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The 10 Most-Viewed Climbing Videos of 2018

The most popular climbing videos of the year, as chosen by the eyeballs of our readers.

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#10. Annapurna III—Unclimbed

A 12-minute documentary about the 2016 expedition to the Himalayas of Nepal led by David Lama together with Austrian alpinists Hansjörg Auer and Alex Blümel. Join the team in their feelings of fatigue, anxiety, exposure and ordeal during their five weeks attempting one of the world’s greatest, unsolved puzzles of alpinism: The unclimbed Southeast Ridge of Annapurna III (24,787′).

#9. David Lama Makes the First Ascent of Lunag Ri, Solo

Join David Lama from advanced basecamp to summit on his successful solo push for the first ascent of Lunag Ri, a previously unclimbed 6,907-meter peak on the border of Nepal and Tibet. On October 23, 2018 the Austrian with Nepali heritage set out. He carried a POV camera and was followed by a drone navigated from advanced basecamp. This was not Lama’s first attempt. In 2015 he, along with Conrad Anker, turned back just shy of the summit, and in 2016 the team attempted the peak again, turning back after Anker suffered a heart attack during the climb.

#8. Without a Partner: Pete Whittaker Rope Solos El Capitan in Under 24 Hours

In November 2016, Pete Whittaker became the first person to rope solo—all free—El Capitan in under 24 hours, finishing in 20 hours and 6 minutes. Climbing via Freerider, he had to free climb each pitch, rappel it to clean his gear, then ascend the rope back up to the next anchor. He essentially free climbed El Cap, rappelled the length of El Cap, and jugged the length of El Cap, all in less than a day. In this film, we hear from Whittaker, his long-time partner Tom Randall, and big wall solo climbing expert Andy Kirkpatrick as they take us through the paces of what it really means to make a rope-solo free ascent of El Cap.

“The problem is if Pete pulled it off, nobody would even get it, nobody would understand how hard it was … and to do it in a day, is totally insane.” —Andy Kirkpatrick

#7. Two Nineteen Forty Four: Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds Break the Nose Speed Record

On a cold, misty morning in late October 2017, after 11 previous attempts, Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds broke the standing speed record for theNose (Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold have since broken the record) with an unbelievable new time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds. Tristan Greszko filmed the entire ascent from afar to create this incredible time lapse.

#6. Silence: The Story of Adam Ondra and the World’s First 5.15d

The send footage alone, of the world’s first 5.15d, is enough to make this a must-watch.


#5. Trailer: The Dawn Wall (Feature Film)

2018 has been a landmark year for rock climbing documentaries, with both The Dawn Wall and Free Solo being released within a month. The Dawn Wall, documenting the first ascent of the hardest multipitch route in the world, was released first and raised the bar for what a wide-release rock climbing film could be (see entry number three for an example of the opposite).

#4. Raw Footage: Margo Hayes Redpoints Biographie/Realization (5.15/9a+)

Joe Hedge was in the right place at the right time. On September 24, 2017, he arrived at the crag in Ceuse, France, to see Margo Hayes at the base of Biographie aka Realization (5.15/9a+). Hedge writes:

“I grabbed my Sony a6300 and found some nice thorny bushes to lay in…she took about 17 minutes from bottom to top, I edited out a few minutes of shaking out.”

The result is this largely unedited video, which provides a look at elite-level climbing not usually seen in more produced media.

#3. Trailer: Gripped—The Next Vertical Limit?

If you’re looking for alternatives to “climbing” and “climb on,” may we suggest “the only way down is up” and “you lead this, or we die.”

#2. Hansjörg Auer’s Terrifying Rappel


When you're climbing solo, you realize that you got off the route but there is no option anymore to climb up or down?! By the way you have no gear except a thin rope, one ice screw, your harness, a belay device and you need your crampons and ice axes to finish the climb. Challenging!#neverstopexploring #oetztal #team_edelrid #lasportiva

Posted by Hansjörg Auer on Thursday, March 1, 2018

What do you when you’re soloing ice, you get off route, and you can no longer climb up or down? What if you were only carrying a thin rope, one ice screw, your harness, and a belay device, and you needed your crampons and ice axes to finish the climb? Watch Hansjörg Auer bail with one of the most terrifying rappels we’ve seen, draping his thin cord over a tiny sliver of frozen rock.

#1. Trailer: Free Solo—The Full-Length Film About Alex Honnold’s Iconic Freerider Ascent

It turns out the readers of Climbing Magazine were pretty excited to see footage of the first free solo of El Capitan. Who would’ve thought?

More Coverage of Honnold’s Freerider Free Solo: