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Review: Dead Mountain

I’ve just finished reading “Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident” by Donnie Eichar, and I am very impressed by the quality of the book. I was fascinated by this story and by the explanation the author offers for the mystery.
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In winter, 1959, nine young but experienced hikers set off from their college in Sverdlovsk, south of the Ural Mountains in the USSR. Their destination was a remote area in the snowy mountains, where they hoped to climb a peak. When they didn’t return, searches began, and after their empty tent was found–with all of their supplies intact, including their boots–a desperate search team fanned out to find them.

What was found and the mystery of what might have happened has engaged Russians for decades. Now this story has been brought to English readers by the author, who obsessed over the story so much that he traveled to the same location in the winter to try to duplicate the trip.

Many photos taken by the hikers themselves are included, as are those of the search. The pictures are poignant reminders of the loss of these students in the prime of life.

The writing was very easy to understand and the scientific explanations not too technical at all. The plot device of using alternate chapters for the past and the present worked well. The author’s story of his research was also interesting. I  especially felt it when he wrote of having interpretive difficulties when researching and communicating. Having such an interest in his subject, it must have been very frustrating to misunderstand—and in turn be misunderstood—when writing and speaking. Because I once studied the Russian language and culture myself, I related to this part of the story.

The possible solution seems plausible, and regardless of conspiracy theories, I hope it satisfies all parties.

Highly recommended non-fiction, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

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