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Friday
Jun152018

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

Why I read this book:

I found Dead Mountain recommended to me by Amazon. I'm a sucker for a mountaineering tragedy.

My one sentence summary:

When 13 experienced mountaineers go missing in the Ural mountains in 1959 and are later found dead without even their boots on, every explanation is explored from UFOs to secret government conspiracies.

Kudos:

Eichar tells a tale in several parallel veins including a recreation of the victims trek from their dormitory to their final resting place, the searchers who looked for survivors then bodies and the author's own journey from obsession to Russia in search of an answer. I enjoyed the first two veins. It was interesting to see the travels required just to get to the base of the mountain these student mountaineers has to take in 1959. The context of the communist country was well-captured. The rescue and investigation were equally interesting.

Quibbles:

I was not as interested in the own author's journey to retrace the steps of the missing mountaineers. Eichar dwells on his own personal issues that may have shaped his obsession with the mystery at Dyatlov Pass. I am also a little unsure about the conclusions he reaches to explain why the mountaineers left their tent without their boots and were found in various locations dead of either hypothermia or trauma.

Final verdict:

The case presented is interesting and worth reading, although be prepared for the twist ending as Eichar presents his own theories and the science to back them.

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