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 Of Atlanta “because you watched” Fast And The Furious, it’s hardly a reliable source. The always-changing categories don’t help much either. Luckily, we’ve got a lot of time on our hands. so we’ve 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 ever again. The secret event claims to be the most difficult in the world, with only 10 people having finished it. The documentary tells the story of the 60-mile all-terrain race that’s based on the 1977 escape route of convicted murderer James Earl Ray from the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

valley uprising

© YouTube/Reel Rock

It’s hard to believe now, but only 40 years ago rock climbing wasn’t just rare, but illegal. This was just the incentive a bunch of ragtag 20-somethings 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. With archive footage, photos and retrospective interviews, this is an entertaining look into the original rock stars of rock climbing’s revolution.

the grizzly man

The most gut-wrenching and well-known documentary 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. Includes footage shot by Treadwell, this is a stark reminder of the dangers of nature.

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Touching the void

© YouTube/Mountain Springs

This is the true life story of climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, whose 1985 expedition in the Peruvian Andes went disastrously wrong and almost proved fatal. We don’t want to ruin this one, so we won’t say too much, but let’s just say someone disappeared and was presumed dead.

Voyagers without trace

© YouTube/Glenn Webb

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

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