When documentary filmmaker Donnie Eichar heard about the tragic Dyatlov Pass Incident, he became obsessed — and for good reason. In February 1959, nine young Russians set out to trek the northern Ural Mountains in hopes of achieving their level-three hiking certification. Yet they never returned, and the rescue party discovered a grisly scene: the bodies of all nine hikers were scattered across the slopes and ravines of a peak known locally as Holatchahl, or Dead Mountain. They appeared to have fled the safety of their tent in total darkness during subzero conditions, many of them only half-dressed and without proper footwear. The reason for their sudden, panicked flight has remained one of Russia’s greatest mysteries and has served as inspiration for dozens of wild explanations. In Dead Mountain, Eichar examines witness testimony, scientific evidence, and the hikers’ journals to construct a compelling theory of what may finally be the truth about the Dyatlov Pass Incident.
“The real Siberia, which stretches to the east all the way to the Pacific Ocean, begins on the other side of the Ural Mountains. But then “Siberia,” historically, has been less a geographical designation than a state of mind, a looming threat—the frozen hell on earth to which czarist and Communist Russias sent their political undesirables. By this definition, Siberia is not so much a place as it is a hardship to endure, and perhaps that’s what Vladimir means when he says that we are in Siberia. I trudge on.”
Donnie Eichar is a documentary filmmaker, producer, director, and author of Dead Mountain. He lives in California.
Length: 288 pages
Set in: Yekaterinburg and Ural Mountains, Russia
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