1,114 forum posts
Dead Mountain, by Donnie Eichar. I stumbled across it on iBooks looking for some airport reading.
This is the reconstructed story of a group of nine 20-something Russian students who went on a winter backcountry ski trip in the Ural mountains in the winter of 1959 -- and never came back. Searchers found the big group tent first, with an exit slash on the back wall, and eight pairs of boots lined up by the wood stove. Intensive searching over the next couple of months located the students' bodies in three groups within a few hundred meters of the tent -- all had left the tent lightly clad and wearing only socks.
The author is from Florida, transplanted to Mailibu, and admits he is neither outdoorsman nor skier. This shows in that he refers to the skiers as "hikers" throughout the book -- he could as well have defined their activity as "backcountry skiing" and then used the proper word. Forgiving him that, he has done a good job sifting through accident reports and all the myth, rumor, and explanatory theories that have accumulated over the years, and ultimately arrives at an intriguing natural explanation that I won't give away here. Let's just say I'd like to hear what our resident rocket scientist has to say about it.
To tell the story, Eichar waded through reams of documents, interviews the one surviving student who turned back early due to illness as well as other Russians with a long-standing interest in the story, and takes a snowmobile ride to the sit of the incident -- bold move for a Floridian. The book includes haunting and black and white photos recovered from the students' cameras.
I only have an e-copy of this one, but I wouldn't mind having a hard copy for our polar explorers/mountaineering/true backcountry adventures book shelf. Very much recommended for the TS crowd.