mountaineering and climbing movies on netflix

Mountaineering and Climbing Movies on Netflix

Hey Google Visitors: This post is for climbing movies on Netflix via Looking for Streaming Movies on Netflix Instant? Or just looking for the Best Climbing Movies of All Time?

There are a TON of movies on Netflix, but be sure to browse through to the end for a bonus listing of my favorite related outdoor flicks.

I don’t have cable, so I love having Netflix. One thing I hate about Netflix though is the search and category functions… They make it especially hard to find related movies unless you know exactly what you are searching for. For example: I click on the “Mountaineering & Climbing” category and only six movies show up!

But I love being able to dig up some obscure flick about climbing and mountaineering, and I think I’ve pretty much seen just about all that is available for DVD rentals (I don’t have internet streaming) in terms of mountaineering and rock climbing movies on Netflix.

The most amazing sunset I've ever seen, climbing Mount Stuart in the Cascades.

Instagram Adventures: The most amazing sunset I’ve ever seen, climbing Mount Stuart in the Cascades.

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Some of the movies below are absolutely amazing and would be of interest to climbers or non-climbers alike, while some of the movies are marginal or even pretty terrible.

Some of these are based on true stories, some are documentaries, and some are pure fiction, but they all are on the rock or in the mountains–perfect for the armchair alpinist in all of us.

Below is a list of all the mountaineering and climbing movies that I have personally seen and rented from Netflix. They are sorted by my rating (some ratings might be inflated for Netflix to suggest other related movies).

Maybe you’ll discover something new from the list. If I am missing anything available from Netflix that you think should be added, please let me know!

And if you’re like me and you’ve run out of cool mountaineering and climbing movies on Netflix, well you should definitely get (or finally start using) an American Alpine Club membership in order to take advantage of their library.

The AAC library has many, many other DVDs available which you can borrow for free (you pay only for return shipping). It’s an awesome service from the AAC, though I wish they had a better interface and a shipping system more like Netflix in place—I don’t really need the big plastic DVD cases!

Mountaineering and Rock Climbing Movies on Netflix ( Rentals)

Five Stars

  • Touching the Void
    2003 R 107 minutes
    Mixing interviews with dramatic re-enactments of the event, this gripping docudrama retells the mountaineering trek gone awry of Simon Yates (Nicholas Aaron) and Joe Simpson (Brendan Mackey), who falls and breaks his leg while climbing in the Andes. Yates, who’s tethered to him, attempts to lower him to safety but fails, forcing him to make a pivotal decision that may or may not save both of their lives. The question is, was it the right one?

  • First Ascent
    2006 NR 90 minutes
    Scaling steep faces and alpine walls in the Himalayas, Thailand, Canada and the United States is the goal of the world-class mountain climbers featured here. Viewers will be blown away by their truly incredible feats of athleticism and courage. One amazing highlight of this extreme sports program is Didier Berthod’s dangerous attempt to become the first person ever to climb the imposing Cobra Crack in British Columbia.

  • North Face
    2008 NR 121 minutes
    In 1936, young German climbers Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andreas Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) face off against a rival Austrian duo in an attempt to be the first team to scale the infamous north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. As the men make the treacherous climb, journalist Luise (Johanna Wokalek) — Toni’s childhood love — covers the biggest story of her career. Philipp Stölzl helms this drama based on a true story.

  • 180° South
    (180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless)
    2010 PG 85 minutes
    Inspired by pioneering outdoorsman Yvon Chouinard’s freewheeling 1968 van trip to Patagonia, South America, a band of bliss-seeking surfer-mountaineers sets out — in 2007, by boat — to remake the journey in this adventure documentary. Jeff Johnson and his buddies hug the coast, stopping at the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island before arriving in Patagonia — a region that’s still breathtaking but is now besieged by environmental threats.

  • The Wildest Dream
    (The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest)
    2010 PG 94 minutes
    When Conrad Anker finds the body of George Mallory on Mount Everest 75 years after Mallory’s death, Anker becomes obsessed with learning whether the man determined to become the first to reach the mountain’s summit actually met his goal before dying. Narrated by Liam Neeson, this visually spectacular documentary also features the voices of Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson and Hugh Dancy.

  • 51UD7ga2O2L._AA160_Vertical Frontier
    2002 NR 90 minutes
    Just who are the daredevils who devote their lives to climbing the legendary walls of Yosemite? This fascinating documentary produced through the Sierra Club and narrated by Tom Brokaw aims to answer that question, profiling noteworthy climbers David Brower, Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, Jim Bridwell, Lynn Hill and more. Breathtaking footage shows off a national treasure as it was meant to be seen: up close and personal.

  • Everest: Beyond the Limit
    Seasons 1-2 DVD
    Discovery Channel’s ambitious documentary project follows a series of yearly expeditions led by New Zealand mountaineer Russell Brice up the world’s highest peak, paying heed to all of its deadly dangers. Extraordinary feats of perseverance are captured, including the dogged conquest of Everest by a double amputee and the inspirational saga of Katsusuke Yanagisawa, who at 71 wants to become the oldest person ever to scale the mountain.

  • National Geographic: Everest: 50 Years on the Mountain
    2003 NR 90 minutes
    Celebrate 50 years of mountaineering magic with this awe-inspiring documentary replete with sensational footage of Mount Everest. The award-winning National Geographic crew tracks the three children of mountain-climbing icons Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first two people ever to conquer the fabled peak.

  • Everest: IMAX
    1998 NR 44 minutes
    Noted climber David Breashears leads an IMAX crew to the top of Mount Everest and provides the first 360-degree view from Earth’s highest peak. Along the way, the group faces avalanches, scarce oxygen, hazardous ice walls and a deadly snowstorm.
Bouldering in the Alabama Hills after climbing Mount Whitney.

Instagram Adventures: Bouldering in the Alabama Hills after climbing Mount Whitney.

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Four Stars

  • To the Limit
    (Am Limit)
    2007 NR 95 minutes
    Written and directed by Pepe Danquart, this gripping documentary follows the adrenaline-spiked sport of speed rock climbing, as German überclimbers Thomas and Alexander Huber attempt to set a record scaling Yosemite’s legendary El Capitan. Featuring wicked camera shots of the pair in action, the film also explores the brothers’ unique relationship, fueled by love and rivalry. Will they make it up the monolith in record time?

  • The Eiger Sanction
    1975 R 128 minutes
    Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this action adventure as a former hit man summoned from retirement to “sanction” (assassinate) an enemy spy. With government secrets stolen and a U.S. operative murdered, Jonathan Hemlock (Eastwood) must join a three-man climbing party scaling Switzerland’s Eiger Mountain to eliminate the foreign spy among them. George Kennedy and Jack Cassidy also star in this thriller based on the novel by Trevanian.

  • Masters of Stone 5
    2001 NR 55 minutes
    Get a grip on a rock-climbing film that rocks! With a pulse-pounding soundtrack featuring Metallica, this fifth volume in the Masters of Stone series showcases audacious climbers performing feats not to be believed. Witness the mountain-goat agility of Dean Potter and Dan Osman during their ill-fated final climb. Whether it’s speed-soloing, high-ball bouldering or rope freefalling, these daredevils continue to push the limits of the sport.

  • Psyche
    2007 NR 70 minutes
    Three action-packed segments make up this riveting mountain-climbing film that showcases the skill and athleticism of British sport climber Steve McClure, alpine climber Andy Kirkpatrick and traditional climber Dave Birkett. “Magic Numbers” profiles some of McClure’s most amazing climbs; “Patagonian Winter” documents Kirkpatrick’s attempt to ascend Torre Egger; and “Skye Wall” follows Birkett’s first ascent at the famous Cuillin Range.

  • Amazonia Vertical
    2005 NR 63 minutes
    Deep in the Amazon lives Auyan Tepui — known to locals as the “Mount of the God of Evil.” After becoming the first person to completely traverse the enormous table mountain, climber Slovak Becko Ondrejovic returns for more. But this time, he brings his friends along to experience this full immersion into nature. This Slovakian documentary features breathtaking vistas of a world virtually untouched by modernity.

  • High Lane
    2009 NR 85 minutes
    In this French thriller, a mountain climbing trail closed to the rest of civilization becomes a path to adventure and horror for a group of friends who dare to go beyond its barriers. It’s not just because they trespassed into forbidden territory or because they’re testing the laws of gravity. It’s because they’re not the only ones willing to push the envelope out there, and their visitor isn’t very welcoming at all.

  • Touch the Top of the World
    2006 NR 89 minutes
    Victim to a rare eye disease at age 3, Erik Weihenmayer refused to let his impaired vision stop him from leading not just a “normal” life but a heroic one, overcoming myriad obstacles to assay the world’s tallest mountain. This film tells his story. Peter Facinelli stars as Weihenmayer in this Peter Winther-helmed presentation for A&E that follows the athlete-adventurer and his climbing buddies as they risk their lives in pursuit of a dream.

  • The Alps: Climb of Your Life: IMAX
    2007 NR 45 minutes
    Scale one of Europe’s greatest mountain ranges with a fearless American climber determined to ascend the perilous wall of rock and ice known as the Eiger Nordwand, which claimed his father’s life. With breathtaking cinematography capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural wonder, this stunning IMAX film charts John Harlin’s personal journey and celebrates the power of the human spirit to prevail in the face of staggering odds.
  • Deadly Ascent
    2006 NR 56 minutes
    Enticing climbers to its frozen summit, Alaska’s Mt. McKinley — a.k.a. Denali — is among the planet’s deadliest peaks. This edition of “Nova” follows doctors, rescuers, an astronaut and others as they try to unravel mysterious deaths on Denali. Hidden fissures or succumbing to temperatures of 70 degrees below zero aren’t the only dangers the mountaineers face: they sometimes perish from incapacitating illness that occurs at extreme altitudes.

  • Rainier the Mountain
    1999 NR 60 minutes
    In this retrospective tribute, acclaimed filmmaker Jean Walkinshaw hails the 100th anniversary of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington by talking to those who know it best: the scientists, naturalists, mountain climbers and artists whose lives have been touched by the peak’s far-reaching shadow. The result is a harmonious blend of archival material and high-definition footage celebrating an icon of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa: IMAX
    2002 NR 42 minutes
    In this spectacular program, join a diverse group of trekkers — demonstrating courage as well as endurance — when they journey to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro — the world’s highest free-standing mountain at 19,340 feet above sea level. As the climbers pass through Africa’s beautiful, very rugged terrain and extreme conditions (five climate zones!), their expedition becomes an adventure of the human spirit.

  • A Lonely Place to Die
    2011 NR 99 minutes
    Five mountaineering friends on vacation in the Scottish Highlands stumble upon a tiny chamber in the woods, in which a young Serbian girl is trapped. But when they free her and try to take her to safety, they become the kidnappers’ next targets.

  • Everest: The Death Zone
    1998 NR 60 minutes
    PBS’s “Nova” chronicles a scientific study of high-altitude physiology, gauging a group of Himalayan climbers’ physical and mental changes as they set out to conquer Mount Everest — the very pinnacle of Earth. Jodie Foster narrates as the “Nova” camera crew captures Everest’s simple but stunning splendor. The drama reaches a gripping climax during the descent, when the fate of a desperately ill climber hangs in the balance.

  • Hillary & Tenzing: Climbing to the Roof of the World
    2003 NR 60 minutes
    This hourlong documentary chronicles one of the most celebrated events in mountaineering history: the ascent of expeditioner Edmund Hillary and his climbing partner, Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay, to the top of Mt. Everest in 1953. Facing exhaustion, glacial temperatures and oxygen deprivation, the men were the first to accomplish the impressive feat. The video recounts their dangerous journey via historical footage, interviews and reenactments.

  • Third Man on the Mountain
    (Banner in the Sky)
    1959 G 107 minutes
    After his father is killed on an expedition to climb the highest peak in their Swiss village, 18-year-old Rudi (James MacArthur) vows to climb the towering mountain in this inspirational Disney film shot on location in Switzerland. While Rudi’s mother tries to get her headstrong son to change his mind, he is bound and determined to reach the peak before anyone else does. The film inspired the Matterhorn ride at the Disneyland amusement park.

  • The Man Who Skied Down Everest
    1975 G 90 minutes
    This Oscar-winning documentary follows world champion skier Yuichiro Miura and his tireless team of adventurers as they grapple with frostbite, icefalls, altitude sickness and even death to ascend and then descend — by slaloming — the world’s tallest mountain, Everest. A truly gripping film about a one-of-a-kind stunt, The Man Who Skied Down Everest is a landmark in the sports documentary genre.
Climbing in Squamish, British Columbia.

Instagram Adventures: Climbing in Squamish, British Columbia.

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Three Stars

  • Swedish Meatballs
    2007 NR 95 minutes
    This thrilling video follows two of Sweden’s top rock climbers, Dylan Smith and Carl-Ola Bostrom, as they hit the highway for a monthlong road trip seeking out the perfect route on the perfect rock and meeting other ace climbers along the way. What — and who — will they encounter around the next corner? Climbers of all experience levels will be inspired and challenged by this duo’s relentless pursuit of bouldering perfection.

  • Soul Cal: Southern Cali Bouldering
    2005 NR 60 minutes
    Join the Soul Cal crew on an intense road trip in search of perfect bouldering. Check out the moves of Natasha Barnes, Chris “Lick” Linder, Garret “G-Unit” Gregor, Buck Branson and more as they make their way through Southern California, scaling the granite and volcanic boulders of Bishop, tackling the sandstone of Stoney Point and visiting other classic climbing destinations. DJ Revolution provides the bumping hip-hop soundtrack.

  • Best of the West
    2005 NR 52 minutes
    Expert rock climbers Boone Speed, Chris Sharma and Nate Gold take on the boulders at Hueco Tanks, Texas, in this thrilling real-life adventure film. After braving harsh conditions at Hueco, the climbing crew then tackles a second expedition to New Zealand’s mountainous Castle Valley. Jason Kehl, Mike Beck, Tim Kemple, Anna Burgos, Bret Lowell, Steve Maisch and many others also get in on the action. Extras include outtakes and bonus scenes.

  • Return 2 Sender
    2005 NR 100 minutes
    Peter Mortimer, creator of the award-winning documentary Front Range Freaks, returns with his cohorts for this inspired collage that features mind-blowing climbing and adventure footage from the four corners of the world. Includes the highly acclaimed segment “Parallelojams,” a first ascent in Greenland, 10-year-old wunderkind Cicada Jenerik, Mexico BASE jumping, Michael Reardon’s soloing spree and Biscuit the climbing dog.

  • A Day in the Life: 5 Women Who Climb
    2005 NR 60 minutes
    Filmmaker Paul Dusatko’s gripping look at the lives of five women climbers is a study of strength, both on and off the rocks. Each athlete represents a different age, personality and background, but all share the determination and spirit needed to overcome real-life obstacles as well as those encountered in their sport. Special features include interviews, a slide show, production and film stills and more.

  • Cragcam’s Guide to Joshua Tree National Park
    2006 NR 140 minutes
    Discover what makes Joshua Tree National Park one of America’s most popular road trip destinations in this informative travel-planning guide filled with beautiful landscape and wildlife footage. The interactive menu divides park activities into three sections — rock climbing, hiking and camping — where you’ll find everything from a review of local climbing ethics and an overview of the 22 trails to helpful camping tips.

  • 80 Meters Below the Summit
    1997 NR 57 minutes
    Rising 28,169 feet above the Earth’s surface, Nepal’s Kanchenjunga — or “five treasures of snows” — is the world’s third-highest mountain and the object of destiny for the members of the Slovak expedition at the heart of this documentary. Weather, geography and legend all conspire against those who set out to conquer the five-peaked behemoth in this film that reveals many of the mountain’s most spectacular vistas.

  • Dosage: Vol. 2
    2003 NR 70 minutes
    This collection of six short “doses” of climbing action showcases the unbelievable stunts of some of the sport’s top rock jocks. Perfecting his deep-water free-soloing technique, Austrian Klem Loskot conquers the cliffs of Mallorca, and American Dave Graham tackles boulders in the States and in the forests of Fontainebleau, France. Goggle at Ivan Greene in New York, and discover why Southern Illinois is a hot new climbing mecca.

  • Above All Else: The Everest Dream
    1999 NR
    This insightful documentary follows seasoned climbers Alan Hobson and Jamie Clarke as they make their third attempt to reach the highest point in the world: the summit of Mount Everest. The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at the planning, training and sheer determination it takes to tackle one of the most physically challenging undertakings known to man. But high winds, illness and arguments threaten to keep these daredevils grounded.

  • Team Everest: A Himalayan Journey
    2008 NR 111 minutes
    Join an incredible group of trekkers with a range of disabilities — including five men in wheelchairs — as they tackle the world’s highest mountain, trekking through the Himalayas for 21 days in an effort to reach the base camp of Mount Everest. Once there, team leader and amputee Gary Guller plans to continue in an attempt to reach Everest’s summit. This gripping documentary includes plenty of spectacular footage of Nepal.

  • Into the Thin Air of Everest: Mountain of Dreams, Mountain of Doom
    1999 NR 190 minutes
    One person dies for every five who head to Mount Everest’s top, the world’s tallest peak. This thrilling collection tells the story of the men and women who’ve risked — and lost — their lives to claim the glory that comes with reaching the summit. Three films (including the original 1953 documentary about Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest conquest) show the mountain’s past and present through the voices of the climbers who know it best.

  • Sport Climbing 101 with Chris Lindner
    2007 NR 60 minutes
    Professional climber Chris Lindner is your guide in this how-to video that will introduce you to the basics of sport climbing, including types and use of equipment, rope work, clipping, belaying, falling, specialized vocabulary and climbing ethics. This presentation includes everything you need to get started in this rapidly growing sport — even a yoga program designed specifically for climbers.

  • Vertical Limit
    2000 PG-13 124 minutes
    Trapped near the summit of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, Annie Garrett (Robin Tunney) radios to base camp for help. Brother Peter (Chris O’Donnell) hears Annie’s message and assembles a team to save her and her group before they succumb to K2’s unforgiving elements. But, as Annie lays injured in an icy cavern, the rescuers face several terrifying events that could end the rescue attempt — and their lives.

  • Cliffhanger
    1993 R 113 minutes
    A year after losing his friend in a tragic 4,000-foot fall, former ranger Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner, Hal (Michael Rooker), are called to return to the same peak to rescue a group of stranded climbers, only to learn the climbers are actually thieving hijackers. Highlighted by jaw-dropping stunt set pieces, the high-altitude action adventure scored Oscar nominations for Best Sound, Visual Effects and Sound Effects Editing.

  • National Geographic: Return to Everest/Surviving Everest
    1999 NR 97 minutes
    National Geographic offers an insider’s look at the history of Mount Everest — the highest peak on Earth — and the remarkable athletes who dare to scale it. Climbers Peter Hillary, Jamling Norgay and Brent Bishop battle the extremes 50 years after their fathers made successful treks to the top in this one-hour documentary, which includes interviews with Sir Edmund Hillary and others who have answered the mountain’s call.

  • The White Hell of Pitz Palu
    1930 NR 133 minutes
    Filmed in Switzerland, this German “mountain film” follows distraught husband Johannes Krafft (Gustav Diessl) as he combs a 12,000-foot peak searching for the body of his wife — who was lost years earlier during a climbing expedition. A young couple on holiday agrees to join Krafft on a thorough exploration, but catastrophe strikes again. The supporting cast includes Leni Riefenstahl and Ernst Petersen.

  • The Holy Mountain
    (Der Heilige Berg)
    1926 NR 105 minutes
    Featuring stunning cinematography and spectacular action sequences, this spellbinding silent melodrama stars the infamous Leni Riefenstahl as Diotima, a professional dancer whose beauty bewitches macho mountaineers Karl (Luis Trenker) and Vigo (Ernst Petersen). Their rivalry soon leads the green-eyed Karl to challenge Vigo to a treacherous climb up the north face of an Alp … in the dead of winter.

  • The Dark Glow of the Mountains / Ballad of the Little Soldier / Precautions Against Fanatics
    2008 NR 101 minutes
    This anthology includes three films from celebrated German auteur Werner Herzog, including “The Dark Glow of the Mountains,” a gripping examination of mountain climber Reinhard Messner’s relentless internal drive as he makes two challenging ascents. “Ballad of the Little Soldier” explores the plight of child soldiers in Nicaragua, and “Precautions Against Fanatics” features a comic, faux-documentary look at the world of horse racing.

  • The Mountain
    1956 NR 105 minutes
    When his younger brother (Robert Wagner) announces his intentions to scale a treacherous mountain slope to reach the site of a recent plane crash, a retired guide (Spencer Tracy) reluctantly agrees to go with him. But his brother’s intentions turn out to be shockingly selfish. The bonds of family loyalty are tested against the raw pull of humanity when the pair finds a lone survivor (Anna Kashfi) who needs their help.

  • Into Thin Air: Death on Everest
    1997 NR 90 minutes
    This made-for-TV movie follows author Jon Krakauer as he joins a team of mountain climbers making the journey to the top of Mount Everest. Krakauer has come along to write an article, but when conditions turn deadly, his only concern is survival.

  • Climb Against the Odds
    1999 NR 85 minutes
    Narrated by Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis, this affecting documentary follows 12 women who face seemingly insurmountable odds on an expedition up North America’s tallest peak: Alaska’s towering Mount McKinley. But scaling it isn’t their only challenge — five of them are also breast cancer survivors, and their struggles on and off the mountain serve as an inspiring tribute to women’s courage under daunting circumstances.

  • Everest
    2007 PG-13 137 minutes
    A group of mountaineers faces the unforgiving elements and nearly insurmountable hardships as they attempt to scale Mount Everest to fulfill the dream of climber John Laughlin (Jason Priestley), who lost his life in a solo expedition. Journalist Norman Kelly (William Shatner) documents their struggles in this gripping miniseries based on real events. Eric Johnson and Gord Rand also star.

Two Stars

  • Train to Climb Mt. Rainier
    (Train to Climb Mt. Rainier Or Any High Peak)
    2003 NR 66 minutes
    Prepare yourself to climb Mt. Rainier — the highest peak in the Cascade Range — or to scale another mountain or do other strenuous climbing with this informative program which lays out a comprehensive six-month plan for peak physical conditioning. Elements of the conditioning plan include aerobic and anaerobic routines, strength training, exercises to increase flexibility and specialized workouts to train for climbing.

  • The Climb
    2002 PG 99 minutes
    A pair of mismatched rock climbers must learn to work together to conquer one of the world’s most treacherous mountains in this adventure tale. After rescuing a wealthy man (Dabney Coleman), solo climbers Michael (Ned Vaughn) and Derrick (Jason George) are rewarded with a chance to summit Mount Chicanagua. Risk-taker Derrick clashes with safety-conscious Michael, but in order to live through the ordeal they must figure out how to work as a team.

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Related Outdoor Films

Below is a list of my favorite four and five star outdoorsy films on Netflix. And while they aren’t explicitly mountaineering or climbing flicks, I think that any lover of the great outdoors would greatly enjoy the following movies and documentaries.

Five Stars

  • Into the Wild
    2007 R 148 minutes
    A young man gives up everything — including his trust fund and ties to a seemingly stable family — to lead a solitary life in the wild. Eschewing convention to trek across Alaska’s harsh and unforgiving terrain, he resolves to live off the land.

  • As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me
    (So weit die Füße tragen)
    2003 NR 122 minutes
    After escaping from a Siberian labor camp in the wake of World War II, German soldier Clemens Forell (Bernhard Bettermann) makes his way toward his wife and children, traveling more than 8,000 miles over the course of three long years to reach his final destination. Hardy Martins directs this critically acclaimed adaptation of the best-selling book by Josef Martin Bauer, a true story of survival and courage.

  • Survivorman
    Seasons 1-3 DVD
    Les Stroud showcases his survival prowess in various locations — like the Canadian arctic and on a raft in the middle of the ocean near Belize — where locating food, water, and supplies to build shelter pose as his chief challenges. With no production crew present for this gripping television series, Stroud goes for up to seven days video recording his highs and lows during meticulously planned jaunts around the globe.

  • 127 Hours
    2010 R 94 minutes
    From director Danny Boyle comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself loose from danger — and lives to tell about it when sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts. The film scored Academy Award nominations in the Best Picture and Best Actor (Franco) categories.

  • The Endurance
    2000 G 97 minutes
    In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail on the Endurance with 27 men aboard, aiming to cross Antarctica. But when the vessel became stranded in frigid waters, the crew began a battle of the human spirit, testing the very limits of their strength. Miraculously, they succeeded, even capturing the experience in pictures and on film as they strove to overcome the debilitating setback. Liam Neeson narrates this gripping document of their ordeal.

  • Running the Sahara
    2007 NR 102 minutes
    America’s Charlie Engle, Canada’s Ray Zahab and Taiwan’s Kevin Lin embark on an unprecedented quest to traverse the entire Sahara desert — on foot. Along the way, the runners encounter the beauties and hardships that accompany modern African life.

  • Steep
    2007 PG 92 minutes
    From its wild early days in the French Alps to its wild present the world over, extreme skiing is chronicled in breathtaking detail by filmmaker Mark Obenhaus. You’ll meet the superstars of big-mountain skiing, who defy death with every jump. Obenhaus follows the work of renowned skier Doug Coombs, as well as the careers of pioneers Anselme Baud and Patrick Vallencant. The documentary screened at AFI Fest and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007.***Note: I’ve intentionally left off general skiing films, excluding this one, but there are tons of Warren Miller and Matchstick Productions films on Netflix.

Four Stars

  • Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure: IMAX
    2001 NR 40 minutes
    One of the greatest survival stories of all time comes to life in this extraordinary true story of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, a testament to heroism and human endurance. All 28 men survived nearly 2 years in the barren, frigid Antarctic when their ship was caught in pack ice and eventually crushed. The film features stunning photography and 35mm motion picture footage.

  • Dersu Uzala
    1975 NR 140 minutes
    A party of Russian soldiers hires aged hunter Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk) to guide them on a surveying expedition through Siberia in the early 20th century. Uzala leads the group through life-threatening conditions with reverence and concern for his surroundings. Based on true memoirs, Akira Kurosawa’s Academy Award-winning production is a testament to the value of lasting friendship, loyalty and mutual respect.

  • The Way Back
    2010 PG-13 133 minutes
    After narrowly escaping from a wretched World War II Siberian labor camp, a small band of multinational soldiers desperately undertakes a harrowing journey to traverse Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas on foot.

  • Encounters at the End of the World
    2007 G 101 minutes
    Filmmaker Werner Herzog takes you on a wild and woolly journey to the South Pole in this Oscar contender — from the National Science Foundation’s headquarters on Ross Island to some of Antarctica’s most remote and dangerous terrain.

  • Grizzly Man
    2005 R 100 minutes
    Renowned nonfiction director Werner Herzog chronicles the tragic and untimely death of outdoorsman Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to studying grizzly bears living in the Alaskan wilderness — only to have one of them maul him to death.

  • Mountain Patrol: Kekexili
    2004 PG-13 89 minutes
    In the remote mountains of Tibet, a team of volunteer rangers struggles against all odds to save the endangered Tibetan antelope. This remarkable true story pits the determined mountain patrol against a band of ruthless poachers who move like spirits across the massive Kekexili wildlife reserve. And if do-gooders stand in the way of their hunt for the elusive antelope, these gun-toting outlaws won’t hesitate to shoot patrolmen.

  • Himalaya
    (Himalaya – L’enfance d’un Chef)
    1999 NR 109 minutes
    As the denizens of a Tibetan village prepare for their arduous annual trek to exchange salt for grain, the community’s allegiances are split between the aging chieftain Tinle (Thilen Lhondup) and rebellious young Karma (Gurgon Kyap). Tinle tries to maintain his clout and preserve obedience to ancient customs when Karma challenges the old man’s power. Director Eric Valli’s mesmerizing tale received an Oscar nod for Best Foreign Language Film.

  • Frozen
    2010 R 94 minutes
    Three friends hit the slopes for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. But when they convince the chairlift operator to let them take one last run before closing, Parker (Emma Bell), Joe (Shawn Ashmore) and Dan (Kevin Zegers) find themselves stranded in midair, alone and freezing. It’ll be days before anyone returns to the slopes, and their chances of survival are looking slimmer by the minute. Adam Green directs this taut thriller.

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And if you’ve come across any other great climbing or mountaineering movies on Netflix that I am missing in the list above, please contact me or leave a comment below.

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Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, and wanderer. Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out living in his pickup truck and road tripping across the American West. Since then he backpacked through Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. Right now you can find him driving his old truck across all of South America -- support the adventures by visiting the D2D Shop. Follow the adventures on social media or read more.

Comments 21

    1. Post

      Haha, finally watched that recently. Good stuff. Is it on DVD rental though? I thought it was only streaming… Maybe things have changed?

      1. Agree with Mike, I recently watched ‘K2: Siren of the Himalayas’, its breathtaking and inspirational. Another documentary that I would recommend is ‘Mount St. Elias’.

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          Just watched K2 the other day as well, definitely awesome. I will need to update this post soon. Haven’t seen St. Elias… I’ll add it to my queue! Thanks.

  1. Some years ago I saw a documentary of a group of German free climbers who were climbing in Yosemite. It was really entertaining, particularly when it showed some of the physical feats these athletes could do — such as one-finger pullups with every finger on each hand except the pinky fingers. Any chance you’re familiar with this film? I’ve been trying to find it to watch again.


    Great article and suggestions, btw.

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      Hey Peter, thanks for the comment–sounds like Am Limit (To the Limit), which is a great film about the Huber Brothers. See if that’s the one you were looking for–if not, then I’m not sure which film it is. In that case, let me know if you find it! 🙂

  2. Did you say you watched all of the above videos on Netflix? The first four I looked up on Netflix were not there: Amazonia Vertical, Train to Climb Mt. Rainier, Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa: IMAX, Rainer the Mountain. Any ideas?

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      I did indeed watch all of those on Netflix… They do occasionally revise their inventory unfortunately. If you can’t find them then they may have dropped (or someone lost) those titles, thanks for the heads up.

      1. Thanks so much Ryan for the list of mountaineering movies! You have to have the exact name of the movie to find all of them and I did not have them.
        Thanks again,

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      I do not, unfortunately… Didn’t have instant before, though I do now. But I haven’t watched it once since I’ve been on the road! Should probably just cancel my subscription.

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