon Prime

21 Must Watch Mountain Documentaries

These mountain documentaries packed with candid tales of successful and failed expeditions, behind-the-scene realities and inspiring stories bursting out of the mountains.

IMDb - Hiking Movies

IMDb - Internet Movie Database

Did We Miss Your Favourite Mountain Movie?

Drop the name in comments to tell us which ones did we miss, so that we can catch up on it too!
Compiled By
Vishal Kakade
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