Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar
Length: 288 Pages
Release Year: 2014
In 2013 I stumbled upon a movie on a now defunct horror streaming website called “The Dyatlov Pass Incident.” While the movie was low budget compared to the summer blockbuster extravaganzas we are used to seeing, the cinematography was outstanding, the acting was great and the story was phenomenal. It’s one of the rare movies that I’ve actually watched several times.
Watching it though triggered a lot of memories from when I used to read my Grandma Hankins copies of Weekly World News. I had heard of the 1959 incident where 9 experienced hikers, led by Igor Dyatlov, went missing and then were found dead.
Due to numerous reports that trickled out over the years, the incident developed a lore and a number of “reasons” have been put forth as too just what caused these hikers to perish.
Then last year I stumbled upon JH Moncrieff’s wonderful “Return to Dyatlov Pass.” Twitter and Bookstagram were yelling at me that I needed to read it, so I did and I loved it. For some reason I gave it four stars, but when I think back I don’t know why. That was such a great read, it should have been a five star rating from me. The book also renewed my interest in Dyatlov Pass and this book; Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident was recommended over and over.
Donnie Eichar followed a similar path to the Pass as myself. But where I decided to read about it, he decided to full on tackle the subject and took several trips himself to Russia and to Dead Mountain itself.
This is a great non-fiction read, each chapter alternating back and forth between the known facts of the tragedy in 1959; from the planning of the trip, to the group heading to the area and up to the day of them dying, and then back to Donnie’s present day search for answers. From meeting with the president of the Dyatlov Pass Society to connecting with the tenth hiker, a hiker who had to turn back early in the trip due to chronic medical issues.
Eichar doesn’t leave a single stone unturned and researches each possible cause of death to its fullest, finally coming across a plausible cause and then doing his due diligence by connecting with world leading researchers on the subject.
Whether you read this and book and agree or disagree with what Eichar ends up postulating is up to each reader, but what can’t be overlooked is that Eichar’s writing throughout is superb and the story flows incredibly well.
I ended up taking some time reading this, only because I would read one chapter a night or every other night. Each time I picked it back up I was immediately returned to the cold of the Kholat Syakhl slopes and I was excited every single time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this, as much as I’ve enjoyed “Into Thin Air” by Krakauer and I think this book has reinvigorated my love of non-fiction survival tales.
If you want to check this out yourself, please click on the link!