35 Best Mountain Climbing Movies & Documentaries Of All Time

For most adventurers, conquering a mountain is the ultimate challenge. Fighting against nature’s greatest treasures tests your abilities and skills to the maximum, which is one of the reasons why mountain-climbing movies are so popular.

The following list contains all The Best Movies about Mountain Climbing, from big-budget hollywood features to small independent documentaries, the list has something for everyone.

NOTE: If you are looking for a simple list of movies CLICK HERE for a sortable table. If you are looking for a bit more info on the movies then keep scrolling.

What Type Of Movie Are You Looking For?

Action Adventure | Drama |Docudrama | Documentary

Action-Adventure


The White Tower (1950)

the white tower 1950 movie

Approved | 1h 38min | Adventure | 24 June 1950 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 6.0/10

It’s quite rare to have a woman mountaineer as the main character in mountain-climbing movies. However, The White Tower shows that women are as strong as their male counterparts — and perhaps even better at mountaineering.

Starring Alida Valli and Glenn Ford, the story follows a woman who needs to seek out revenge against the mountain that killed her father.

Based on the book by James Ramsey Ullman, the movie is a thrill to watch, not only because of all the climbing action but because of the human traits that reveal themselves slowly.

During the ascent, all the characters have to overcome various obstacles. Thus, they reveal if they have what it takes to make it to the top.

Overall, The White Tower is a true classic and a great mountain-climbing movie for a lazy afternoon. Plus, since it was made in Technicolor, you can bet it comes with plenty of gorgeously vivid vistas!


Cliffhanger (1993)

Cliffhanger (1993)

R | 1h 53min | Action, Adventure, Thriller | 28 May 1993 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 6.4/10

The next entry on our list of the best mountain-climbing movies of all time stars none other than Sylvester Stallone. A total guilty pleasure, we remember watching this movie when we were kids. After that, we immediately wanted to climb the fence in the backyard and be just like Gabe Walker.

Of course, the plot of the movie is nothing to write home about; it all starts with a tragedy that messes up the main character. Nevertheless, it’s the energy that counts, as well as the attitude.

From a superstar climber to a vulnerable creature, Stallone does his best to portray Gabe. Luckily, he’s joined by some other amazing actors, such as John Lithgow and Michael Rooker, so even his somewhat wooden acting isn’t as awkward as you might expect.


The Eiger Sanction (1975)

Clint Eastwood in The Eiger Sanction

Approved | 2h 9min | Action, Crime, Thriller | 21 May 1975 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 6.4/10

At first, while watching The Eiger Sanction, you might think you’re watching some James Bond sequel you never heard of before. But, that is the beauty of this movie and what makes it one of the best mountain-climbing movies ever.

It doesn’t deal as much with mountains as we’d like. However, it does star Clint Eastwood and offers some thrilling action and climbing footage.

There’s a lot of suspense in this movie, which bodes well with those who love thrillers and crime-related storylines. Still, the story is a bit weak and has to be supported by good photography and mountain-top vistas.

Overall, it’s not a masterpiece, but it is enjoyable and a great way to pass the time, especially if climbing is one of your passions.


Vertical Limit (2000)

a scene from Vertical Liimit

PG-13 | 2h 4min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 8 December 2000 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 5.9/10

In its very essence, Vertical Limit is a bit of a silly movie. It takes a really unbelievable plot and combines it with semi-decent acting. The result is a survival movie that’s enjoyable to watch but nothing to write home about.

Still, Vertical Limit has ended up on our list of the best mountain-climbing movies because it offers a glimpse into K2 and what an expedition to the mountain would take. Moreover, the cast is great, as it includes the likes of Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, and Robin Tunney. These are amazing actors, so even if their acting is a bit stiff, we guess it’s all due to the dialogue.

Overall, Vertical Limit talks about revenge, sibling love, and various dangers that lurk while climbing a mountain but have nothing to do with sudden avalanches. It’s an enjoyable feature film that should satisfy any adventurer without making it too difficult for them to follow the story.


K2 (1991)

K2 movie DVD cover

R | 1h 44min | Adventure, Drama, Sport | 1 May 1992 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

Good old K2 is one of the best mountain-climbing movies that don’t take themselves too seriously. To be honest, this movie is quite lighthearted even though there are dangers all around, and the whole climbing expedition is in jeopardy at one point.

But that’s what makes it so different. It doesn’t dwell much on the philosophical nature of mountain-climbing. It talks about two buddies who are very different yet have the same goal. They want to join a team that’s planning to ascend the K2 and needs replacement climbers.

Long story short, expect some twists and thrills, as well as a whole lot of easy-to-follow dialogue. Just don’t expect Oscar-worthy performances; critics hated this movie, and it didn’t do well at the box office. Still, we do think it’s a must-see for any mountain-loving adventurer out there, if only for the cool mountain footage.


Everest (2015)

Everest 2015 mountain climbing movie

PG-13 | 2h 1min | Action, Adventure, Biography | 25 September 2015 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Once again, we have Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air as the inspiration behind a motion picture. Everest is a commercial movie with an ensemble cast and some exquisite effects that talks about the 1996 Everest disaster and how two expedition groups fought for their lives.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a movie with the happiest ending out there. In fact, we’re sure you’ll feel like you’re about to cry at some point. There’s something about the acting in this movie that truly keeps you interested until the very end.

It’s a shame Krakauer didn’t think much of the movie. We do believe it’s a good representation of the disaster — at least in the eyes of Hollywood. Thus, it deserves a spot on our list of the best mountain-climbing movies fair and square.


A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

a lonely place to die mountain climbing movie

R | 1h 39min | Action, Crime, Thriller | 2 November 2011 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

Although we wouldn’t say that this is one of the most interesting mountain-climbing movies ever, it does talk about three mountaineers. Unfortunately, their climbing adventures are cut short when they find a girl buried in a chamber in the wilderness. Looking to get her to safety, the three mountaineers slowly descend the Devil’s Drop — but the girl’s kidnappers are onto them.

In general, this movie is a classic crime thriller that focuses more on the criminal vs. criminal storyline. However, we do get some nice shots of the Scottish Highlands, and the cast is good as well. Melissa George, Karel Roden, Ed Speelers, and Kate Magowan bring the movie’s plot to life.

Drama


Nanga Parbat (2010)

Nanga Parbat (2010)

1h 44min | Biography, Drama | 14 January 2010 (Germany) | IMDB Rating: 6.6/10

We’re moving quickly through our list of the best mountain-climbing movies of all time, and we cannot avoid mentioning Nanga Parbat. It is a tragic tale, to say the least, but one that sticks with you forever.

The story revolves around two brothers, Reinhold and Günther Messner. During their childhood, their love for climbing was evident, and we get to see a dramatization of that in the movie.

However, survival wasn’t in the cards for one of them. The movie centers around the memories of Reinhold. He completed the summit with his brother only to lose him in an avalanche during the descent.

This movie brings everything to the table. From the sheer excitement of climbing to brotherly love, it moves you and tells the truth of what happened to Günther and why some people thought Reinhold was guilty of his death.


Into Thin Air: Death on Everest (1997)

scene from Into Thin Air

TV-14 | 1h 30min | Adventure, Biography, Drama | TV Movie 9 November 1997 | IMDB Rating: 5.7/10

Once again, we’re talking about the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy that claimed the lives of twelve people in total. This one, like so many other mountain-climbing movies, was made according to Jon Krakauer’s book, with the author being one of the survivors.

The ascent to the peak actually begins well, making the viewer rather hopeful. However, the twists and turns in the story could make you cry out in despair. From lack of fixed ropes to lack of oxygen, the movie is both exciting and sad, especially when Rob Hall meets his demise.

Overall, the story shows us that the mountains are treacherous, much like the weather. Moreover, it once again details how deadly Mount Everest is and how sometimes, you basically only have your luck to rely on to survive.


Third Man on the Mountain (1959)

Third Man on the Mountain 1959 oldies movie

Approved | 1h 47min | Adventure, Drama, Family | 10 November 1959 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Leave it to Disney to make climbing family-friendly. The next film on our list of the best mountain-climbing movies is Third Man on the Mountain. Based on Banner in the Sky, written by James Ramsey Ullman, the story centers around a young Swiss man who wants to “avenge” his father’s death by climbing the mountain that killed him.

Of course, don’t expect gruesome details in this movie — it was meant for the younger audience, after all.

What we love about it is that it’s an interesting tale, and although somewhat fictionalized, it gives the audience a taste of what climbing a mountain truly means and entails.

Plus, the vistas in this movie are super gorgeous, just like Disney always makes them, and the acting is a bit over the top, making it a true children’s classic.


The Beckoning Silence (2007)

The Beckoning Silence: Life and Death on the Eiger

PG | 1h 13min | Drama | TV Movie 22 October 2007 | IMDB Rating: 7.5/10

Once again, we have Toni Kurz’s story as the focus of mountain-climbing movies. However, this time, it is told by none other than Joe Simpson, a climber we are now already familiar with from Touching the Void.

Retelling the story of Toni Kurz’s tragedy, Joe Simpsons tries to answer some fundamental questions about mountaineering. His own survival tale mirrored that of Kurz. Yet, unlike him, he came out of the crevasse where he was trapped and continued living.

Why? Why did he survive something that would have been so unlikely for someone else? More importantly, why did he continue to climb mountains after that — after coming so close to death?

Even though it’s a TV movie, The Beckoning Silence is a must-see for any aspiring mountaineer out there. Filled with emotion and rawness, it combines one tragedy and one almost tragedy into a tale that allows Simpson to confront his demons and once again discover why climbing is such a thrill for him.


Scream Of Stone (1991)

Scream of Stone climbing movie

Original Title: Cerro Torre: Schrei aus Stein

1h 45min | Drama | 3 October 1991 (Germany) | IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

We cannot say that our next entry for the best mountain-climbing movies of all time is a masterpiece. To be perfectly honest, the dialogue is weak, and so is the story.

But this movie has some of the best mountain footage we’ve ever seen. If you’re an aspiring mountaineer or just love mountains in general, you’ll get to marvel at the most extraordinary vistas, not even paying attention to the story.

Thus, we still think it’s worth a watch (or two). And besides, it isn’t exactly thrill-free — there are a few moments that make you gasp.


The Climb (2017)

The Climb (L'ascension) 2017 movie

Original Title: L’ascension

1h 43min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance | 25 January 2017 (France) | IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

Imagine waking up one day and deciding you’re going to climb Mount Everest. Without any prior mountaineering experience, Nadir Dendoune did just that and became the first French-Algerian to complete the climb successfully!

Of course, this is one of those mountain-climbing movies that are only loosely inspired by the original story. There are also quite a few romantic moments. The main character decides to climb Everest armed with Nutella, a romance novel, and a replica Zidane shirt. And he does it all for a girl in order to prove he’s worthy of her love!

Still, that doesn’t make it weird or a waste of time. In fact, we really liked how the romantic subplot works in favor of climbing and vice versa. Besides, we don’t have to watch serious movies only. This one allowed us to not only laugh but also root for the underdog. It was a lot of fun, just like movies should be!

Docudrama


Beyond the Edge (2013)

Beyond the Edge (2013)

Unrated | 1h 30min | Documentary, Drama, History | 4 July 2014 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 6.8/10

Back in 1953, the mountains weren’t conquered as “easily” as today. There wasn’t much equipment to use, and people didn’t know what to expect.

However, that didn’t stop Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay from trying their luck. Facing extreme weather, altitude sickness, and sub-zero temperatures, they became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

What makes Beyond the Edge one of the best mountain-climbing movies ever is that it displays in 3D all the things they had to go through. Of course, most of it is a dramatized recreation, but the director also added real footage and photographs to allow every adventurer a glimpse into a challenge that shook and shaped the modern world.


Touching The Void (2003)

Touching the Void movie based on a true story

R | 1h 46min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama | 12 March 2004 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

Weirdly enough, the next entry on our list of the best mountain-climbing movies of all time doesn’t talk much about the ascent. Instead, this docudrama conveys how Joe Simpson and Simon Yates descended the Siula Grande in Peru.

We could say all was going well for the two mountaineers until Simpson fell and broke his leg. After trying to self-rescue, Yates attempts to lower his partner down the cliff with a rope. But, since the weather conditions are extreme, all hell breaks loose when Simpson is left hanging in mid-air. Figuring that he cannot save him, Yates cuts the rope. But, Simpson survives, and ends up in a crevasse. Now, his only survival goal is to find a way out of it.

We won’t reveal what happens next, as this is a docudrama you ought to see with your own eyes. Just know that it was such a success that it’s regarded as one of the most successful documentary films in the whole British history.


North Face (2008)

North Face (Nordwand) 2008

German Title: Nordwand

Not Rated | 2h 6min | Adventure, Biography, Drama | 23 October 2008 (Germany) | IMDB Rating: 7.4/10

No matter if you’re into mountain-climbing movies or not, North Face will definitely pull you in and won’t let you press pause for even a second.

The movie carefully tells the tale of Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser, who, in 1936, attempted to climb the Eiger. They were pressured into trying due to the Nazi propaganda at the time. Yet, even back then, the equipment was scarce, and the challenges were tough.

Directed by Philipp Stolzl, North Face is as riveting as it sounds. As the climbers are doing their best to conquer Eiger, they face multiple challenges that ultimately decide their fate. But trust us — you don’t want to know the ending by reading about it. Just go seek out this movie right now and enjoy the cinematography, the acting — everything!

Documentary

First Ascent (2006)

First Ascent 2006 movie

1h 30min | Documentary, Sports, Adventure | Video 1 October 2006 | IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

The Cobra Crack is one of the hardest routes in the world, but Swiss climber Didier Berthod doesn’t scare easily. He wants and needs to climb it in order to become the first man that ever did it.

In essence, the movie is a great example of superb extreme sports filmmaking and true mountain-climbing movies.

Moreover, it was filmed on locations across the world and is a movie whose success was determined by all those famous climbers that took part in it. From Berthod and Sonnie Trotter to Timmy O’Neill and Dean Potter, First Ascent offers a firsthand look at the Cobra Crack and what would take to conquer it.


Sherpa (2015)

Sherpa 2015 documentary film

Not Rated | 1h 36min | Documentary | 26 April 2016 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Phurba Tashi came to prominence after the release of one of the best mountain-climbing documentaries of all time, Sherpa, in 2015. The story follows him while leading a climbing expedition for a company called Himex, during the 2014 Mount Everest ice avalanche.

But what makes this documentary stand out is the way the director, Jennifer Peedom, carefully intertwines the story with the Sherpa culture. We are witnesses not only to Tashi’s climbing expertise but the values of both his family and fellow Sherpas.

The documentary shows us that even for those who have spent years and years planning their next ascent, it’s never easy to conquer nature. Furthermore, it’s an exposé of harsh racial tensions, and all the dangers climbing carries with it, not to mention how big a role money has in all of it.


The Asgard Project (2009)

The Asgard Project (2009)

Not Rated | 1h 25min | Documentary | November 2009 (UK) | IMDB Rating: 8.5/10

Produced by Alastair Lee, the documentary follows some of the greatest climbers of all time who are trying to ascend Mt. Asgard’s north face. At first, the story is hopeful, with them skydiving into Baffin Island, leaving you in awe of their expertise. However, it slowly turns for the worst, making even reaching the base camp a tough challenge.

We particularly like this documentary because it shows that even when you’re totally ready for some climbing, you cannot have it all. Trouble is always just around the corner, and weather conditions respect no master; you have to work against them and hope you come out alive.


Valley Uprising (2014)

Valley Uprising: Yosemite's Rock Climbing Revolution

Not Rated | 1h 43min | Documentary | 1 September 2014 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Yosemite’s massive cliffs have long been the subject of fascination among climbers. But, did you know that in the valley of Yosemite, climbers have carved out a bohemian lifestyle against all the odds?

Valley Uprising tells the story of climbers who have settled on dumpster-diving and living an off-grid life by not conforming to conservative values. These radicals and visionaries spent their lives trying to conquer Yosemite cliffs, passing the torch to the next generation. Of course, they were breaking the law — but that’s why their story is so exciting. Among all the adventurers in the world, those shown in this documentary were some of the greatest.


Free Solo (2018)

Free Solo - National Geographic Documentary Film

PG-13 | 1h 40min | Documentary, Adventure, Sport | 13 December 2018 (New Zealand)

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Free Solo follows Alex Honnold while he’s on a mission to fulfill his lifelong dream of conquering the El Capitan Wall. However, this isn’t just a simple ascent story.

Although the documentary shows Honnold’s expertise, it also dwells on all the stress and challenges climbing comes with. What’s more, since Honnold is a solo climber and wants to make the ascent without any equipment, it’s a gripping tale of perseverance and survival.

And, to make it all the more interesting, the documentary isn’t only about climbing. It actually shows the production process and how filmmakers had to be extremely careful not to rattle Honnold’s focus.


180 Degrees South (2010)

180 Degrees South documentary drama film

PG | 1h 25min | Documentary, Drama, Sport | 22 January 2011 (Japan) | IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

Back in 1968, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins traveled to Patagonia in their Ford E-Series Econoline Van. In 2010, Jeff Johnson attempted to retrace their steps in order to not only conquer the Corcovado Volcano but educate people on conservationism.

Yvon and Doug are true legends, so once Jeff finds the footage of the expedition, he is fascinated with how much they did for the environment and risked their lives for something greater than themselves.

However, instead of taking a van, he decides to travel by sea, which entails many adventures as is. Toward the end of the documentary, he meets Chouinard and Tompkins and actually tries to climb the volcano. Unfortunately, as is the case with many ascents, he has to stop at one point due to safety concerns.

Why do we love this documentary? It details how important conservationism is, yet it doesn’t push the viewer into it. Moreover, it shows that sometimes, just climbing a mountain or volcano isn’t as exciting or as adventurous as working hard to preserve it.


Blindsight (2006)

Blindsight 2006 movie posters

PG | 1h 44min | Documentary, Adventure | 8 August 2008 (UK) | IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

For those who prefer a bit of sentimentality in their documentaries, Blindsight from 2006 offers that and so much more. Directed by Lucy Walker, this is one of the best mountain-climbing documentaries we’ve seen, purely because it’s so much different than what we expected.

The story follows a blind mountaineer called Erik Weihenmayer, who, in 2001, despite his disability, reached the top of Mount Everest. Now, in this inspiring and uplifting documentary, he leads an expedition to the Lhakpa Ri peak and takes six blind Tibetan teenagers with him.

A truly riveting story, the documentary shows the perseverance needed for climbing and mixes in the sentimentality well. The range of personalities involved, as well as all the hardships they’ve had to go through — the story is made for any adventurer out there who doesn’t want anything predictable but still needs a happy ending to motivate them.


Everest (1998)

Everest short documentary film

Unrated | 44min | Documentary, Short | 6 March 1998 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.0/10

Narrated by Liam Neeson, Everest is the ultimate mountain-climbing documentary for lovers of Mount Everest who want to learn more about what the climb actually entails. It was filmed in IMAX and during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.

It follows the team of Ed Viesturs and David Breashears, the director of the documentary, as they examine what Everest has to offer and how it may break the climbers. Oxygen deprivation, avalanches, and blizzards are the most common dangers. However, it also shows that survival skills and the actual will to survive can make a huge difference.

An inspiring tale, no doubt, Everest doesn’t ignore the 1996 tragedy. Instead, it shows how the IMAX team helped the survivors, adding to the realism of the documentary.


K2: Siren of the Himalayas (2012)

K2: Siren of the Himalayas (2012)

Not Rated | 1h 15min | Documentary | 4 November 2014 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

A hundred years after Duke of Abruzzi’s landmark K2 expedition, a group of climbers follows in his footsteps. The trek includes Dave Ohlson, the director, as well as some of the most famous mountaineers, such as Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Chris Szymiec.

Of course, the conquering of the peak is the main focus of the documentary. However, we especially liked its educative nature. It talks not only about climbing K2 but also its geography and history. Furthermore, it offers a historical perspective on the expedition made a hundred years ago, showing how much mountaineering has changed in the meantime and what a feat to surmount K2 truly is.


Meru (2015)

Meru a terrific mountain film

R | 1h 30min | Documentary, Sport | 14 August 2015 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Focusing on both the adventure and the main character, Meru is a riveting tale of ascending the “Shark’s Fin” route on Meru Peak. It follows Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, and Renan Ozturk as they try to summit Meru again after failing in 2008.

Filmed in 2011, the documentary creates a beat-your-demons narrative. It shows footage of both the failed attempt and the new one. All three of the climbers have had their fair share of hardship in the meantime, with Ozturk even almost dying after an accident, and Chin barely surviving an avalanche.

Luckily, the 2011 ascent is a successful one, making Meru one of the best mountain-climbing documentaries of all time.


Messner (2012)

Messner mountain drama movie

Not Rated | 1h 48min | Documentary, Biography, Drama | 27 September 2012 (Germany) | IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Do you want to be inspired by a true mountain connoisseur? Reinhold Messner is a bit of an eccentric in his own way. However, his cause is a great one. He has inspired many of us to learn more about the importance of mountains and the protection the mountain environment needs.

In this 2012 documentary, Messner is shown as one of the greatest climbers of the modern world. We learn more about his life and why he cares about climbing and mountains so much. Furthermore, we discover his personality through various exploits and see what truly makes him tick.


The Alps (2007)

Not Rated | 45min | Documentary, Adventure | 11 June 2008 (France) | IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

As one of the best mountain-climbing movies of all time, the documentary The Alps from 2007 tells the story of John Harlin III.

Unlike some other mountaineers, we could say John Harlin III has always had an adventurer’s blood flowing through his veins. That’s why he decides to climb the north face of the Eiger; the mountain claimed his father’s life forty years prior, and this is his chance to make up for it.

Of course, you may expect to be dazzled by the wonderful Alps in this documentary. However, don’t forget that the story displays the greatest examples of unstoppable courage, as well. Moreover, it details the bond John shared with his father and how similar it is to what he shares with his own daughter. His father never came back from the climb, making it all the more critical for his ascent to end up a total success.


The Conquest of Everest (1953)

The Conquest of Everest 1953 conquest

Not Rated | 1h 18min | Documentary, Adventure | 7 December 1953 (Sweden) | IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

As an Academy Award nominee, it’s safe to say that The Conquest of Everest is one of the best mountain-climbing movies of all time, even though it’s a documentary. Making Mount Everest the main character, it depicts various expeditions to the peak.

What we love the most about this documentary is that it details everything climbing Everest requires. From the base camp to the grueling conditions the climbers have to face, it leaves no stone unturned in order to inspire every adventurer out there who might be looking into attempting the ascent. Thus, the realism it offers is uncanny, making it a must-see for any aspiring mountaineer.


The Summit (2012)

The Summit 2012 docu movie

R | 1h 35min | Documentary | 22 November 2013 (Ireland) | IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

Back in 2008, one of the greatest K2 disasters happened, killing 11 mountaineers and seriously injuring three others. The Summit is a dramatization of the catastrophe that depicts what exactly happened.

The main reason the tragedy happened was the ice avalanche. However, the documentary explores real footage to see what other scenarios were at play in 2008. Furthermore, it examines how the climbers mysteriously vanished and the sequence of events, making for a gripping tale of all the dangers K2 comes with.

The documentary contains real footage, interviews, and reconstructions. It mostly focuses on the Irish climber Ger McDonnell, but it makes the deadly nature of the K2 upper slopes the main character.


The Wildest Dream (2010)

The Wildest Dream 2010 mountain movie

PG | 1h 34min | Documentary, Biography | 6 August 2010 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Aptly called The Wildest Dream, our next entry for the best mountain-climbing movies of all time is a documentary that actually follows two stories. One is that of George Mallory, who always dreamed of conquering Everest. Unfortunately, during his attempt, he disappeared, and his body was found 75 years later by Conrad Anker.

He discovered that all of Mallory’s belongings were with him except for his wife’s photograph. George promised to place the photo on the summit if his attempt is a total success. So the actual question is — did he make his wildest dream come true?

An overall gripping documentary, The Wildest Dream is a must-see for any adventurer who often feels as if no one understands their love for the climb. Moreover, it’s a true mystery and an attempt to examine why people would risk their lives to conquer Everest.


Mountain (2017)

Mountain 2017 movie

PG | 1h 14min | Documentary | 11 May 2018 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Why are humans so fascinated with mountains? Why would they risk frostbite and probable death? Is their love so deep that even never seeing their families again cannot stop them?

In the 2017 documentary Mountain, Jennifer Peedom explores the love affair between mountains and humankind. She goes deep into history and details all the various expeditions and summit attempts that have marked our world forever.

However, she also makes the movie so visually appealing that it’s difficult to forget it. It’s a masterful documentary that stays with you for quite a while and possibly even inspires you to consider your own relationship with some of nature’s greatest wonders.


The Dawn Wall (2018)

The Dawn Wall short film & biography

Not Rated | 1h 40min | Documentary, Biography, Sport | 14 September 2018 (USA) | IMDB Rating: 8.1/10

Directed by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer, The Dawn Wall is one of the best mountain-climbing documentaries of all time because it has EVERYTHING. Do you want to sit on the edge of your seat, not knowing how Tommy Caldwell will get away from his kidnappers? You got it! Need some incredible shots of Yosemite for you to enjoy? This documentary offers that, as well.

But, all those exciting events aside, the main focus of the documentary is the 19-day climb up El Capitan by Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. And we’re not only talking about climbing here. The documentary has a few themes, one of which is loyalty.

At one point, Caldwell should continue on his own, but he doesn’t. He cannot bear to leave his buddy behind, and in that surprisingly intimate scene, we come to realize that even though climbers seem like superheroes, they’re still human inside.


Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (2013)

Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (2013)

Unrated | 1h 41min | Documentary, Action, Adventure | 13 March 2014 (Germany) | IMDB Rating: 7.0/10

In breathtaking Patagonia lies Cerro Torre, and one man called David Lama has only one goal — he will ascend it. The documentary follows this challenge, as Lama tries, again and again, to bring his mission to fruition.

The climb was sponsored by Red Bull and sparked controversy later on. The free climb was extremely dangerous, and the conditions were cruel. Thus, Lama had to use around 30 new bolts, most of which were drilled next to cracks.

Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell is a riveting tale of a guy whose love for climbing ultimately jeopardized any future ascents of the Compressor Route. Still, despite the controversy, it is a story any adventurer and mountain lover should pay attention to right now.


To The Limit (2007)

To The Limit DVD cover

Not Rated | 1h 35min | Documentary, Sport | 22 March 2007 (Germany) | IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Even though it seems like most mountaineers are quite the daredevils, the Huber brothers take it to the next level. The protagonists of this documentary, Alexander and Thomas, are so unafraid of near-death experiences that they will attempt the impossible.

And what’s that? They are looking to break a speed-climbing record. Instead of taking their time and leaving up to five days for the ascent of The Nose, El Capitan’s 3,000-face, they’re giving themselves — two and a half hours.

Impossible? Yes. Did they do it? You’ll have to see for yourself. We don’t want to spoil the fun. Plus, To The Limit is an extreme documentary most adventurers will simply adore. It’s dangerous, nausea-inducing with all those vistas, and fast.

Moreover, there’s little information to find out about the brothers’ personal lives, so if you were looking for mountain-climbing movies that pass on the sentimentality and bring on the action, this is the right choice.

Mountain Climbing Movies (Sortable By Sub-Genre)

TitleYearMPAA RatedIMDB RatingDocumentaryActionAdventureThrillerCrimeDramaSportBiography
The White Tower1950Approved6x
Cliffhanger1993R6.4xxx
The Eiger Sanction1975Approved6.4xxx
Vertical Limit2000PG-135.9xxx
K21991R6.2xxx
Everest2015PG-137.1xxx
First Ascent2006NA7.3xxx
A Lonely Place to Die2011R6.2xxx
Nanga Parbat20106.6xx
Into Thin Air: Death on Everest1997TV-145.7xxx
Third Man on the Mountain1959Approved7.2xx
The Beckoning Silence2007PG7.5x
Scream Of Stone19916.2x
The Climb2017NA6.9x
Beyond the Edge2013Unrated6.8xx
Touching The Void2003R8xxx
North Face2008Not Rated7.4xxx
Sherpa2015Not Rated7.7x
The Asgard Project2009Not Rated8.5x
Valley Uprising2014Not Rated8.2x
Free Solo2018PG-138.2xxx
180 Degrees South2010PG7.6xxx
Blindsight2006PG7.3xx
Everest1998Unrated7x
K2: Siren of the Himalayas2012Not Rated7.2x
Meru2015R7.7xx
Messner2012Not Rated7.1xxx
The Alps2007Not Rated7xx
The Conquest of Everest1953Not Rated7.1xx
The Summit2012R6.9x
The Wildest Dream2010PG7.3xx
Mountain2017PG7.2x
The Dawn Wall2017Not Rated8.1xxx
Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell2013Unrated7xxx
To The Limit2007Not Rated7.2xx
Best Mountain Climbing Movies

About the Author

CM Burns
CM Burns
CM Burns has been a music video director, a cameraman for Nat Geo, has recorded ancient Tibetan chants in India and swum with whales in Baja, California. Currently living in the Philippines you will find him anywhere Adventure happens.
CM Burns
CM Burns
CM Burns has been a music video director, a cameraman for Nat Geo, has recorded ancient Tibetan chants in India and swum with whales in Baja, California. Currently living in the Philippines you will find him anywhere Adventure happens.
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