Dead Mountain is an eerie recounting of the Dyatlov Pass Incident exceptionally well-told by Donnie Eichar.
I find this to be one of the most haunting unsolved mysteries of all-time.
In February of 1959, nine experienced hikers set out on a challenging back-packing expedition in the Russian Ural Mountains. One hiker survived and only because he departed early due to medical complications.
The young people involved were all college age, with the exception of one, and were members of a hiking club at their university.
Led by Igor Dyatlov, their goal for this particular hike was to receive a Grade III hiking certification, because of this the mountaineers kept copious notes and took photo documentation of their journey.
When they didn’t return home on the date expected, people naturally assumed they must have run into complications that delayed them, but they would arrive any day.
That day never came. A search party is sent out and what they find is extremely shocking and mysterious, spurring numerous theories as to what caused the hiker’s demise.
I won’t go into the horrific details of the discovery of the bodies, just know everything from government conspiracies, armed men, chemical attacks to aliens, were considered.
Donnie Eichar became interested in the case, like many of us, after hearing of the mystery by chance. As a documentary filmmaker, his natural instincts are to do whatever it takes to learn more.
Eichar connects with individuals inside Russia still interested in the case, travels there, pours over the old travel diaries and photos, interviews people involved, including the sole survivor and even hikes the same path the group took.
With the book, we alternate between Eichar’s historical retelling of the incident as he understands it, and his journey over the course of his investigation.
Even though I had read and watched quite a few videos on this incident, I found Eichar’s theory behind the mystery to be wholly unique, interesting and quite possible. While there is no way to say this is definitely what lead to their deaths, it is a very strong theory.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys learning about unsolved mysteries; bonus if you are a hiker, mountaineer or rock climber. Eichar’s writing is engaging and he truly presents this tale with respect and grace.