When the continents were joined as western Gondwana, Amazon flowed west from the interior of the present day Africa. 15 million years ago, the rise of the Andes Mountain range blocked the river and caused the Amazon to become a vast inland sea. Gradually it became a massive freshwater lake.

Amazon River
Amazon River

The Amazon River is said to have come into being as a transcontinental river approximately 11 million years ago, when the waters worked through the sandstone from the west and the Amazon began to flow eastward. It led to the emergence of Amazon rainforest. During the Ice Ages, sea levels dropped and the Amazon Lake speedily drained and became a river.

During the wet season (December – June), the Amazon River reaches over 190 kilometers in width. It is the second longest river in the World at approximately 6400 kilometers (only the Nile, in Africa, is longer). Because of its vastness, it is sometimes referred to as The River Sea. It has over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are over 1,500 kilometers long.

Clockwise (L-R) - Black Caiman, Giant Otter, Poison Dart Frog and Green Anaconda
Clockwise (L-R) – Black Caiman, Giant Otter, Poison Dart Frog and Green Anaconda
  1. Experts state that around 50 million years ago, a head-on collision between two tectonic plates led to the formation of the Andes. These were the Nazca and the Antarctic plates that were undergoing subduction beneath the South American plate. This process has continued to this date and causes earthquakes and volcanic activity in the region.

    Aerial View of the Andes
    Aerial View of the Andes

  2. The Andes Mountains have been inhabited for centuries. One of the most recognizable civilizations from the past is the ancient Inca Empire. Inca engineers built massive and impressive sites, including Machu Picchu and the capital city of Cuzco. They also constructed roads and conduits throughout the mountain. Inca Empire, also known as Tawantinsuyu in the Quechua language, covered the entire length of the Andean range from Colombia to central Chile to northwestern Argentina.

    The ancient city of Machu Picchu
    The ancient city of Machu Picchu

  3. The name “Andes” is believed to have come from the Quechua word “Anta”, meaning copper or “Anti”, which means “East Cardinal Point”.
  4. The Andes Mountain range at 4,500 miles is the longest mountain range on the Earth. It is located around the entire western coast of South America  and covers a surface of 800,000 square miles. It is divided into three sections – Southern (Argentina and Chile), Central (Chilean and Peruvian cordilleras and parts of Bolivia) and Northern (Venezuela, Colombia and Northern Ecuador).
    Snow Mountain, Peru
    Snow Mountain, Peru

There are thousands of films released every year around the world. But very few of these are based on adventure or real-life adventure stories. And even out of those that are made, there are only a handful that actually do justice to the spirit of the theme!

This New Year, Adventure Nation recommends to you four of the finest films made on some of the most significant moments in mountaineering history.

  1. Touching the Void (2003):
    This adventure-filled documentary is based on Joe Simpson’s book of the same name. It features Simpson’s and Simon Yates’ calamitous attempt to climb Siula Grande (6,344m, 20,814ft) in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.
    This film is high on emotion and has been widely praised for its cinematography. It combines documentary footage of the interviews of the climbers along with a re-enactment of the attempt. It is highly rated on rotten tomatoes.
    Touching the Void - Movie Poster!
    Touching the Void – Movie Poster!
    Image Credits: summitpost.org

    Read more about Joe Simpson here.

  2. Everest: Beyond the Limit (2006):
    This reality television series by Discovery Channel is about the attempts made on the summit of Mount Everest every year. Russell Brice, a mountaineer from New Zealand, is the leader.
    In this season, there are 11 climbers, three guides and a group of Sherpas followed by a production crew of 17 people, during their climb in the months of April and May of 2006. We highly recommend this film to all adventure lovers for the actual footage in extreme conditions.