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Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident | [Donnie Eichar]

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2014 - Full disclosure: I've been obsessed with the story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident – the name given to the mysterious unsolved deaths of nine young experienced hikers in the Russian Ural mountains in 1959 - since I first heard the story a few years back. Filmmaker-turned-author Donnie Eichar seems to share my enthusiasm, because after years of researching the case, he emptied his savings and traveled to Russia on a mission to recreate the hikers’ journey and uncover the truth behind their deaths. Although this was a familiar story to me, I was completely absorbed by Eichar’s retelling. He weaves his own journey seamlessly in with a retelling of the hikers’ story (which he recreates through their photos and journal entries), along with a detailed breakdown of the investigation following their disappearance. And as a documentary filmmaker, Eichar makes sure he has his timelines and sources straight throughout the book. Above all, I think was most impressed by how Eichar treated the Dylatlov Pass Incident as so much more than a creepy tale. He manages to bring a deep human quality to the story, along with immense reverence for the fallen hikers (tone that comes through in his careful narration). I came away from this book feeling as if I had known each one of them - and longing for some closure more than ever before. I won't spoil the outcome of his investigation, but I think it's safe to say that anyone who is interested in this story - or real-life mysteries in general - will be left with plenty to ponder. —Sam, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery 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. A fascinating portrait of the young hikers 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.

©2013 Donnie Eichar (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (240 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 03-29-14
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 03-29-14 Member Since 2008

    Audiobook addict.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging and Creepy"

    This examination of the Dyatlov pass was interestingly structured and had a good sense of immediacy. A hard thing to achieve in a book that looks at a 50 year old mystery. Although not as slick as a professional narrator, the author does an excellent job of narrating his own text. My one criticism is the ending. The skepticism that is sustained throughout the book falters rather badly at the end.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Portland, OR, United States 03-22-14
    Bruce Portland, OR, United States 03-22-14 Member Since 2002
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    "Fascinating and compassionate investigation"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. Eichar carefully reconstructs a fascinating tragic mystery and works toward a solution with integrity and a solid awareness of his own limits. It's educational in the best way.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead Mountain?

    The vivid recreations of the lives of these Soviet students of the '50s, particularly the various ways music played such a large part in their individual and shared experiences.


    What about Donnie Eichar’s performance did you like?

    Hearing the Russian and scientific terms pronounced right.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was very moved, appreciative of Eichar's interest in getting real answers and sympathetic to the conclusion he reaches about the calamity that overwhelmed the Dyaltov party.


    Any additional comments?

    Eichar's reading is very conservative in emotional terms - sometimes too flat and restrained. I get the sense that he strongly wants to avoid sensationalism, and I respect that, but it took a while for me to connect with the emotions as well as the data in his story.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian AUSTIN, MN, United States 03-31-14
    Brian AUSTIN, MN, United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Mystery solved?"
    What did you like best about Dead Mountain? What did you like least?

    I was fascinated by this story, even before I read the book. I didn't have a great understanding of the facts, and the author does a great job at laying out facts, and keeps the story line intact. To that point, I thought in many instances the author could have delved deeper into narratives, individual bios, etc. I also would have loved to have heard more on the other, more wilder explanations, and he does cover this briefly towards the end of the book. I just honestly think some of those would have been very interesting to hear about in-depth.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Donnie Eichar?

    He has a pretty dry narrative style, almost a monotone at times.


    Did Dead Mountain inspire you to do anything?

    I looked up the facts quite a bit while I was listening to the book, searching for images, clues, etc.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 06-30-14
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 06-30-14 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Always a sucker for unsolved mysteries!"

    I breezed through this book in record time. It seems I still can't resist an unsolved mystery.

    This true story fascinated me and at no time did I find it boring, like several other reviewers. I found the details haunting and frightening--I can't even begin to imagine what those 9 hikers went through before their terrifying deaths. This is a creepy, mysterious true event that defies logical explanations. Whatever the actual cause was, it necessarily has to be as weird and strange as the manner in which the 9 hikers died. This is why I think the author has posited a reasonable explanation as to what actually happened. His unexpected explanation makes sense and certainly is plausible. However, I believe that no one will ever know for sure the events of that fateful night.

    I have mixed feelings about Donnie Eichar doing his own narration. He most likely has no previous experience narrating an audiobook and this was obvious. In parts, it felt like he was just reading someone else's pages with little or no expression. On the other hand, I got a feel for his earnestness and for who he really is. I could see that this mystery tied him up in knots and wouldn't let go until he did what he could to investigate what really happened to the hikers. I don't think a professional narrator, someone who was perhaps older and more mature, could have really conveyed the real Donnie. So, this is a case in which I won't complain about an author reading his own book. While it certainly wasn't the best narration, it served a useful purpose for me.

    Over all, this was an intriguing listen and I will be thinking about it in bed at night for a long while.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra B 05-19-14
    Debra B 05-19-14 Member Since 2009
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    "A very mysterious story"

    This is the story of a group of hikers who perish on a mountain in the old USSR, under very strange circumstances. I thought the author gave a pretty cogent description of events and, at the end,a good explanation for it. It sounded believable to me, anyway. But, since then, I have heard a different theory from a climber who probably knows a thing or two about mountains. This story truly is a mystery. It was also interesting to learn more about life in Russia during that time. I really liked the narrator's voice - it's not always good when authors read their own books.Overall, 3.5 to 4 stars for me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micaela 05-12-14
    Micaela 05-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Chilled to the bone"
    Where does Dead Mountain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Dead Mountain is on my top 5 best books to listen to. This is a book that I could listen to again. I really enjoyed it!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead Mountain?

    The ending was the most memorable moment, it was so strange.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scenes were the ones where the author describes the hikers the night before they leave.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like mystery and the outdoors then I would highly recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chip 05-05-14
    Chip 05-05-14 Member Since 2004
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    "An interesting story told well"
    Where does Dead Mountain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've purchased over 100 audio-books since joining Audible.com back in 2005 and this book ranks in the 80%. I recommend this book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Most of the books I listen to entertain me while I'm driving so I take the audio-books in doses just as I do the podcasts I download and listen to. Rarely am I afforded the opportunity to listen to a book from beginning to end while driving.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a well written book and a good story told well. I enjoyed the book and recommend it. I don't agree with the authors conclusions but that does not take away from the quality of the writing or the quality of the story telling.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Australia 04-01-14
    Joseph Australia 04-01-14 Member Since 2002
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    "A dramatic unraveling of a 50 year mystery"

    Donnie Eichar cleverly weaves his personal story into this decades old mystery. His approach is methodical and captivating. I felt as though I was trying to unravel the evidence along with him.

    His narration was steady and nearly monotone, which for me, added to the suspense. This story could have been sensationalised which would have done it a disservice.

    The book kept me engaged throughout. In my mind's eye I still find myself seeing that mountain and those hikers, feeling the cold and hearing that wind.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, US 03-25-14
    Jennifer INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, US 03-25-14 Member Since 2010
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    "An interesting book!"
    What did you love best about Dead Mountain?

    A well researched book about an incident I have always found fascinating. The author does a great job telling the timeline of events.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His summation at the end gives the most plausible accounting of the incident I have seen.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes....and I listened to the book in one day! I worked late so that I could hear the ending.


    Any additional comments?

    The author does a nice job narrating the book.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-14-14
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-14-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something Out There"

    Before coming across this audiobook, I’d never heard of the disappearance of Soviet students in the Ural Mountains known as Dyatlov Pass Incident, but the mystery reeled me in. It might as well be an idea for a Twilight Zone, or X-files script.

    Nine young, healthy, experienced hikers set out on a trek through the Urals, set up camp, and then flee their tent without proper gear, or even their shoes. Their bodies are later found frozen and injured. Why did they leave?

    Donnie Eichar, who narrates himself, wanted to know too, so he set out in their footprints to solve the riddle. His book offers an investigation that gives a heartbreaking portrait of these doomed hikers, the search for them afterwards, and his own inquiry.

    His conclusions may not have settled all the questions surrounding the Dead Mountain incident, but the story getting there is as engrossing as any unsolved mystery.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 29 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • mollymoon1
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    8/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good - certainly worth a guess!!!"

    Pretty intriguing really that someone might come up with an “infra-sound” conclusion. The book is good. The story about 9 missing “experienced” hikers in the Ural mountains of Russia back in the 50’s and during the cold war is something that I knew nothing about, but the title was enough to make me want to read on. And I am glad I did, because I enjoyed the book and the theories that the author came up with. Not only that, I am pretty convinced that the conclusions are very feasible and very probable. I could not think why – well, kids basically would be the target of any covert, cold war conspiracy, despite the story told within the pages which is laced with coincidences, bad luck and the harshness of mother nature. The only thing that spoilt the story (but only a little) was the author’s self-indulgence and although it is clear that he did make some great personal sacrifices to come to a good conclusion, I see how this could lead the reader/listener to conclude the story a bit unbelievable. I happen to think that it is far more likely than they were all done away with, i.e., followed on a dangerous mission by Soviet soldiers, spies, misfits (who!!!) to be viciously battered to near death for absolutely no reason whatsoever! Anyhow, the reader/author does a nice job of delivering the story and comes up with a damned good conclusion – good for him. Good story, I would recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Casnewydd, United Kingdom
    8/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Odd but enthralling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Donnie Eicher must be very odd: he knew almost nothing about Russia or the Soviet Union but became obsessed with the death of group of students in Siberia in the 1950s.

    Overall, it works. He does a good job of telling a very mysterious story. He's not the first non-Russian author to have looked at it and his solution is far less definitive than he would have you believe. But he tells the story well and he even does a decent job of narrating.

    I'm just glad I'm not his long-suffering wife


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • russ
    7/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "1/2 interesting"
    What would have made Dead Mountain better?

    A different performer would have helped


    What was most disappointing about Donnie Eichar’s story?

    The performace


    What didn’t you like about Donnie Eichar’s performance?

    The performance resembled the monotone of a dead fish. I did realise the performer was the author until filling this out.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It resolved a "mystery"​


    Any additional comments?

    ​Sack the performer for the sake of the author. A different performer might have rescued the story better. The story itself felt like a script for some TV documentary proposal. It should make a good half hour TV programme.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Yevgeny
    Worthing, United Kingdom
    7/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intriguing story ruined by author's conclusions..."

    I was born in Russia in the 70s and lived there for 24 years and I have never heard of this story (author seems to claim it's popular one in Russia)

    Nevertheless It was very intriguing and the author went to admirable lengths to cover it; done a lot of research, went to Russia twice and visited the place of the tragedy.

    !!! Spoilers below !!!

    However the ending of the book was most disappointing.

    The author concludes that the deaths of the hikers must be caused by infrasound with tornadoes...
    Seriously?!...
    As a theory, fine if you must, but most convincing and simple explanation? Come on.
    Is it possible? Yes, everything is possible (even Cossacks armed with infrasound guns and riding Yetis), but in no way is this a Reasonable theory/explanation.
    The author himself writes that in experiment settings set Specifically to test effect of infrasound waves, firing "infrasound cannon", only 22% of test subjects reported discomfort.
    Yet carries on to say that all 9 hikers (experienced, healthy and sober people) were effected, well above and beyond simple discomfort... Add to it vortex conveniently creating passing tornadoes and viola mystery solved.

    There is no serious evidence of such phenomenons from large searching party. Even while visiting the place the author observed none of it.

    It is ok to say that we can't know what really happened, what compelled 9 people to abandon the tent. There is no shame in that. But the author seems desperate to solve the mystery...

    In the book the author distances himself from the "tinfoil hat brigade" yet ends up knocking on their door with great enthusiasm by the end of of it.

    The last hour pretty much ruined the book for me. Shame really.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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