I don’t know that they’re really disasters, per se, but definitely personal tragedies. You can read up on:
Sir Robert Falcon Scott, 2nd explorer to reach the South Pole in 1912. He was racing a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, and got beat because of his refusal to update his methods. He and his five man team all died on the way back, not far from a large lifesaving cache of food and materials. His is a pretty epic, albeit tragic tale. There’s lots of good books to read - do a search on South Pole, polar exploration, or Scott/Amundsen.
In that vein, Ernest Shackleton also led a coupla expeditions to the South Pole, one of which almost ended in disaster in 1914. His ship, the Endurance, sank in the Antartic, but he managed to save all his crew members with a herculanean feat of endurance and some amazing navigating. His is an amazing story.
George Leigh Mallory and Andrew Irvine, the first explorers to die on Mt. Everest. In 1924, George and Sandy started their push for the summit, were spotted not far from the top by a man on their team, then disappeared. No one knows whether they made the summit, and it’s been one of the enduring mysteries of mountain climbing. The mystery deepened in 1999 when a team of climbers found Mallory’s body on the mountain. Mallory, by all accounts, was a strong climber, and it had always been assumed that Irvine had been the one to fall, the one that was the ultimate cause of their loss. From Mallory’s position on the mountain, however, it was clear that Mallory had fallen, not Irvine. Add in some Chinese reports of an “old English dead” that they had seen sitting or lying elsewhere on the mountain, and the mystery heats up. It’s a fascinating tale. Jochen Hemmleb is the researcher that was a part of the team that found Mallory’s body, and I’ve found his books to be excellent. Tom Holtzen (sp?) is another well-respected author here.
Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, Everest guides who died on Everest in the fated storm of 1996, subject of Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air. Another gripping story.
There’s also always Alive, the pretty grim tale of the Rugby players in South America. I found that book to be very well written and a worthwhile read.