I think nothing embodies the great outdoors better than documentaries. So for this week, I want to highlight three documentaries that I think are pretty darn good. One of them you have heard a lot about, from me probably, because it is literally my favourite documentary ever. I have already recommended it once this year but hey, I’m breaking the rules here to make this great outdoors list, in my mind, perfect. All of these three documentaries are about climbing.

1. MERU (2015)

Meru is Jimmy Chin’s second documentary about three elite climbers as they (including Chin) climb Mount Meru, one of the most coveted prizes in the high stakes game of Himalayan big wall climbing. The climb that has seen the most attempts and failures then any route on Himalayan. It had not been done before Meru. And trust me, when you see the route wove its way up the mountain – you know it’s going to be a hell of a journey. Then add in some literally crazy factors, a recovery that will impress you and a friendship that will make you wonder. It’s maybe not as well shot as Chin’s latest documentary but the story itself is too fascinating to miss out on.

2. THE DAWN FALL (2018)

Again, if you’re even a little bit interested in climbing or even find the notion of it fascinating, The Dawn Fall is a great documentary. In an unbelievable story of two climbers free climbing the 3000ft Dawn Wall of El Capitan. So it’s basically a small portion of what you will witness in my next recommendation but a different route and style. It also takes them days to do it! But the way they do it, makes you realise, why the next recommendation is even crazier than it sounds. The Dawn Wall really helps to put climbing into perspective as well. Plus, there are some unbelievable stories of how these climbers are just superheroes in their own right. Get this, one of the guys, Tommy Caldwell, is missing his index finger! I kid you not, I got chills when I realised that he has achieved SO MUCH by having such a huge disadvantage in the climbing community.

3. FREE SOLO (2018)

Now, not sure if you’ve already heard this but here comes another Free Solo fangirl speech. This documentary is amazing! It’s thrilling, absolutely fascinating and it captures the spirit and heartache of climbing perfectly. Jimmy Chin with Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi deliver a great balance of athleticism and emotion, and they deserved that Oscar win tremendously. Because, you have to realise this.. all the camera men, have to be climbers. Not only do they need to know about film making, they have to be professional climbers and that is a small margin of people. So, Free Solo is also a great achievement for documentary makers. But it’s Alex Honnold who makes this an experience worth your time. Alex tackling that wall, free soloing it, like a freaking crazy person or a god or a superhero or something – it’s a sight to behold. It’s like the great outdoors adventure no sane person will ever participate in.



1 Comment

  • Interesting double theme within the theme! Sad to say though that I’ve seen none of them. I’m not much of a climbing enthusiast since I suffer at times from vertigo, I’m not terribly good with high buildings either, but these do sound intriguing so perhaps one day I’ll see at least one.

    I went with more of a survivalist theme with mine.

    A Walk in the Woods (2015)-Travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) decides to hike the Appalachian Trail and since he is no longer a young man at his wife’s (Emma Thompson) urging he is accompanied by his old friend Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte) who proves to be more of a hindrance than help. Based on Bryson’s best seller.

    Alive (1993)-After crashing in the Andes Mountains, the Uruguay’s rugby team struggle for survival as their initial hopes of a quick rescue dwindle. As days turn to weeks and their supplies run out they are confronted with grim choices that must be made. Brutal yet compelling and based on an actual event.

    Jeremiah Johnson (1972)-After the Mexican-American War ends veteran soldier Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford), heads to the mountains to live in isolation. He meets seasoned mountain man (Will Geer) who takes him under his wing and over the years he carves out a life until he incurs the ire of the Crow Indians.

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