Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, by Donnie Eichar

This story fascinated me. Ten friends and experienced hikers. One mountain. Only one returns. What happened to the nine climbers in the Russian Ural Mountains in February 1959?

Author Donnie Eichar was equally transfixed by the mystery, leading him to the research and travels–including a visit to the Dyatlov Pass–that resulted in this book. There are a number of theories about what happened during the Dyatlov group’s hike and the author seeks to get underneath each of them and uncover what may have actually taken place. Of course, no one truly will know or can know what happened; everyone who could report back on what went wrong died on the mountain.

That said, here’s what we do know: the one remaining hiker left the group due to health and medical circumstances before they reached the now infamous spot. The nine remaining friends set up their camp. Whatever took place next sent all of them tumbling out of that tent only partially clothed and most without shoes or boots on. The thing that chills me most? They cut their way out of the tent. So, whatever happened, they felt compelled to slash open the tent rather than unclasp the closure. Other eerie details? Some of the clothing the hikers were wearing was irradiated. One of the hikers was found with her tongue missing. Some of the hikers had significant and unexplained traumatic injuries.

Dead Mountain seeks to recreate the most likely scenario that left nine young people dead under the strangest of circumstances. I think the author did a good job of investigating the many theories and presented a strong portrait of the tragic and strangely scientific way these hikers lost their lives.

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