My Mountaineering Disaster Niche

A photo of a snowy white mountain peak.

Do you have a niche book or movie niche interest? Through interacting with readers and patrons at Anythink, I’ve found that most people have a strange genre of stories that doesn’t fit into their normal patterns of reading and watching - a topic that even they are surprised to love.

After asking Anythinkers, I discovered that we had some really interesting niche interests. Some of the most memorable choices were cult books, pop-punk, doomed romances, books about haunted libraries, Middle Eastern romances, cookbooks with cakes on the cover, graphic novels featuring cats, Scottish history, middle grade books featuring divorce, ocean disasters, pick-pocket fiction, Amish Christmas romances and European gardening books.

As for me, my weird niche is mountaineering disaster books and movies.

Am I a mountaineer? Absolutely not.

Do I know anything about climbing mountains? Nope, not a thing.

Will I ever try to climb a mountain? Nope, never, nada.

In fact, I am an avid hater of hiking (I much prefer forest bathing, but I’ll save that for another blog). However, for some reason, I truly love mountaineering disaster stories. I suspect it took root in my childhood, when my sister watched the movies “Vertical Limit” and “Cliffhanger” with Sylvester Stallone.  As I sat through those movies, a voice was perking up in my brain saying “You love this.”

As an adult reader, I have fallen into this genre head first and never looked back. It all started with the book, “Into Thin Air.” I picked it up at a garage sale many years ago, and promptly tore through it, loving every moment. Author Jon Krakauer shares his story of the doomed 1996 ascent of Mount Everest that resulted in the death of eight people. The accident was caused by a horrifying collision of confusion, bad decisions made under pressure, growing tourist problems on Everest and a once-in-a-lifetime storm. The book was simply put totally addicting. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and made me a lifetime fan of Krakauer.

The movie adaptation, Everest”, was very well done as well. Krakauer also wrote “Into the Wild,” telling the story of Christopher McCandless, a wandering soul who looked to find himself– and instead found his death – in wild Alaska. Like “Everest,” the movie is wonderfully made. After enjoying those two books and movies, I was hooked.

Here are some personal recommendations for mountaineering disaster reads and watches:

Mountaineering and Natural Disaster Book Recommendations

“Into Thin Air” and “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

“The Indifferent Stars Above” by Daniel James Brown

“No Way Down: Life and Death on K2” by Graham Bowley

“Buried in the Sky” by Peter Zuckerman

“Denali’s Howl” by Andy Hall

Mountaineering and Extreme Sport Movie Recommendations

“Into the Wild”




“The Dawn Wall

“Free Solo”

“127 Hours”

“Touching the Void

Comment below with your favorite niche reads and watches. We want to know about it!


The Moth and The Mountain. True Story that takes place in the 20s, where this guy... not a pilot yet...decides to take a shortcut and land his plane on a high peak in the Himalayas. Seriously. Or seriously quirky and riveting story. Another survival Aron Ralston... is Things I Learned From Falling. Really amazing, reflective read.