Dead Mountain

Dead Mountain

The True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

Book - 2013
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Grand Central Pub

New York Times bestseller! — What happened that night on Dead Mountain?

The mystery of Dead Mountain: 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.

As gripping and bizarre as Hunt for the Skin Walker: This New York Times bestseller, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, is a gripping work of literary nonfiction that delves into the mystery of Dead Mountain through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter.

You'll love this real-life tale: Dead Mountain is a fascinating portrait of young adventurers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers' narrative, the investigators' efforts, and the author's investigations. Here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.

Baker & Taylor
The author attempts to unravel the mystery behind a group of nine hikers whose baffling deaths in the Russina Ural Mountains has led to decades of speculation on what happened to them.

Book News
An account of the mysterious deaths of a group of nine hikers in the Ural Mountains in 1959, this book is credited to the authorship of Donnie Eichar on the cover, who is a television producer; the back flap also credits two co-authors or ghostwriters, J.C. Gabel and Nova Jacobs. The team of hikers died in conditions of extreme cold after having left their tent at night without their full clothing on and spread out in different directions in the darkness for no obvious reason. The author(s) have developed the theory that the hikers were frightened and disoriented by an infrasound phenomenon which may occur in severe mountain storms. The book begins with an account of the discovery of the bodies, and ends with a reconstruction of the events leading up to their deaths. The author(s) have conducted extensive interviews and records searches, and describe the results here. Though much is inconclusive or peripheral to the case, readers interested in Russian life in the late 1950s will find much detail. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2013
ISBN: 9781452112749
Branch Call Number: 914.743 Ei22d 2013
Characteristics: 288 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Mar 23, 2019

I remember hearing about this incident for the first time about ten years ago, and I was fascinated with it. I wasn't aware of all the particulars- just the highlights: 9 hikers found in the Ural Mountains in 1959, dead under questionable circumstances. Speculation ran the gamut from UFOs and the Abominable Snowman, to Nuclear testing and "classified" information. There was no solid answer based on science, until now.
There are three main narratives in this story, and they bounce around frequently: following Dyatlov's hiking group, the search team, and the author Eichar himself retracing the group's steps from 50 years ago. Getting to know the hikers, their camaraderie, and their motivations was key in helping us to identify with their situation. The maps, photos and diagrams are a fantastic edition to the story, and I spent a long time poring over them. Following the search party was also interesting and important; as the reader discovers information piece-meal, just as the team did in 1959. The sections I found myself skimming over were the sections of the author himself retracing the exact steps of Dyatlov's group. It felt extremely repetitive, and like the author was placing more importance on himself than was necessary. He could have boiled down his journey to a single chapter, pointing out the differences in modes of travel, the change in buildings and/or landscape. It would have been much better if he expanded on the fates of the hikers proposed by others; as it stands, they are related to only a paragraph each.
Without giving away the conclusion, I will say that it completely satisfies my rational, skeptical mind, and I sympathize greatly with Dyatlov and his hiking companions.
This is a fascinating read, and I will certainly be keeping my copy of this book to refer back to, and lend out to others who are also interested in the subject.

Mar 10, 2019

Interesting read on a tragic incident of which I was unfamiliar. Intriguing story of adventure about the group of young hikers who meet their untimely demise. Interesting to read not only about the courage and curiosity of these hikers, but the current and historical political climate in which it was taking place. The journey of the book was interesting and hard to put down, but in the end, the conclusion drawn by the author left me puzzled. Would I recommend? Yes, but with the disclaimer that you may find just another conspiracy theory; however, if you are interested in taking an armchair adventure and learning about the brave hikers, then, this book is a good choice and a quick read.

Jan 27, 2019

I had seen this incident on the www about three years ago, just sort of read a paragraph about it, and forgot about it. Found it again last year. Became really interested this time. Saw that there were a few books written, and this seems to be the only one our library carries. But, I originally bought it on Amazon for my Kindle. I checked it out just so I could see the maps, if any, and the photos in a larger size. I asked my husband if he wanted to read it as a change from the military and history nonfiction he reads. He did, didn't say much about it. I read it after him. Found it well written, and I liked how he went through all the theories and conspiracies and addressed them all. I may not agree with his version of why the hikers died, I believe a medium's version of what happened that I read on Keith McCloskey's website, makes more sense to me and answers the mystery for me, but, his book is excellent and recommend it. I am now re-reading it since this week is the 60th anniversary of when they set out on their trip and find it poignant to do so. So sad what happened to them.

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.

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