documentary, climbing, adventure

The 5 best adventure documentaries available to stream right now

Words: Josh Rakic
Photo: YouTube/Reel Rock

Go on an adventure without ever having to move from your couch. 

With a seemingly endless array of content being uploaded and removed from Netflix on a daily basis, plus its constantly shapeshifting ancient functionality, it’s near impossible to find your favourite show these days let alone discover something new. Sure, there’s an algorithm for that, but when it suggests watching Real Housewives “because you watched” Fast & Furious, it’s hardly a reliable source.

And the always changing categories are of little help either. Luckily, we’ve got a lot of time on our hands. And because summer is almost here, we scoured Netflix and YouTube for what seemed like days to bring you the best five adventure and outdoor documentaries currently available to stream for free (-ish).

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The barkley marathons

© YouTube/Barkley Movie

You’ve never heard of this documentary, or this race for that matter, because the first rule of this Tennessee ultra trail marathon in the woods is not to talk about the marathon. Or you won’t be one of 40 invited to compete every year. The secret event claims to be the most difficult in the world, with only 10 people over 25 years having finished it. The docu tells the story of the 60-mile all-terrain race that’s based on the escape route of convicted murderer James Earl Ray from the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in 1977.

valley uprising

© YouTube/Reel Rock

It’s hard to believe now but only 40 years ago rock-climbing wasn’t just rare, but illegal. Which was just the incentive a bunch of ragtag 20-something dirtbags needed to flout the law and become infamous in the process as America’s pioneer recreational rock climbers in Yosemite National Park. Parties, plummets and police were a constant. And with archival footage, photos and retrospective interviews, this is an entertaining look into the original rock stars of climbing’s revolution.

the grizzly man

The most gut-wrenching and well-known docu of any on the list, this Werner Herzog piece tells the story of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell and his ultimate death at the hands of the very bears he thought he’d befriended. Including footage actually shot by Treadwell, this is a stark reminder of the dangers of nature.

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Touching the void

© YouTube/Mountain Springs

A “docudrama” this is the true life story of climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, whose 1985 expedition in the Peruvian Andes turned disastrous and very nearly fatal. We don’t want to ruin this one, so won’t say too much. But let’s just say someone disappeared and was presumed dead…

Voyagers without trace

© YouTube/Glenn Webb

An Indie docu, this documents the story of a group of friends who discover a 70-year-old map and 16mm color footage of a French trio’s forgotten exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers in America in 1938 by way of canoe. The explorers were effectively wiped from history until the find, and a new group of friends embark on the very same journey to retrace their steps and find anything they may have left behind.

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