The True Story

DEAD MOUNTAIN: THE UNTOLD TRUE STORY of the DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT is the definitive examination of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, a mystery that has confounded investigators and inspired speculation for over fifty years. This gripping work of literary nonfiction reveals previously unpublished material and photographs, exclusive interviews, first-person investigations, and finally reveals the real story of what happened on Dead Mountain.

In January 1959, a group of Russian hikers from the Ural Polytechnic Institute embarked on a trip to Otorten Mountain in the northern Urals. As wintry conditions worsened, one hiker was forced to turn back due to illness, unaware that he would be the last person to see his companions alive. After two weeks without word from the hikers, a search team set off to investigate their disappearance. At the camp, the tent was discovered to be cut from the inside with the hikers belongings left undisturbed. Their bodies were found nearly a mile away. They seemed to have fled the tent insufficiently clothed, most of them without their shoes. Several had violent injuries such as fractured skulls and ribs. Investigators later found puzzling evidence, including possible signs of radiation and a final cryptic photograph taken by the hikers. With no witnesses and an inconclusive investigation, the question of how this team of experienced hikers met their tragic death would continue to confound authorities for over a half-century, and give rise to conjecture and theories that continue to stoke global interest in this mystery.

Dead Mountain author Donnie Eichar became intrigued by the story when he heard about it several years ago. With a background as a film director, he knew the power of a good story, and about four years ago began investigating the mystery, determined to find the truth about what killed the hikers. During two extended visits to Russia he uncovered a large collection of previously unreleased data, criminal case files, and the hikers’ own photos and journals. He was also able to interview dozens of friends and family members of the hikers, including Yuri Yudin, the expedition’s sole survivor, who shared his firsthand recollections with Eichar before his death this year. In addition to bringing fresh research to the case, Eichar retraced the hikers’ footsteps, following the same route that the Dyatlov group took on that fateful trip in 1959. The result is the most comprehensive, factual work to be published on the case, one that reveals for the first time what really happened that night on Dead Mountain.

"I'm honored to have been able to participate in a joint investigation with the Russians to piece together the facts of this 54-year old mystery. What has transpired is not only a clear understanding of the tragedy, but also a beautiful portrait of nine young, vibrant hikers who prematurely lost their lives in February 1959," said Eichar.