Best Mountaineering Documentaries: Free Solo, The Man Who Skied Everest & More

Photo Credit: National Geographic, IFC Films
Photo Credit: National Geographic, IFC Films

Mountain climbing or mountaineering is among the most famous adventure sports in the world. Every year, hundreds and thousands of people try climbing different mountains in order to win prizes or to please themselves. Apart from being a popular sport, mountaineering has been a popular topic for documentaries. Interestingly, several documentaries have been based on people who overcame obstacles to complete a summit.

Documentaries not only show courageous stories about the people who climbed some of the biggest mountains but also tell what happened behind the scenes. If anyone enjoys this genre but can’t decide what to watch, here are some recommendations of the best mountaineering documentaries available for streaming.

Free Solo

One of the most mind-boggling documentaries ever made, Free Solo is an extraordinary tale of courage and determination. The documentary perfectly captures Alex Honnold’s climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. But that’s not all. Honnold decided to climb the mountain without the assistance of ropes, harness, or any other protective equipment. The documentary is filled with amazing sequences and shows how Honnold achieved the monumental feat.

Apart from having an inspirational story, the documentary has gorgeous cinematography. Free Solo has won several accolades, including the Best Documentary (Feature) award at the Academy Awards. It is truly one of the best mountaineering documentaries released in this century.

The documentary is available for streaming on Hulu and National Geographic.

The Man Who Skied Down Everest

Mountain climbers train all their lives to climb Mt. Everest and do it carefully. However, the documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest tells the baffling story of a Japanese alpinist who found a unique way to descend from the high peak in 1970.

The documentary features Yuichiro Miura and how he managed to descend more than 2000 meters of Mt. Everest in under three minutes. Subsequently, the feature-length documentary also gives an exhilarating look at what humans can do. Although he managed to achieve the monumental feat, others were not so lucky and lost their lives while doing the same.

Miura is undoubtedly a legend of the sport and is also the oldest mountaineer to climb Mt. Everest. As far as the documentary is concerned, it enthralled everyone and went on to win Best Documentary Feature Film at the Oscars. The Man Who Skied Down Everest was the first sports documentary to win an Academy Award.

The documentary is available for streaming on Tubi.

The Summit

Mountaineering is not easy since it requires a lot of practice. Apart from the practice, it also requires courage and a lot of luck. Every year, many climbers lose their lives while climbing a mountain, and The Summit is all about that particular aspect.

The documentary is about one of the worst tragedies that took place in 2008. While attempting to climb K2, 11 climbers from the international expeditions died. The story went on to nab attention from across the globe and serves as a perfect subject for a documentary. The film also serves as a reminder that despite having advanced protective equipment, mountaineering is still a tough thing to do.

The Summit is available for streaming on AMC+.


If one feels mountaineering is all about the climbers, they are wrong. It is also about the people who guide national and international climbers to complete their summit. The Sherpa, residing in the regions of the Himalayas, are popular for their expertise in mountaineering.

Sherpa chronicles the journey of a man named Phurba Tashi, who works as a Sherpa and guides people up Mt. Everest in exchange for money. Most importantly, the documentary features his personal life, struggles, and how his family wants him to stop mountain climbing.

The 2014 ice avalanche disaster is also one of the main talking points in the documentary. Through this disaster, the film makes viewers realize how some climbers treat Sherpas badly. This docufilm should definitely be on one’s watchlist because it is among the best mountaineering documentaries out there.

Sherpa is available for streaming on Apple TV.

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