There is no shortage of fantastic climbing movies available. Many of these star high-end celebrities and contain some of the most epic action footage Hollywood has ever filmed. However, camera angles and special effects go a long way in creating many of these films. If you’re looking for real climbing footage, with real action and talented athletes, climbing documentaries are what you want. Here are some of the best documentaries on the market.
Meru is a documentary about Mount Meru, one of the toughest climbing feats in the world. The documentary follows climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk as they attempt to tackle the Shark’s Fin, the toughest pitch on the North Indian mountain. The film is beautifully shot and the narrative is as compelling as anything you’re likely to watch.
There have been plenty of films made about “The Savage Mountain,” better known as K2, the second tallest mountain in the world. The Summit recreates the story of 22 climbers who attempted to climb K2 in 2008. Only 11 of those climbers survived, and The Summit explores all of the events that transpired on that eventful climb.
After several Tibetan teenagers were rejected by their families because they were blind (their families believed they were possessed by demons), they attempt to climb Lhakpa Ri on Mount Everest’s north face. Under the guidance of blind mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, they succeed!
The Wildest Dream
In 1924 British climber George Mallory attempted to climb Mount Everest and disappeared. This documentary follows climber Conrad Anker (see Meru above) as he investigates the disappearance and ultimately discovers Mallory’s body in 1999. You also get a glimpse at Mallory’s life through a series of his personal letters and photographs.
180 Degrees South
A true adventure film, 180 Degrees South follows Jeff Johnson as he travels to South America in an attempt to follow the footsteps of Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, the founder of North Face. In 1968, Chouinard and Tompkins attempted to climb Cerro Corcovado, and Johnson is hoping to do the same. When he finally arrives and meets the older mountaineers, Johnson quickly realizes why they’re so passionate about protecting the Patagonia range.