Whether you consider yourself an avid mountaineer or simply enjoy observing humans pushing themselves beyond the limits of what was considered possible, the below films are for you. This list of must watch mountaineering documentaries covers a range of different environments, climbers and a mix of triumph and tragedy, tackling peaks in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. 3 are available for viewing free on YouTube, the other 3 will cost you around $3 each (also available on YouTube). Enjoy.
“Reinhold Messner, the world’s greatest mountain climber, looks back over his career with surprising candor and self-revelation. It is the career of a man who began climbing with his father in the exquisite Italian Dolomites, but whose restless quest for self-knowledge through extreme adventures made him the most accomplished climber of modern times. MESSNER includes rare film of his astonishing climbs of the world’s highest mountains – without using bottled oxygen and often alone.”
“Touching the Void is a 2003 documentary based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson about Simpson’s and Simon Yates’ disastrous and near fatal attempt to climb Siula Grande (6,344 m) in the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.”
“Blur the lines between dream state and reality, as you perceive the world through the minds of many. Into the Mind contemplates the experiences passed between mentors and peers to paint a philosophical portrait of human kind. What drives us to overcome challenge? How do we justify risk? What forces are at the core of a mountain addiction? Unique athlete segments over a multitude of mountain sport genres depict the connectivity of Earth, and window into never seen before moments. Explore how we begin our perception of self, construct the foundations of confidence, and are ultimately led up the path of self-actualization.”
“In August of 2008, 22 climbers from several international expeditions converged on High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit of the most dangerous mountain on Earth. 48 hours later, eleven had been killed or simply vanished into thin air. Like a horror movie come-to-life, it was as if the mountain began stealing lives, one climber at a time.
One such climber was the fun-loving, friendly Ger McDonnell, the first Irishman to summit K2. Faced with a moral dilemma after finding three climbers tangled and struggling in K2’s perilous “death zone”, Ger defied the climber’s code and attempted to help his fellow climbers descend. This is as much Ger’s story as it is an homage to the fearsome power of nature”
In the high-stakes pursuit of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting 21,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the mountain’s perversely stacked obstacles make it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world’s toughest climbers. In October 2008, renowned alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk arrived in India to tackle Meru. Their planned seven-day trip quickly declined into a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures with quickly depleting food rations. Despite making it to within 100 meters of the elusive summit, their journey, like everyone before them, was not a successful one.
“This critically acclaimed six-part mini-series… Shot between March and June 2004, Ultimate Survival: Everest chronicles the Everest efforts of Team Discovery, which included two Canadian climbers – producer and experienced adventure guide Ben Webster, and his girlfriend, rookie climber and PhD candidate in Sports Psychology, Shauna Burke – plus Australian Andrew Lock and Hector Ponce De Leon from Mexico, both veterans of Everest and the world’s most intimidating peaks.”
Another terrible tragedy in Paris this week has captured the worlds attention and resulted in an outpouring of grief and sympathy. It’s completely understandable and truly touching that demonstrates humanity hasn’t lost it’s empathy and we do still truly care about one another in times of crises. The problem I’ve seen, over and over again, is that social media may actually be detrimental to action taken in response to these crises.
Updating your status with a message of support or adopting a flag as your profile pic may make you feel as though you’ve contributed to helping the victims where in actual fact, they are not actually privvy to any of your well wishes and sympathy.
This quote from the Art of Manliness perfectly captures my thoughts..
“Whenever there is a tragedy somewhere in the world, people tend to react with an outpouring of emotion and sympathy. This a healthy and excellent thing, but oftentimes the sympathetic impulse rises and extinguishes all within the confines of a person’s chest and without producing any external effect. Too often we compulsively consume the news the way we consume a book or a movie: as removed spectators who enjoy the drama — the emotions it elicits — for its own sake. (Most people do not think of horror and sympathy as pleasurable, but all intense emotions, when experienced in a situation of safety, offer a certain gratification.) This passivity is understandable — we feel powerless to do anything beyond broadcasting support on social media. But in this we think too narrowly. While it may not be possible to turn our sympathetic feelings into actions that will directly help the victims of tragedies, we should not let this noble impulse — an affirmation of our best humanity — pass by unutilized either.”
Don’t let that status update be your defining moment of action. It may let you feel like you’ve done something to help but at the end of the day, you haven’t contributed anything. If you truly feel that strongly, take action and do something to contribute to either the victims or to ensuring the tragedy doesn’t occur in future.
Anyone in Perth reading this, be sure to head down to the National Hotel in Fremantle on November 14th.
We’ll be hosting an event on the 2nd floor and would love to have you there!
The National have offered a 10% discount on food and drinks for anyone attending, just be sure to grab a wristband on the night.
It’s $10 entry which scores you a free Wonders of Perth Calendar. There’ll be a raffle full of great prizes and some artwork and photgraphy to check out on the night.
The best part? It’s all for a great cause. All proceeds will be put towards the 7 Summits Project and the education projects I’m working towards in Nepal.
Hope to see you down there!
For those that regularly follow my adventure here at 7 Summits, you’ll know I have big ambitions. I’m taking on the tallest mountains on each and every continent. All before 2018. I have a deep connection with these fearsome structures, and it all comes from a love of adventure. But, what do I love most about the mountains around me? Here are some of the things that make these regions so special.
For lack of a better word, the mountains bring a sense of zen. They’re a place to clear the mind, relax, and escape from the stresses of everyday life. It’s a form of meditation that lets you find some alone time with your own thoughts. I think everyone needs that once in awhile, and it’s the one thing that keeps me going up on the mountains. There’s nothing else on the planet that gives you a sense of perspective like being in this vast space!
Some of the mountains on my 7 Summits challenge are notoriously difficult. Everest, in the Himalayas, is the hardest of them all. The altitude difficulty will make this one especially hard. However, some of the other peaks involve long stretches of beautiful hiking. That’s what the journey is all about. Hiking through beautiful landscapes, and getting closer to nature. Even if you’re not planning an epic adventure, you can get out in the wilderness, and just keep hiking!
The art of rock climbing still fascinates me, and I have the utmost respect for fellow rock climbers. The precision, bravery, and endurance needed to stay sharp on the mountain is phenomenal. Most of my challenges involve some form of climbing whether it’s a scramble, or a fully bolted climb. Aside from this challenge, I also love bouldering. It’s a shorter form of rock climbing, done without ropes or harnesses. The challenge is completing incredibly hard, short routes.
As much as I love going up the mountains and conquering the summits, I have a similar love for coming down. Speeding down the white slopes is a completely different thrill to going up. I was lucky enough to take the Alltracks snowboard instructor course, and spend an entire season on the slopes.
Alongside my journey to each of the 7 summits, I’m focusing my time and effort on Save the Children. The aim is to raise over $250,000 for children in Nepal, many of whom live on less than a dollar a day. It’s the chance to do something good while pursuing the challenge. The mountains certainly help put your own problems in perspective to others!
Overall, I love the feeling of awe and wonder you get from climbing. There’s an immense amount of respect involved when conquering a mountain. You learn to respect the weather, and you put your own abilities and ego in perspective.
I’d love to hear from any readers out there. What do you love about the mountains, and what keeps you going?
The Wonders of Perth calendar is now available! You can order yours here: Buy Your Wonders of Perth Calendar or if you live in Perth, get in touch and we can organise a drop-off or pickup.
We started this project in November 2014, before I’d even done my first summit and when I was still off gallivanting through India. The reason it was possible at all was thanks to 2 people; Mr Abid Imam, the producer and brains behind the project, and Lisa Klifunis (check out her work on Insta:_lisk), the photographer. These 2 have sacrificed a lot of their time and energy to make this possible so I just want to say a heartfelt thank you.
Also to the models who came out and gave life to the locations we wanted to photograph. Some we knew previously, some we didn’t and I want to say a big thank you to you guys as well. We looked for local girls, not professional talent to give the calendar a more natural and ‘homely’ feel. Hopefully this becomes part of a very successful portfolio for you all!
Finally to Crazy Domains who have once again put up the funding for one of my crazy ideas.. Appreciate all your support throughout the 7 Summits Project so far and will be forever grateful. Particularly to my good mate Tim who has made the partnership possible.
I’m overjoyed with how well the calendar has turned out, it looks incredible. I think you all need to get one and see for yourself what a beautiful city Perth really is.
The real reason to make the purchase of course, is to help out a few children who are in desperate need of an opportunity in life. This calendar will play a small part in the bigger fundraising picture, in which I’ll need every bit of help I can get if it’s going to succeed. I want to provide a ray of light to highlight the dark poverty cycle a number of Nepalese kids are currently trapped in. Through education, I know we can bring a few out of that world and into one filled with opportunity for a brighter future.
Not-for-Profit organisations are those which are created to benefit a particular sector of the community, using their surplus revenues to further their mission or purpose, rather than distributing the profits to stakeholders. The most pure form of non-profits, are charities and in all seriousness, where would the world be without them? They provide food & shelter for the homeless, education for poor, refuge for the ill-treated and hope for those born into a world of despair. In addition to the obvious work of charities, not-for-profits provide essential services at a community level that would often otherwise be completely neglected and overlooked.
Their impact on society cannot be overestimated and if it were up to me, I would incorporate compulsory volunteering into the education system that would show kids the benefits these organisations bring and hopefully, create life-long volunteers. Unfortunately, this is not the case and so non-profits have to go about their own process of ‘recruiting’ members to help them achieve their mission. Although this is without doubt a hard task for an organisation with limited resources, it is in my mind, where a lot of them falter.
Kids volunteering during a world record event I organised with Men of the Trees in 2014.
I would incorporate compulsory volunteering into the education system that would show kids the benefits these organisations bring and hopefully, create life-long volunteers.
From my experiences (albeit still fairly limited) in the not-for-profit world, those that have been running for a long period of time (several decades) seem to all have a similar problem. They are stale. What I mean by that, is that they have lost what first made them tick, that energy and passion to do good in the world and achieve their founding mission, whatever that may be. As the years go by, their original founders growing older and moving on, they seem to be focused purely on survival with whatever enthusiasm being left over going towards their greater purpose. This is still present in the for-profit world of course but nowhere near to the same extent. The lure of bonuses and increased salaries usually providing enough incentive on their own. That I believe, is the key difference between the two.
The problem with this situation, is that it doesn’t make for an attractive place to volunteer. That’s the predominant reason I believe, as to why most are devoid of youth. At every established not-for-profit I have come across, the membership and volunteer base are comprised predominantly of older men and women. With age comes the hardening of arteries and for the most part, a resistance to change. This results in the stifling of new ideas and customs that may be necessary to move the organisation forward. This is certainly not always the case, some of the most inspired and idea-rich individuals are from former generations. For the most part however, like most stereotypes, it tends to hold a bit of truth. I don’t mean to be offensive with that statement and I completely understand why it is the case. Risk adversity is a luxury afforded to the youth, who have less to lose and the time to rectify a situation gone awry. From an organisations point of view, trying to keep pace and compete in a fast-moving and constantly changing world, that situation is far from ideal.
How to solve this problem then? I believe they need to make their organisation appeal to youth, who will bring new ideas, creativity, inspiration and energy. This is not in the form of paid positions but volunteers; students & young professionals that want to do some good in the world but can’t dedicate themselves to it full-time. They then need to act on the ideas and inspiration that these new minds provide. Not only will it give incentive for these young men and women to stay and get involved, it will allow the organisation a new perspective and a more up-to-date view on what’s going on in the modern world. I believe their are an abundance of young people, such as myself, who want to do something positive for the world but see volunteering as a monotonous, uninspired and often-times seemingly pointless undertaking.
It’s not all about grand visions and dreams of course, the menial tasks still need to be performed. But give people a chance to contribute in a meaningful way, you’ll soon find you have a hell of a lot more volunteers and the world will be a better place because of it.