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The group consisted of skiers tourist club Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI, Sverdlovsk): five students, three graduate engineers UPI instructor and tourist centers, a war veteran Seeds Zolotarev. The team leader was a student of V course UPI, Igor Dyatlov experienced hikers. The remaining members of the group were also no strangers to sports tourism, with experience of complex campaigns.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

This is the story about nine ski hiker deaths that happened in the northern Ural Mountains in Russia on the night of February 2, 1959. Specifically, it was in a pass known as Dyatlov Pass. This pass was named after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov. The hikers faced horrifying and baffling deaths in the Ural Mountains. To this day, the cause of their death remains a mystery.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident is a dramatic and mysterious true story that unfolded in Sverdlovsk Oblast of USSR. It occurred on the eastern slopes of Kholat Syakhl mountain (literally “Mountain of the Dead” or “Dead Mountain” in native Mansi language) in the Ural mountains. The circumstances that surround it are so bizarre and strange that to this day they escape explanation. It could be dismissed as a hoax, but real documents, photo, archives, autopsy and other official documents prove that the story of Dyatlov Pass Incident is quite real. At the point of their disappearance, the goal of the ill-fated expedition was to reach Otorten, a mountain that was approximately 6 miles away.

The unfortunate hikers never reached their destination.

Investigators studied the hikers’ diaries and photographic film in their cameras. It seems the expedition was a model of its kind. Dyatlov was a stickler for discipline and the expedition had followed guidelines to the letter, keeping meticulous records. On their last day the hikers had experienced bad weather and camped early near a ridge on the flanks of Dead Mountain. It was calculated that whatever had happened to the group must have taken place after dark, between the pitching of the tent and the evening meal.

Had the camp been attacked? There were local Mansi tribesmen who herded reindeer and hunted in the local forests. Perhaps an animal had attacked. Forensic analysis of the tent showed that it had not been ripped but cut – from the inside. What had so alarmed the students that they had slashed their way out of the tent in order to run out – half-clothed – into a moonless night of strong winds and drifting snow? It seemed incomprehensible to investigators that the group had considered it safer to run away from the camp rather than remain there.

The Dyatlov Pass incident occurred during the rule of the Soviets over Russia and although there were no eyewitnesses or survivors to what actually happened the Soviet army did investigate the incident and locate the bodies of the 9 hikers.  Soviet investigators at the time determined only that a “compelling unknown force” had caused their deaths. For 3 years after the incident, 1959-62, the Soviets forbid access to the area to skiers and hikers.

Yuri Yudin hugging Lyudmila Dubinina as he prepares to leave the group due to illness, as Igor Dyatlov looks on. Photo taken from a roll of film found at the camp of the Dyatlov Pass incident and annexed to the legal inquest that investigated the deaths.

One of the participants of the campaign Yury Yudin was eliminated from the group because of sciatica when leaving the active part of the route, so that only one of the whole group alive. He was the first to recognize personal belongings of the victims and he also identified the bodies and Slobodina Dyatlov. In 1990 he was deputy head of Solikamsk of Economics and Forecasting, the chairman of “Polyus” City Tourist Club. Lyudmila Dubinin says goodbye to Yudin. On the left, Igor Dyatlov with bamboo ski poles (metal did not yet exist).

Mount Kholat Syakhl (Dyatlov Pass is located on the side of the mountain) gets its name from the local language of the Mansi tribe of the Siberian Natives. Literally, it means the Mountain of the Dead so it gained negative notoriety long before the Dyatlov Pass Incident. According to the legend, nine Mansi hunters stayed here overnight during their hunting trip. The next morning all nine were found dead by their friends. None of them showed any signs of violent death. Hence, the mountain and nearby Dyatlov Pass became regarded as haunted, but it was never considered sacred. Local native tribes avoided the peak and never ventured here. Mansi as well as most other tribes were never actually conquered by the European settlers. Instead they co- existed for centuries with little contact on vast stretches of land.

It could be regarded as a cute local legend. However increased active exploration of the region in the second half of the twentieth century supported the grim name of the mountain. To this day people are dying here. The cause of death often escapes rational explanation. Mysterious number nine seems to play a weird role in the demise of many tourists, geologists and all those who dared to visit this place.

The tent. The nature and form of these lesions suggests that they were formed from the contact with the blade of a weapon (knife) on the inside surface of the fabric of the tent.

When Soviet investigators went looking for the hikers who failed to return on schedule they first found the hikers’ tent that was apparently cut open in the back with a knife.  The hikers appeared to have fled through the hole without their shoes, some wearing only socks and others barefoot in the heavy snow.  The investigators found all 9 bodies at the edge of the snow covered forest.  The corpses showed no signs of struggle, however, two of them had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one of the hikers was missing her tongue.  According to investigators 4 of the victims’ clothing had substantial levels of radiation detected on them.

The ski group had come together for a ski trek across the northern Urals.  It consisted of Igor Dyatlov, who was the leader, and 8 men along with 2 women.  Most of them were students or graduates of the Ural Polytechnical Institute (now Ural State Technical University).  The goal of the trek was to reach Mt Otorten (which means “Don’t go there” in the native tongue).  The route was considered difficult.  All of these people were experienced skiers and hikers.

Originally the group started out with 10 members but one had to return to the village  the day after they started their trek because he became sick.  His name was Yuri Yudin.  So that left 9 members. The two women on the expedition were Zinaida Kolmogorova and Lyudmila Dubinina, and the other men were Alexander Kolevatov, Rusterm Slobodin, Yuri Krivonischenko, Yuri Doroshenko, Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, Alexander Zolotarev, and Yuri Yudin.

Dyatlov Tent at the time of its discovery.

Another interesting part of the Dyatlov Pass mystery is the tent of the Dyatlov Group. It is of unusual construction. Dyatlov tent was actually made of two regular tents. These two pieces were sawn together to make a bigger one. Those who had to deal with the old Soviet tents can attest that they are heavy. Two tents made the job even harder. But presence of a single stove made sense to create a single home for the tourists. Staying warm in Siberia is tricky and required a lot of ingenuity and compromise. Dyatlov group carried their tent by taking turns.
The first thing that the rescue party discovered on Kholat Syakhl mountain was a tourist tent with the stove that the Dyatlov made himself. For reasons that are were never answered, the sides of the tent were cut presumably by the tourists. Judging by the number of cuts they were made from inside. It is hard to explain why they chose this strange exit for leaving the tent completely ignoring the entrance. Many of the members were not fully clothed then this happened. Yet, warm clothes, shoes, sweaters, knives and anything that could keep them warm and help survive in Siberian wilderness were abandoned. In fact most of the footwear and clothes were stacked in the middle and edges of the tent. Additionally a flash light of Chinese production was discovered on the roof of the tent. It laid on a snow cover 5-10 cm in thickness and had no snow on top. It was turned on the flashlight. It was in working condition.

Toward the end of the same February, the group failed to communicate. Officials were initially hesitant to start a search and rescue operation. They even lied that there was a contact with a Dyatlov group and they were simply delayed by the natural elements. A rescue party made up of local authorities, student volunteers and Mansi guides repeated the path taken by the group and found the last base camp of the tourists on February 26th. The next day, on February 27th they also discovered 5 out of 9 bodies. Cameras were found at the site of the tents that they abandoned. Pictures clearly show high morale, relaxed atmosphere in a group and good preparedness for the harsh winter of the region.

Their campsite was made on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl, at about 3,600 feet. All the travellers — eight of them in their early/mid-20s with Zolotaryov in his late 30s — were experienced mountaineers, having skied across frozen lakes and totally uninhabited areas to get there. Despite nasty weather and slower progress than they’d planned, their last diary entries reflected high spirits. Charmingly, in a very typical Soviet way of bonding, they even produced a little newspaper about the trip, which they titled The Evening Ortoten and which bore the headline: From now on, we know that the snowmen exist. It goes on to say, “They can be met in the Northern Urals, next to Otorten mountain.” (They were, it’s thought, probably jokingly referring to themselves.)

After the first five bodies were found, a legal inquest began, eventually determining that the cause of death was hypothermia. The deaths seemed kind of straightforward at first. Sure, these dead were in various stages of undress, including one in his underwear, but this was explained away as “paradoxical undressing,” which happens in about 25 percent of hypothermia victims, as the hypothalamus malfunctions and body temperature seems to rise when it’s really dropping. But then it got super weird.

The skiers’ badly damaged tent, it was determined, had been cut open from the inside, and all of their stuff was still in it. Why were they dead of exposure if they’d had access to their winter gear BEFORE going out into the freezing winds? To all appearances, they appeared to have left the tent out of their own volition and in a hurry. Bizarrely, Zolotaryov fled the camp with his camera but not his gear. As well, Rustem Slobodin — who, along with Dyatlov and Zina Kolmogorova, seemed to have died in a pose indicating he was trying to return to the tent — had a small crack in his skull, but it was ruled that the elements were what killed him, not the fracture. No external wounds were discovered.

Things got really shaken up when the four bodies in the ravine were found and examined; both Dubinina and Zolotarev had fractured ribs, while Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolles had a major skull fracture. One of the investigators compared the force required to injure a human so severely to that of a car crash. The injuries were absolutely not caused by force exerted by another human being. Once again, no soft tissue damage was observed, as though the skiers’ bodies were crushed by pressure. When Dubinina was found to be missing her tongue, the theory of another party’s possible involvement must have arisen again — Who would do this? Why? Or did another skier from the group cut it out? And where did it go?  — but there were absolutely no indications of other people having been nearby, apart from the other travelers in Dyatlov’s group, not even the native Mansi people sometimes known to inhabit the area. And, perhaps most baffling of all, some of the skiers’ clothing was found to contain significant levels of radiation

During the night something made them tear their way out of their tents from the inside and flee the campsite inadequately dressed in heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.

Soviet investigators determined that six victims died from hypothermia while others showed signs of physical trauma. One victim had a fractured skull while another had brain damage but without any sign of distress to their skull. Additionally, a female team member had her tongue missing. The investigation concluded that an “unknown compelling force” had caused the deaths.

As the chronology of events remains uncertain due to the lack of survivors, several explanations have been put forward as to the cause; they include an animal attack, hypothermia, an avalanche, infrasound-induced panic, military involvement, or a combination of explanations.

A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on Feb. 26, 1959. The investigators speculated that sometime before midnight on February 2, the skiers were frightened by an “unknown event.” Members of the team managed to cut or rip through the fabric of the tent in a frantic attempt to escape whatever might have been attacking or approaching them and in their haste they burst out into the icy night mostly unclothed and in a state of sheer panic. The tent had been cut open from inside, and most of the skiers had fled in socks or barefoot. Photo taken by soviet authorities at the camp of the Dyatlov Pass incident and anexed to the legal inquest that investigated the deaths. (via Wikimedia)

The group arrived by train at Ivdel, a city at the center of the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast on January 25. They then took a truck to Vizhai – the last inhabited settlement so far north. They started their march toward Otorten from Vizhai on January 27.

Diaries and cameras found around their last campsite made it possible to track the group’s route up to the day preceding the incident. On January 31, the group arrived at the edge of a highland area and began to prepare for climbing. In a wooded valley they cached surplus food and equipment that would be used for the trip back. The following day (February 1), the hikers started to move through the pass. It seems they planned to get over the pass and make camp for the next night on the opposite side, but because of worsening weather conditions – snowstorms and decreasing visibility – they lost their direction and deviated west, up towards the top of Kholat Syakhl. When they realized their mistake, the group decided to stop and set up camp there on the slope of the mountain, rather than moving 1.5 kilometres  downhill to a forested area which would have offered some shelter from the elements. Yudin postulated that “Dyatlov probably did not want to lose the altitude they had gained, or he decided to practice camping on the mountain slope.”

Last frames of the unknown camera shows Dyatlov Group setting up a base for the tent. “In one of the cameras kept a photo frame (made by a tourist), which depicts the moment of snow excavation for the installation of the tent. Given that this shot was taken with an exposure of 1/25 sec. with the diaphragm 5.6 at 65 units of GOST sensitivity of the film, as well as taking into account the density of the frame, it can be assumed that the installation of the tent started about 5 pm 02.01.1959 year. A similar picture was taken, by another device.
After this time, no recording, and no photograph has not been detected. ”
– Decision to dismiss criminal case. Official Criminal Investigation

Last pictures of the Dyatlov Group. 

These are the last proven pictures of the Dyatlov group made on February 1st, 1959 as they crossed Dyatlov Pass and began ascent of Kholat Syakhl mountain. Records show that the sun set behind the horizon at 5:02 pm on this date. Pictures were made just before the night descended on the mountain. Judging by photos they are well equipped and well protected. At least by the standards of that time. Low visibility due to wind and snow is an important aspect since this could significantly impact the movement of the group during the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Hypothermia and confusion can set it much quicker in these conditions. Disorientation on unfamiliar terrain can happen very quickly and might result in a death of an unlucky victim. Nevertheless, Igor Dyatlov and his group set up a tent on a barren slope of the Kholat Syakhl mountain. Some members of search party testified that there was no firewood present in the Dyatlov Group tent. Although other witnesses claim to see a wooden log abandoned in the tent. Whatever might be the case the tourists chose to sleep in the cold conditions. Later finding showed that they started their dinner when something happened. This “something” still has people puzzled to this day.

Before leaving, Dyatlov had agreed he would send a telegram to their sports club as soon as the group returned to Vizhai. It was expected that this would happen no later than February 12, but Dyatlov had told Yudin, before his departure from the group, that he expected to be longer. When the 12th passed and no messages had been received, there was no immediate reaction, as delays of a few days were common with such expeditions. It was not until the relatives of the travelers demanded a rescue operation on February 20 that the head of the institute sent the first rescue groups, consisting of volunteer students and teachers. Later, the army and militsiya forces became involved, with planes and helicopters being ordered to join the rescue operation.

On February 26, the searchers found the group’s abandoned and badly damaged tent on Kholat Syakhl. The campsite baffled the search party. Mikhail Sharavin, the student who found the tent, said “the tent was half torn down and covered with snow. It was empty, and all the group’s belongings and shoes had been left behind.” Investigators said the tent had been cut open from inside. Eight or nine sets of footprints, left by people who were wearing only socks, a single shoe or were even barefoot, could be followed, leading down toward the edge of a nearby woods, on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) to the north-east. However, after 500 metres (1,600 ft) these tracks were covered with snow. At the forest’s edge, under a large cedar, the searchers found the visible remains of a small fire, along with the first two bodies, those of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. The branches on the tree were broken up to five metres high, suggesting that one of the skiers had climbed up to look for something, perhaps the camp. Between the cedar and the camp the searchers found three more corpses: Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Slobodin, who seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the tent. They were found separately at distances of 300, 480 and 630 metres from the tree.

Searching for the remaining four travellers took more than two months. They were finally found on May 4 under four metres of snow in a ravine 75 metres farther into the woods from the cedar tree. These four were better dressed than the others, and there were signs that those who had died first had apparently relinquished their clothes to the others. Zolotariov was wearing Dubinina’s faux fur coat and hat, while Dubinina’s foot was wrapped in a piece of Krivonishenko’s wool pants.

Another notable find besides the four remaining hikers was a camera around Zolotariov’s neck. The camera was not reported as having been part of the equipment. Also, the film in the camera was reported to have been damaged by water.

A legal inquest started immediately after finding the first five bodies. A medical examination found no injuries which might have led to their deaths, and it was eventually concluded that they had all died of hypothermia. Slobodin had a small crack in his skull, but it was not thought to be a fatal wound.

One of the last photos. Tourists are clearing the space under the tent on the mountainside. Skiers setting up camp at about 5. p.m. on Feb. 2, 1959. Photo taken from a roll of film found at the camp of the Dyatlov Pass incident (via Wikimedia)

The last and most mysterious photo. 

Some believe that this picture was made by someone from the group of Dyatlov, the danger began to approach. For others, this shot was taken when the film is removed from the camera for the developer. This picture puzzles many people who are interested in the Dyatlov Pass Incident. One of these pictures (named frame 33) was labeled in the official investigation as belonging to Krivonischenko. Another frame has no labelling so it’s not know who it belongs to. Search party discovered several cameras around the site of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. However, only Krivonischenko camera had its lens open and ready to shoot. So it logical to assume that both pictures were made by Krivonischenko.

Many people suggested that these photos were simply damaged by the elements. But it is also possible that Krivonischenko and several members of the team, those heads are visible on the right photo actually tried to make a sense of some strange event that was unfolding before them. Apparently the quality of their camera did not allow a good image. Faint borders and unclear focus makes it hard to determine what was really pictured. Some see a man with his hands raised and something flashing or burning in the background. While others see the entrance of the tent from the inside. Many explanations have surfaced. There is no agreement on its nature, though.

An examination of the four bodies which were found in May shifted the narrative as to what had occurred during the incident. Three of the ski hikers had fatal injuries: Thibeaux-Brignolles had major skull damage, and both Dubinina and Zolotarev had major chest fractures. According to Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny, the force required to cause such damage would have been extremely high, comparing it to the force of a car crash. Notably, the bodies had no external wounds related to the bone fractures, as if they had been subjected to a high level of pressure. However, major external injuries were found on Dubinina, who was missing her tongue, eyes, part of the lips, as well as facial tissue and a fragment of skull bone; she also had extensive skin maceration on the hands. It was claimed that Dubinina was found lying face down in a small stream that ran under the snow and that her external injuries were in line with putrefaction in a wet environment, and were unlikely to be related to her death.

There was initial speculation that the indigenous Mansi people might have attacked and murdered the group for encroaching upon their lands, but investigation indicated that the nature of their deaths did not support this hypothesis; the hikers’ footprints alone were visible, and they showed no sign of hand-to-hand struggle.

Although the temperature was very low, around −25 to −30 °C (−13 to −22 °F) with a storm blowing, the dead were only partially dressed. Some of them had only one shoe, while others had no shoes or wore only socks. Some were found wrapped in snips of ripped clothes that seemed to have been cut from those who were already dead.

Journalists reporting on the available parts of the inquest files claim that it states:

  • Six of the group members died of hypothermia and three of fatal injuries.
  • There were no indications of other people nearby on Kholat Syakhl apart from the nine travellers.
  • The tent had been ripped open from within.
  • The victims had died 6 to 8 hours after their last meal.
  • Traces from the camp showed that all group members left the campsite of their own accord, on foot.

To dispel the theory of an attack by the indigenous Mansi people, Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny stated that the fatal injuries of the three bodies could not have been caused by another human being, “because the force of the blows had been too strong and no soft tissue had been damaged”.

Forensic radiation tests had shown high doses of radioactive contamination on the clothes of a few victims.

Released documents contained no information about the condition of the skiers’ internal organs.

There were no survivors of the incident.

At the time the verdict was that the group members all died because of a compelling natural force. The inquest officially ceased in May 1959 as a result of the absence of a guilty party. The files were sent to a secret archive, and the photocopies of the case became available only in the 1990s, although some parts were missing.

Initially there was some speculation that perhaps people from the native Mansi tribe might have attacked the group and murdered them because the group had encroached on their lands.  However, an investigation determined that the nature of their deaths did not support this thesis.  For one thing only the footprints of the hikers were visible and not any from anyone else.  Also, there were no signs of hand-to-hand combat or struggle.

On the night of February 2, 1959 in the Urals the temperature was around  minus 25 degrees with blowing snow.  Oddly, however, the hikers were dressed only partially.  Sme of them hand only one shoe on while others had no shoes or wore only socks.  Some of the bodies were found wrapped in snips of ripped clothes which appeared to had been cut from those who were already dead.  It must be noted that up to 25% of hypothermia deaths are associated with Paradoxical Undressing which typically occurs during moderate to severe hypothermia as a person becomes disoriented, confused, and combative.  People in this condition may start removing their clothing unawares which, in turn, increases the rate of heat loss and hypothermia.

Journalists who reported on the Inquest into the deaths at the time reported that 6 of the groups members died of hypothermia and 3 of fatal injuries.  It was also reported that there were no signs of other people nearby or in the surrounding area.  They also reported that they had been ripped or cut open from within in the rear of the tent.

Some researchers claim that the facts surrounding this case were either missed or ignored by investigators.  For instance, they claim that after the funerals that relatives of the deceased said that the skin of the victims had a strange brown tan.  One of the former investigating officials in a private interview said that his dosimeter had shown high radiation levels in the Pass but that the source of the radioactive contamination was never found.  Further, on the night of February 2 another group of hikers who were 50 kilometers away from the incident reported that they had seen strange orange spheres in the nigh sky to the north in the direction of the pass where the hikers were camping.  Similar reports of such spheres were also observed in Ivdel, a nearby village, and adjacent areas almost continuously from February to March 1959.  These came from various witnesses including the meteorology service and the Soviet military!  Also, some reports suggested that there was a lot of scrap metal in the area where the hikers died.  This lead to speculation that the Soviet military had utilized the area for secret tests and might have engaged in a cover-up regarding how the hikers died.

In 1967, Russian writer and journalist Yuri Yarovoi published a novel entitled “of the highest rank of complexity” which he based on this incident.  He had actually been involved in the search for the group and the Inquest.  He had also acted as the investigations official photographer.  Details of the incident were kept secret by the Soviets as usual.  Yarovoi avoided revealing anything beyond the official position and well known facts.  Yarovoi died in 1980 and all of his archives, photos, dairies, and manuscripts became “lost.”  How convenient!

Another Soviet journalist, named Anatoly Guschin, also looked into the incident and wrote a book entitled “The price of state secrets in nine lives.”  He concentrated on speculation that these people were the victims of a secret Soviet weapon experiment.  A former police officer named Lev Ivanov who led the Inquest in 1959 published an article in 1990 and admitted that the investigative team had seen “flying spheres” themselves!  Invanov believed in a paranormal explanation for the groups deaths involving UFOs.

A regional TV documentary file was produced about this incident in 2000 called “The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass.”  There is also a book by the same name.  The book, written by Anna Matveyeva, contains large portions of quotes from the official case including diaries of the victims and interviews with investigators and searchers.  In September of 2011 the History Channel television show “Ancient Aliens” featured a segment on the incident as well.

The mystery of Dyatlov Pass (as the mountain pass came to be named, in honour of the group) has lasted decades, lately gaining worldwide attention online. The suppression of files by authorities has been interpreted as evidence of a cover-up. That is hardly a persuasive line, as the USSR was a secretive police state where the concealment of problematic (and even mundane) information was standard procedure.

The Event Timeline

This timeline has been put together based on available evidence, life expectancies after injury, passing-on of clothes, travel times, estimates of survival in extreme conditions and best probabilities. When reconstructed in this way most of the components do start to fit together. For example it seems to have troubled investigators that only two members had traces of radiation. However, the timeline clearly shows that the source of contamination was originally Dubinina’s cloths which were later worn by Alexander Zolotarev. These were the only two members to have trace radiation. Having said all of this – it is still an estimate based on supposition and calculation.

25-Jan-59 Unknown First traveling by train, the group arrives at Ivdel, a central city of the northern province of Sverdlovsk, Oblast where they stay the night.
26-Jan-59 Morning The group catch a lift with a truck that takes them to Vizhay where they stay the night.
27-Jan-59 Unknown The group starts their march towards “Gora Otorten” (map reference: ) from Vizhay.
28-Jan-59 Unknown Yury Yudin becomes ill and turns back to Vizhay. The others continue their trek towards Gora Otorten by following the valley and river.
31-Jan-59 Unknown The group reaches the edge of the highland zone where they will break away from the River. They spend the day preparing for the climb. According to the “March Plan” they intended to leave a stock of supplies in a corn chandler’s shop. However another account suggests that they actually constructed a shelter in a nearby wooded area for the same reason.
01-Feb-59 Morning The group set off for what will be their last campsite. The distance they will travel is not great and is only about 2.5 miles – although a steep incline through the forest as well as weather and snow conditions may have made the journey very slow going.
01-Feb-59 4.00pm Towards the evening of the 2nd of February they find themselves on the slopes of Kholat-Syakhl (a Mansi name, meaning Mountain of the Dead). They set up camp on the exposed slope of this mountain some 10 miles from their destination – Gora Otorten. Evidence from the photographs suggests that they were in a positive frame of mind. They had cleared the trees and skiing should become easier from this point to the mountain
01-Feb-59 6.00pm – 7.00pm The group eat a meal.
01-Feb-59 7.00pm – 10.00pm Tired, at least some of the Group settle down for the night. This is apparently evidenced by the fact that at least some of them were not fully clothed when they abandoned the tents. The temperature outside is bitterly cold – some say as low as -18 degrees Celsius. (To be honest, it is strange that they took off any clothes at all in these hostile temperatures. When members of the team camped near Berlin, Germany, in early December 2004 the temperature dropped to minus 17 degrees Celsius and we slept with all our cloths on including our boots.) Whatever the conditions, some of the Group felt relaxed enough to undress. This is perhaps the strongest evidence that they were not experiencing anything significantly out of the ordinary.
01-Feb-59 Estimated: 9.30pm – 11.30pm The Dyatlov Pass Incident (Accident) Begins! The timing of this is calculated based on the undigested food in the stomachs of the deceased. The group, in various states of undress, cut or rips through the sides of the tent(s) and flees downhill to the nearest forest. There is no doubt that they are scared and in a hurry. They know they will not survive long in the outside temperature so must be fleeing for their very lives. Why they should need to cut through the tent is bizarre in itself? Had they tied the fastenings shut and didn’t have time to untie them? These and other still unanswered questions will be raised later to this section.Tracks found in the snow suggest that the group was scattered at first but came back together some distance (+/-300m) down the slope.
01-Feb-59 Estimated: 10.00pm – 11.00pm Desperately cold but clearly in mortal fear of returning to their tents, they light a fire. For possibly two hours they remain where they are. The fire helps but Igor Dyatlov knows that it is not enough to keep them alive. The “great” pine tree is lower than the campsite and broken branches suggest that at least one of the team tries to climb it to see if they can view what is happening. Desperate and disoriented three members of the team decide to try and return to the tents. Igor Dyatlov, Zinaida (Zina) Kolmogorova and Rustem Slobodin make this superhuman effort. Already near dead from hypothermia, or something else, they fail to make it and collapse at various intervals. Their deaths are inevitable. They are found separately at 300, 480 and 630 meters from the pine tree.
02-Feb-59 Estimated: 12.00pm – 1.00am When the leader of the team fails to re-emerge, the remaining members of the group wait for some sign of hope. Two further members, Georgyi Krivonischenko and Yuri Doroshenko die from cold while waiting. (It may be that these two died before Dyatlov decides to try for the tents and their deaths may have been the catalyst for the decision) The remaining members of the Group are desperately afraid.
02-Feb-59 Estimated: 12.30pm – 1.30am The members of the group that are still alive take the clothes from the dead bodies of their comrades. In particular, Dubinina wraps her feet in the trouser no longer needed by Krivonischenko. Straining their eyes they look in the direction of the tents. Finally they make the decision to move further away along and into the woods. It is likely that it was at this time that the injuries sustained by this group occur. The survivors make it a further 75 – 700 metres into and along the woods before descending into a ravine. They huddle together but it is clear that Nicolas is dead. They wait and as they do Dubinina dies from chest injuries and hypothermia. Alexander Zolotarev takes (or is given) her coat and hat to try and keep himself warm.
02-Feb-59 Estimated: 12.45pm – 1.45am Alexander Zolotarev dies from a combination of chest injuries and hypothermia.
02-Feb-59 Estimated: 9.30pm – 11.30pm Alexander Kolevatov, frozen, afraid, alone and exhausted drifts off to sleep – he will never awake.
Post event – date and time unknown Unknown Between the time of her death and the discovery of her body three months later something examines the bodies lying in the ravine. Dubanina’s head is thrown back with her mouth open just as it was while she took her last dying breath. Her tongue may already be frozen as something rips it, and possibly the lining of her oral cavity, from her body.
12-Feb-59 N/A This is the date that the Dyatlov Ski Team were meant to arrive in the town of Vishay and send a telegram announcing the completion of their route. They do not arrive and obviously no telegram is sent. This is the first real indication that something has gone wrong. However, a later converstation with B. E. Slobtsovym sugests that the team had planned an extention to their trip and would hav only arrived in Vishay on the 14th.
20-Feb-59 Unknown Relatives of the missing skiers pressure the management of the Institute into dispatching a search and rescue party.
21-25 February 1959 Unknown An initial failure to find the skiers results in the military and civilian authorities becoming involved in the search. Soldiers and officers take part and both planes and helicopters are dispatched to the area. The first sighting is made by the pilot of a plane.
26-Feb-59 Unknown The searchers find the abandoned camp on the eastern slope of mountain 1079 – Kholat Syakhl. The tent was badly damaged. A chain of footsteps could be followed, leading down towards the edge of nearby woods (on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5km north-east), but after 500 meters they were covered with snow. At the forest edge, under a large old pine, the searchers find the remains of a fire, along with the first two dead bodies, those of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. They are buried under snow.The branches of cedar, under which they were lying, were broken at a height of about 5 meters. On the trunk of a tree forensic doctors found traces of skin and other tissues. With this evidence it is believed that they climbed the tree and broke off branches until their hands were literally raw.
26-Feb-59 Unknown Three hundred meters from the fire and in the direction of the tent searchers find the body of Igor Dyatlova. He is laying on his back with his head towards the tents, one hand is holding a small birch tree branch and the other is shielding his head.
26-Feb-59 Unknown 180 m from the body of Igor Dyatlow and in a direction towards the tent the searchers find the body of Rustem Slobodin. He is lying face forward in the snow. Slobodin was also found to have a skull fracture of about 17 cm in length. however, experts have determined that his death was most probably from hypothermia.
26-Feb-59 Unknown A further 150m from the body of rustem Slobodin and even closer to the tent, the searchers discover the body of Zinaida Kolmogorov. Traces of blood are found nearby. (We don’t know the source of the blood yet.) It is worthy to note that it was Zinaida, a woman, that made it the furthest.
04-May-59 Unknown Second group is found buried in a ravine under 4 metres of snow. Ludmila Dubinina is found to have a symmetrical fracture of several ribs one of which may have pieced her heart. causing extensive extensive cardiovascular for 15-20 minutes after the injury. Alexander Zolotareva is found to have broken ribs on the right side.

All the students were buried in a mass grave in the cemetery of St. Michael in the Sverdlovsk. The first funerals were held March 9, 1959 a large gathering of people. According to eyewitnesses, the face and the skin of dead guys had a purple-bluish tint. The bodies of four students (Dyatlov, Slobodina, Doroshenko, Kolmogorova) were buried in the cemetery of St Michael at Sverdlovsk. Krivonischenko buried his parents on the Ivanovo cemetery Sverdlovsk. Funeral of tourists found in the beginning of May, took place May 12, 1959. Three of them – Dubinin, Kolevatova and Thibault-Brignoles – buried near the graves of their comrades in the group at St. Michael Cemetery. Zolotarev was buried on the Ivanovo cemetery, next to the grave Krivonischenko. All four were buried in a closed coffin.

Due to “an absence of a guilty party,” the inquest was closed in May of 1959, only a few short weeks after the last four bodies were discovered, and the files were archived and classified. When they finally became accessible in the 1990s, post-Soviet era, parts of them were missing.

Without any real, public answers to any of these freaky questions, all manner of insane theory flourished around the incident over the ensuing 50 years, but the Soviet government’s very sudden closing of the case seems to have made it the most popular culprit in the minds of the theorists. Orange spheres were sighted in the sky on the night the Dyatlov group died by campers about 50 miles away from the scene; some explained these away as R-7 intercontinental missile launches, seeing as the last campsite was located on the pathway from Balikonur Cosmodrone to Chyornaya Guba, a Soviet nuclear testing ground. Per the radiation found in the skiers’ clothing, some speculated that they drank melted contaminated snow. A 12-year-old eyewitness who attended five of the skiers’ funerals claimed that the bodies had a “deep brown tan.” And you can’t talk conspiracies (and radiation) without mentioning aliens and UFOs, of course.

Dyatlov Group Diary – You can see more pictures from the last trip to Dyatlov Pass and step by step walkthrough of the journey to the Dyatlov pass incident.

The True Story | Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov …

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The Frightening, Unsolved Mystery of the Dyatlov Pass – Blumhouse.com

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The Dyatlov Pass Incident – Just What Did Happen On Dead Mountain …

Mystery at Dyatlov Pass – Skeptoid

Dyatlov Pass Incident – Ermak Travel Guide

 


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