Dead Mountain

Dead Mountain

The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

Book - 2013
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In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident-- unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes-- have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. Eichar retraces the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter to bring the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.
Publisher: San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2013]
ISBN: 9781452112749
Characteristics: 288 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm


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In February 1959, nine experience mountaineers trekked into the Russian Ural Mountains on a multi-day wilderness trip during a break from university. They never returned. Their bodies were found miles from their tent in separate groupings. None of them were wearing shoes. Some bodies demonstrated evidence of a blunt force. One’s tongue was missing and one piece of clothing had high levels of radiation. What happened to the group has been a mystery for decades. American writer Donnie Eichar became obsessed with finding out the story. This book is the culmination of his research, interviews, and personal trek to follow in their footsteps. I found it a fascinating, terrifying journey into the unknown and a stark reminder of the dangers that lurk in the wilderness. A chilling tale that woke me from my sleep with a feeling of isolating anxiety-this was the perfect book to curl up with when you are safely indoors on a cold, winter evening. (Submitted by Meghan).

Nov 11, 2018

Why? The author answers why college students would find mountain hiking in February a fun adventure in 1959-era Russia. Life was grim, and the beach wasn't an option. It was as close to the sensation of freedom as they'd get in their lifetimes.

It was haunting and sobering to discover that the students were so consumed with their grand adventure that they didn't anticipate the danger they'd likely encounter. A forester tried to warn them, but they pressed on.

Spoiler alert: Maslennikov's assessment was somewhat accurate. I stopped reading a few pages later and skipped to the end of the book. The final experiences of the hikers are akin to reports from people who survive near-miss tornadoes. It's terrifying, and the urge to escape is powerful yet deadly. It is highly doubtful that Russian hikers in 1959 would be aware of this phenomenon.

I thought the book was depressing.

SCL_Tricia Sep 27, 2018

This book skyrocketed onto my favorite nonfiction books. I really enjoyed the way it was written and the suspense that kept you going until the end. It was a short read but fascinating. Definitely will recommend!

Jan 22, 2017

This book was spooky good! It's about a group of college students who went hiking in northern Russia in the 1950s and never returned. Their bodies were found many yards away from their tent, in odd positions and only half dressed. The tent was found with a large slash cut from the inside out, as though the hikers cut a "back door" into their own tent in sub-zero temps before walking away in nothing but their socks.

What the hell happened?

That's what the author sets out to discover. Along the way he meets a few very interesting Russians and learns some pretty cool science.

You might not think there was much to write about. A group of kids decides to go hiking in northern Russia in January and dies. Of course. But it turns out that there really is quite a few different reasons for everything that happened! You'll need to read the book to find out. There's some science near the end that I hadn't ever heard of!

Book includes photographs taken by the group and by the search-and-rescue teams.

bibliotechnocrat Jun 12, 2016

An American documentary film maker becomes obsessed with the 1959 deaths of nine Soviet hikers who mysteriously fled the shelter of their tent without proper clothing, only to die of hypothermia. Speculation ranging from aliens to secret Soviet weapons tests has swirled around this case for decades. Eichar painstakingly pieces together the events as they occurred and - taking a cue from Sherlock Holmes - tries to eliminate all the possible causes in order to leave the one explanation (however improbable) that addresses all the strange pieces of evidence. A well-written page turner.

Dec 15, 2015

Donnie Eichar's exhaustive research and fine storytelling made this book an excellent read. I'd never heard of the Dyatlov Pass incident, but it's one of those riveting, "can't look away" stories. Eichar's theory about what happened to the hikers on the fateful night of their deaths is certainly not an obvious one, but it's plausible.

Oct 26, 2015

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys non-fiction adventure books, with a heavy dose of mystery. I had a hard time putting it down.

Aug 30, 2015

Creepy! I couldn't sleep and couldn't put it down. Conclusion makes sense and didn't disappoint.

whydoIhavetodothis Apr 15, 2014

The information about the Soviet Era and the hikers is very interesting, however, I found the author didn't ask a lot obvious questions. Of the 88 exposures on the film, were any of them bad? This would help the readers to better judge the last exposure on the film, if it's a picture of something we can't explain or simply bad photography. Can the radiation on some pieces of clothing come from the river? I found the book half interesting and half frustrating and the ending - tornado's? 9 seasoned hikers, who had talked to countless other hikers throughout their lifetime were overcome by a series of tornado's coming down from the mountain top? Why was their tent found still together and everything inside in order?

Jan 15, 2014

Excellent book. A non-fiction book that I found difficult to put down. It reads like a fiction murder mystery. Intriguing glimpse into Soviet life in the late 1950's. Highly recommended.


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