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
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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.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Yevgeny on 08-07-14

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...
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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By mollymoon1 on 26-08-14

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.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 30-06-15

Mystery & Intrigue In The Ural Mountains

Eichar revisits and examines the unsolved, closed case of the deaths of nine hikers in February of 1959 in the Ural Mountains of Russia. This story has been the fodder of conspiracy theories and speculation for more than 50 years. The author explores the events first hand. He travels to Russia, retraces the journey, meets with family, and pieces together a picture that proposes a reasonable and highly likely scenario. However, the story is so compelling and filled with mystery it still left me wondering.

The author also narrates this book. This was not terrible--but sounded slightly monotone and dire in feeling. I increased the play back speed to 1.25 which helped perk things up a bit. I still had mixed feelings about this--a professional narrator might have been a better choice.

For me, this book was fascinating--not just because of the mystery--but because of the culture clash it presented. I really was intrigued by the author's look at Russia over the last 50-60 years and his fumbling attempts to communicate with and relate to people he met when he did not speak the language. A bold choice and an engaging book.

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43 of 44 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Denise Ryan on 08-08-15

Amazing Story

Whoa. You will never in a million years see this coming. Fascinating true mystery - if you like those things (I do!), you'll love this. Only downside is the author's rotten narration - almost made me give up, he's so monotone. But the story is worth it - hang in there. I still see the hikers in my mind and can't imagine how terrifying their last night must have been.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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