Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: This is why I never go camping. OR In Soviet Russia, mountain kill you!

Quick synopsis: The story of the mysterious death of 9 hikers in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1959. 

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: The nine hikers’ bodies were found in various forms of undress over a spread-out crime scene.  

Fun Fact for History Nerds: The biographies of some of the hikers are an excellent crash course in how Russia was in the late 1950s and why even “friends” were never really “friends.” 

My Take: As if living in communist Russia wasn’t rough enough, you can apparently die under mysterious circumstances in the mountains with your friends. 

The basic story is very simple. Nine hikers head into the Ural Mountains. They knew each other well for the most part and were experienced with hiking and camping in rough conditions. They never return.  

A rescue party is sent to find them and can’t explain most of the evidence. It seems like some may have been attacked by animals, some seemed to die from exposure, and there is no sign of an animal or murderer. No rational explanation exists. 

Eichar actually heads to the scene decades later for the book. His journey there is almost as interesting as the mystery. Even today, getting to the scene requires a lot of help and some very shady characters. Eichar eventually posits a rational theory but it will never be known for sure. And unless you are a hardcore scientist, you will not even realize such a thing exists. 

Verdict: This mystery is worth reading. The author goes the extra mile (literally) to provide a viable answer.  

If You Liked This Try: 

  • Charity Vogel, The Angola Horror 
  • Laura MacDonald, Curse of the Narrows 
  • David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood 
  • Ed O’Donnell, Ship Ablaze 
  • R.A. Scotti, Sudden Sea 
  • Daniel Brown, Under a Flaming Sky 

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Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar
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