When it's not possible to hit the wall, why not see it as a possibility to learn and be entertained? Whether it's due to coronavirus, an injury or for whatever reason, you might have to read this blog post, you're in for a treat.  We've gathered our all-time favorite books and movies so those isolation days go by a little faster and you might even come out smarter on the other side.


Each book title will have a link to where you can find the book and the movies will have links to trailers and IMDB rating. Enjoy!

 

 

The 10 BEST Climbing Books of All Time  

Some climbers simply love climbing books as much as they love to hit the rock or wall. Is there really anything better than turning off the screens that we all stare at so much these days, to just turn some pages, on a relaxing rest day or now that we're all in isolation? We hope you'll enjoy the following 10 book recommendations, which has certainly kept us entertained for many hours. Happy reading, fellow climber!


1:
"A Youth Wasted Climbing" by Canadian climber David Chaundy-Smart



About the book 

David Chaundy-Smart recounts stories as a deviant youth in pursuit of rock climbing. Pick up this book if you’re looking for a tale about the coming of age of a young climber in the 70’s and 80’s. David Chaundy-Smart took it as a compliment when his high school vice-principal told him he was wasting his youth by climbing. Here, he tells the story of how he and his brother, Reg, spent the last years of the 1970s fighting suburban boredom to become, in the words of renowned climbing historian Chic Scott, "one of the leading figures in Ontario rock climbing throughout the 1980s." With its vivid accounts of short and nasty climbs, dubious mentors, hapless climbing partners, teenage crushes, bad cars, underage drinking, and questionable climbing techniques, this is a memoir of coming of age in a simpler era of climbing, told with compassion, humor, and insight. Finalist in the 2015 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

 

2: "Alone on the Wall" an autobiography of world-renowned free soloer, Alex Honnold



About the book

Alex recounts his personal life during his rise to fame and details several of his biggest climbing accomplishments. Alex Honnold is one of the world's best ‘free solo’ climbers, he scales impossible rock faces without ropes, pitons or any support of any kind. Exhilarating, brilliant and dangerous, there is a purity to Alex's climbs that is easy to comprehend, but also impossible to fathom; in the last forty years, only a handful of climbers have pushed themselves as far, ‘free soloing’ to the absolute limit of human capabilities.

3: "The Rock Warrior’s Way" by Arno Llgner. A detailed and comprehensive insight into the importance of mental training for climbing

About the book

The book contains easy-to-follow tips and training exercises. A must-read for anyone looking to overcome mental obstacles and up their climbing game. Mental training is scarcely covered in the climbing literature, yet it is as important to performance as strength, flexibility, and technique. In his unique approach to mental training, Arno Ilgner draws essential elements from the rich 'warrior' literature, as well as from sports psychology, and combines these with his extensive climbing experience to create The Rock Warrior`s Way. Here is a comprehensive program for learning how to focus your mental resources during a challenging climb. It includes step-by-step guidance on motivation analysis, information gathering, risk assessment, mental focus, and deliberate transition into action.

 

4. "Warnings Against Myself: Meditations on a Life in Climbing" A balance between first-hand tales of climbing ascents and a reflection on climbing itself.

About the book

This book tells the adventure stories of a life dedicated to climbing. Stevenson describes climbing first-hand but also reflects on climbing in a beautiful way that draws in both literary references and engaging characterizations of well-known climbers. His changing viewpoint on his dangerous obsession as he ages, marries, and has children (and then takes his son climbing) gives the book a strong shape, and the work as a whole adds a new and thoughtful perspective to the literature of climbing.

 

5. "Mastermind: Mental Training for Climbersby Jerry Moffatt


About the book 

"The brain is the most important muscle for climbing" Utilizing the power of your mind will make the most of your existing strength, techniques, and ability to perform under pressure not just in climbing, but in all sport. Jerry Moffatt, who inspired generations of climbers, invites you to explore and maximize your mental potential. Mastermind also contains a collection of inspiring stories from the current elite of the sport. Legendary figures such as Alex Megos, Adam Ondra, Margo Hayes, and Chris Sharma reveal their innermost thoughts that help them perform at their best.
 

6. "Revelations" by Jerry Moffatt


About the book 
When Jerry Moffatt burst onto the scene as a brash 17-year-old, rock climbing had never seen anyone like him before. Fiercely ambitious, even as a boy Moffatt was focussed on one thing: being the best in the world. This is the story of his meteoric rise to stardom, and how he overcame an injury to stay at the top for over two decades. Top sport-climber, brilliant competitor and a pioneer in the new game of bouldering, Moffatt's story is that of climbing itself in the last thirty years. Yet Jerry Moffatt is more than a dedicated athlete. Traveling the world to fulfill his dreams, his story is a compelling and often hilarious account of the climbing community with all its glories, dangers and foibles, as well as the story of a true sporting legend.

 

7. "Climbing out of Bed" A collection of 25 essays and short stories by Luke Mehall

About the book

Climbing Out of Bed is a collection of rock climbing and mountain town stories, written over the last 13 years. The muses of Mehall’s pieces are the people who make up the rock climbing and mountain town culture. Originally hailing from Illinois, Mehall moved to Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, in Gunnison. He describes the experience as being a lost soul who floated to the mountains and then discovered his true self. Many of the stories in Climbing Out of Bed are coming of age tales, especially when the author embarks into the unknown of the rock climbing world. There are 25 pieces in Climbing Out of Bed, and topics for essays include friendship, hitchhiking, couch surfing, buildering (climbing buildings), road tripping, dumpster diving, extended camping experiences, dirtbag living, love, loss, and wanderlust. 

 

8. "Space Below My Feet" by Gwen Moffat 


About the book 

In 1945, when Gwen Moffat was in her twenties, she deserted from her post as a driver and dispatch rider in the Army and went to live rough in Wales and Cornwall, climbing and living on practically nothing. She hitch-hiked her way around, traveling from Skye to Chamonix and many places in between, with all her possessions on her back, although these amounted to little more than a rope and a sleeping bag. When the money ran out, she worked as a forester, went winkle-picking on the Isle of Skye, acted as the helmsman of a schooner and did a stint as an artist's model. And always there were the mountains, drawing her away from a 'proper' job. Throughout this unique story, there are acutely observed accounts of mountaineering exploits as Moffat tackles the toughest climbs and goes on to become Britain's leading female climber - and the first woman to qualify as a mountain guide.

  

9. "The Games Climbers Play" by Ken Wilson 


About the book 

First published in Britain in 1978 and America 1980, The Games Climbers Play remains a perennially popular mountaineering anthology on both sides of the Atlantic - this is the fourth impression in Britain and the third in America. It contains some of the finest essays written on mountaineering and a plethora of more light-hearted and humorous items. The late Sheridan Anderson's cartoons and illustrations aptly reflect the rabelaisian nature of the selection. Unlike earlier anthologies, that drew their material by excepting from books, the bulk of the articles in Games are taken from contemporary magazines and journals and are (for the most part) unabridged. They have a freshness and immediacy often lacking from more painstakingly selected highbrow collections. A book that will both inspire and entertain. 

 

10. "Feeding the Rat: A Climber's Life on the Edge" by Al Alvarez

About the book

Feeding the Rat is the story of an extraordinary man: climbing legend Mo Anthoine, who found his greatest joy in adventures that tested the far limits of human endurance. That passion for "feeding the rat" made him the unsung hero of dozens of horrifying epics in the mountains, including the famous ogre expedition that nearly killed Doug Scott and Sir Chris Bonington. The book is also the story of the extraordinary friendship between Mo and adrenaline junky Al Alvarez - the distinguished poet, journalist, and critic - whose deeply moving portrait of his longtime climbing partner is a classic of adventure literature.

 

 10 Best Climbing Movies of All Time

Okay, climber. Now it's time to get those muscular legs up and just sit back, relax and take it all in. The only physical thing you might have to do is to get your visa up your pocket for some of the movies, or streaming services if you're not already set on that front. This is entirely up to you of course. Just promise us, that you won't become a "Sofakartoffel" (couch potato). Weird language, hu? We know, but now you know, that when you're tuning in on the 8th movie in a row, you'll imagine yourself as a "sofakartoffel". Then it's time to get up. With that said, we hope you'll enjoy our favorite climbing movies of all time! 

 

"Don't be a sofakartoffel!"

 

 

IMDB rating system 

Now, I don't know about you, but I swear to IMDB as a rating service. I'm sure you can also find the different ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, or whatever service normally use. On the following list, you'll find movies (and one series also sneaked it's way to the list) ranking between 8,6 and 7,0 on IMDB. I live by my own little made-up IMDB rule called "Never waste your life watching anything less than 7". I think that's a good rule - of course depending on how bored you are during these times of isolation. Then maybe it's okay to stretch the scale a bit. On that note, here are our all-time favorite climbing movies! 

 

 "Never waste your life watching anything less than 7"

 

1. Reel Rock (2016-)

8,6 ⭐on IMDB


Watch the trailers here

About the series

Ok, so I know the title says "best books and movies" and that this is a collection of short films rather than a full-length movie, but before you feel cheated here, I beg you to start on "The Reel Rock" series. You WILL thank me after. Released every year, Reel Rock covers the best climbing stories around and the latest edition available for download, Series 12, includes Chris Sharma’s deepwater soloing and Margo Hayes’ record-breaking 5.15-level climb along with profiles of inspirational one-armed climber Maureen Beck and boundary-pushing newcomer Brad Gobright. Seasons 1-4 are available to watch on Red Bull TV and include legends Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra trying to establish the world’s hardest route, and Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold trying to complete the first-ever traverse of Fitz Roy in Patagonia.

 

2. Free Solo (2018)

8,2 ⭐on IMDB

Watch the trailer here

About the movie

This is my favorite climbing movie! From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, comes "Free Solo", a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock. The 3,200ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Without a rope!

 

3. Valley Uprising (2014)

8,2 ⭐on IMDB

Watch the trailer here

About the movie

Valley Uprising is the much-anticipated documentary from Sender Films about the epic history of climbing in Yosemite National Park and the counterculture roots of outdoor sports. Narrated by Peter Sarsgaard, the film features digitally-animated archival photography, spectacular climbing footage and interviews with Yosemite greats - from pioneers like Yvon Chouinard, Royal Robbins, Lynn Hill and John Long to cutting-edge modern athletes like Dean Potter and Alex Honnold. Valley Uprising tells the story of the bold men and women who broke with convention and redefined the limits of human possibility in America's legendary national park.

 

4. Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia (2014)

 8,2 ⭐on IMDB

 

Watch the trailer here

About the movie

From the top of the world to the end of the line, this film follows the life and climbs of legendary alpinist Jeff Lowe, through his visionary ascents around the world up to his current dance with a terminal disease. Metanoia: A fundamental change of thinking; a transformative change of heart. Jeff's 'unimaginable' new route, Metanoia, up the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland, changed his life forever and prepared him for the greatest adventure he's ever been on - the climb of his life, as he slowly loses all of his physical abilities and faces his own mortality. It is a mind-bending adventure through time and space that gives physical form to Jeff's unique philosophies and inspiring creative genius.

 

5. The Dawn Wall (2018)

8,1 ⭐on IMDB

Watch the trailer here

About the movie
 

Climbing legend Tommy Caldwell is the focus of this emotional tale, which follows his rollercoaster ride from escaping kidnappers in Kyrgyzstan to taking on his ultimate dream of free climbing El Capitan’s toughest (and newest) route: The Dawn Wall. But the real drama comes from the struggles of his partner Kevin Jorgeson as the pair pick a complicated path up the Dawn Wall. For the pair to even attempt it, having never climbed together before, was one thing. But Caldwell’s personal journey, especially while on the rock, offers incredible insight into the mind of one of the greatest climbers in the world.
 
 

6. Touching the Void (2003)

8,0 ⭐on IMDB

Watch the trailer here

About the movie
 

In 1985, two adventurous young mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, set off to climb the treacherous west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. They were experienced climbers, and climbed "Alpine-style," climbing the mountain in "one great push," without setting up ropes or base camps ahead of time. 

 

7. The Sharp End (2007)

7,8 ⭐on IMDB

Watch the trailer here

About the movie

Enter the danger zone with the worlds' best climbers, including Alex Honnold, Dean Potter, Steph Davis, Lisa Rands, Chris McNamara, Ammon McNeely, Renan Ozturk, Cedar Wright and others, as they push the barriers of free soloing, high-ball bouldering, hard trad climbing, extreme big-wall aid, wingsuit BASE flying, high lining and tower jumping in the wildest spots on earth.
 
 

8. Meru (2015)

7,7 ⭐on IMDB

Watch the trailer here

About the movie 

Asked why they do it, climbers often say: “because it’s there.” But this engaging film shows why, sometimes, there’s far more to it than that. The notorious Shark’s Fin route up the north-west side of Meru’s central peak in the Himalayas is big wall climbing’s “Mount Everest”. Meaning, it was nearly as impossible as it looked. 
The depth of this film is in the merging backstories and near-fatal pitfalls faced by the team – made up of big wall veteran Conrad Anker, filmmaker/photographer Jimmy Chin and young climber Renan Ozturk – as they battle to achieve their lifelong dream of reaching the 6,310m summit.
 
 

9. King Lines (2007)

7,7 ⭐on IMDB


Watch the trailer here

About the movie

Follow Chris Sharma on his ultimate global quest to redefine the possible in the vertical world. Includes his first ascent of Es Pontas, the still-unrepeated Mediterranean deep-sea arch. The producers of mountain climbing masterpiece "First Ascent" have returned with a vengeance with 'King Lines", raising the bar of the genre even higher. Words cannot express the grandeur, spectacle, and adrenaline contained in this tour de force of extreme action/adventure filmmaking.
 
 

10. Cerro Torre: A Snowball's Chance in Hell (2013)

7,0 ⭐on IMDB

 

Watch the trailer here

About the movie 
 
Set against the backdrop of breathtaking Patagonia, David Lama, the world's youngest climbing world champion, sets out to climb an unfathomable route on Cerro Torre, a mountain once said to be the most difficult in the world. Cerro Torre is a documentary about mountaineering, friendship, and transformation. It's a coming of age story that also takes a close look at the state of rock climbing and alpinism, as well as their many philosophies and ethical approaches.
 
 

 Where can I find the movies? 

 
All of the movies on the list above are located on very different platforms and streaming services. To see where it is available to you, in your specific country, you can simply use the Play Pilot App. It'll let you know exactly where you can stream, buy or rent the movie. Cool right? You're very welcome!  

Download Play Pilot for iPhone here
Download Play Pilot for Android here
 
 
 
That's it for now, my dear climbing friends. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to share it on your social media or with your friends.
Take care, and stay safe! 

- Julie
 
 
 
 

About the author 
Julie Gjørtz

Digital Marketing Manager & Boulder
___________________________
As Gubbies Digital Marketing Manager, it's Julie's job to keep up with the freshest information from the climbing world and communicate them to you. Have any questions about anything she writes? Don't hesitate to reach out!  She can't wait to share her climbing-geekiness with you!