Mountaineering films have been all the rage lately, with Hollywood blockbuster Everest and high-profile climbing documentary Meru each getting theatrical releases in recent weeks. Those films transported audiences to the Himalaya, giving us a chance to experience an expedition to the mountains and witness firsthand the triumphs and tragedies.
If those movies left you wanting more, then you’re in luck. There are a number of good options available for streaming on Netflix that just might fill the need. Here are five of the very best mountaineering films to add to your queue immediately.
Touching the Void (2003)
A classic mountaineering book becomes a classic mountaineering film. In this movie, we travel to South America to join climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates on an attempt to summit the unclimbed peak of Siula Grande in Peru. On the descent, Simpson falls and breaks his leg, and later slips into a crevasse.
Having given him up for dead, Yates descends without Simpson, not realizing that his friend is still alive. Thus begins one of the greatest survival stories in mountaineering history — one that is incredibly gripping and intense to watch unfold on screen and will leave viewers wondering what they would have done long after the credits roll.
Not to be confused with the current Everest film that is still in theaters, this movie was made by legendary documentary filmmaker David Breashears back in 1996, the same year that eight people tragically lost their lives on the mountain. Groundbreaking for its time, this was the first film to be made on the mountain, back when carrying heavy camera equipment up those steep slopes seemed nearly impossible.
In 1998, the film was released in IMAX theaters and quickly became the highest-grossing IMAX film of all time. It is still a fantastic documentary, and now it’s available for viewing in the comfort of your own home.
K2: Siren of the Himalaya (2012)
Most people don’t realize it, but K2 — the second highest mountain on the planet — is actually much harder to climb than Everest. Dubbed the “Mountaineer’s Mountain,” the summit of K2 remains an incredibly elusive place to reach, even for the most talented and experienced climbers.
This film follows three men on an expedition to the mountain, which is notoriously difficult to climb. K2’s bad weather, incredibly technical slopes and dangerous avalanche conditions test their abilities at every turn, with their lives sometimes hanging in the balance.
The Summit (2012)
Another film about K2, The Summit chronicles the infamous 2008 season on that peak. During an attempt to climb to the summit, 11 people lost their lives, reminding the mountaineering community why K2 is also called “The Savage Mountain.”
The events of that fateful climb were difficult to piece together, as the survivors all had different stories to tell. But this film helps to clarify what happened and explain what went wrong. Not for the faint of heart, this is a movie that helps viewers understand just how challenging this peak is. (It may also leave you wondering why anyone would want to climb this mountain at all.)
Beyond the Edge (2013)
Released in 2013 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, this film tells the tale of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the two men who first stood on top of that mountain. Their success on the world’s tallest peak made them household names, but getting to the summit was no small feat.
Many climbers before them had perished attempting to accomplish the same thing, but Hillary and Norgay pioneered the route that is still used to climb Everest to this day. Find out how they did it and witness the challenges they had to overcome on the way to the top.
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