Tourists of Dyatlov Pass Incident
Vladimir L. Shunin (Friend of Igor Dyatlov, Zina, Nikolay. He often joined them, but this time he had to skip the trip.)
Who were they
- the students of the
fifties - sixties?
These were the children
of war (World War II).
Everyone was raised in
the hungry post-war
they didn't worship money. They believed in the
ideas of fraternity, equality,
faith in the "bright
realm of socialism."
Study, and work
for the sake of all
In those days, there were no rich people. All were equally poor. Students earned money where ever they could. Basically they worked loading and unloading of railway wagons. They weren't very well dressed either. Mainly in ski suits ...
But they had lots of fun. We had great degree of curiosity that helped us study, learn, work, play sports, and travel.
Hiking played particularly important part in our lives. A cult of tourism, risk taking and courage in a face of challenges was influenced by such books as "Dersu Uzala" by Arsenyev, "Ural - the land of gold" and others, which we read as a children. None of these was done for the money. We did it for the romanticism of taiga, mountains and for the good of the motherland ...
Igor Dyatlov (Игорь Дятлов), the group's leader. The name of the Dyatlov Pass and the whole incident is name after him. He was born in 1937 (January 13th). A student of the 5th Faculty of Radio Engineering UPI university. A talented engineer designed and assembled a radio during his 2nd year, that was used during hikes in 1956 in Sayan Mountains. He also designed a small stove that was used since 1958 by Dyatlov himself. It was taken during the last trip since it proved its functionality. People who knew Igor described him as a thoughtful man who never rushed with his decisions. He courted Zina Kolmogorova who also took part of the hike. Apparently she liked him as well. Igor Dyatlov was one of the most experienced athletes in the group who also traced the path of the group.
Zinaida Kolmogorova (Зинаида Колмогорова)- Zinaida was born in 1937 (January 12th) in a village of Cheremhovo, Kamensky district of Sverdlovsk region and lived there until 1948. She was 4th year student at UPI University at Radio Engineering Major. She was an experienced hiker with six major trips into the wilderness who had her share of difficulties. During one of her trips she was bitten by a viper. Despite pain and suffering that this bite caused her she refused lighten her load, unwilling to cause hardship to others.
She was very outgoing and energetic. People who knew her say that she was the "engine of the University". She was always full of ideas and was liked by everyone. Despite her popularity in school she always treated everyone with interest and respect. As a result people were naturally drawn to her. Diary events mention that incredible gift. According to the eye witnesses after the hike Zina intended to return home and see her parents whom she missed.
Lyudmila Dubinina (Людмила Дубинина)- Lyudmila was born in 1938 (May 12th). She was a third year student in UPI university in Engineering and Economics Major. She was active in tourist club, liked to sing and take pictures. Many of the pictures of the last trip were done by her. During an expedition to the Eastern Sayan Mountains in 1957 she received an accidental gunshot from another tourist who was cleaning a rifle. She endured a painful injury courageously. During long and very painful transportation she did not complain and even felt sorry for causing too many troubles to the group.
Alexander Kolevatov (Александр Колеватов)- Alexander or Sasha was born in 1934 (November 11th) He was a 4th year student at a Physics Major in UPI University. Priory to moving to Sverdlovsk he finished Sverdlovsk Mining and Metallurgy Collegy majoring in metallurgy of heavy nonferrous metals. He distinguished himself as agood student and moved to Moscow to work in secret institute of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building that was called merely by its serial number of I 3394. Later he moved to Research Insitute of Inorganic Materials that was engaged in producing materials for the growing nuclear industry. In 1956 he moved back to Sverdlovsk and joined UPI. His friends described him as diligent, pedantic, methodical with clear leadership qualities.
Rustem Slobodin (Рустем Слободин)- He was born in 1936 (November 1st). He graduated from UPI University in 1959. He was a very athletic man, honest and descent, although quiet at times. He liked to play mandolin that he often took during long hiking trips. His father was a professor at another Sverdlovsk University. Although Rustem was ethnically Russian his father gave him a traditional Tatar name following a popular fashion of international friendship of all men. This was USSR after all with its own ideology.
Yuri or Georgiy Krivonischenko (Юрий Кривонищенко)- Yuri was born in 1935 (February 7th). He graduated from UPI University in 1959. While working in Chelyabinsk- 40 a secret nuclear facility he experienced a disaster that became known as Kushtumkoy Accident. On September 29, 1957 plutonium plant experienced radioactive leak. Yuri Or George Krivonishenko was among the people who was sent to clean it up. His body will wear clothes that have traces of radioactivity that some trace to this particular event. However being an engineer Yuri had more knowledge about radioactivity than most people at the time and it is highly unlikely that he kept any of the clothes that he was wearing two years prior to the trip.
Yuri Doroshenko (Юрий Дорошенко)- He was born in 1938 (January 29th) in Strelecky region of Kursk Oblast (state) in a family of three siblings. Yury's father graduated from the Kiev Institute of GMI. When World War II broke out his whole family was moved with their factory beyond the Ural mountains to escape German occupation and bombing. His father died in 1954 from a heart attack. The next year in 1955 Yury graduated from High School with straight A's and a medal for.
Yuri Doroshenko was a student of the same UPI university. He was involved in a relationship with Zina Kolmogorova and even went to met her parents in Kamensk- Urals. Although they broke up he kept a good relationship with Zina Kolmogorova and Igor Dyatlov. Yuri Doroshenko was an experienced hiker. He himself headed several groups in the Middle Ural Mountain range of varying degrees of complexity.
Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle (Николай Тибо-Бриньоль)- Nikolai or Nicholas or simply Kolya was born in 1934 (July 5th). He graduated in 1958 with major in Civil Engineering from UPI University. He was son of a French Communist who was executed during Stalin years. He himself was born in concentration camp for political prisoners. His friends liked him for his energy, good sense of humor and generally friendly open character. All people who knew him and went on camping trips with him, an incredible sense of care about all members of the group. He often helped younger or weaker members of the group to carry their things. He fixed their bags to reduce the pain and make more comfortable. Yuri Yudin (only survivor of the group who cut his trip short) mentioned that Nicolai helped him in his first serious trips into Siberian forest. Nicolai promised his mother that this would be his last hiking trip.
Semen "Alexander" Zolotarev (Семен "Александр" Золотарёв)- Semen Zolotarev was born in 1921 (February 2nd) in Udobnaya village of Krasnodar region in the South Russia. He was the oldest and also the most mysterious member of the Dyatlov group. A native of North Caucasian Kuban Cossacks he survived the Great Patriotic War serving from October 1941 till May 1946. Survival rate for generation born in 1921- 22 was 3% so Semen Zolotarev was very very lucky man. Additionally he received four medals including the Order of the Red Star, "For the Defense of Stalingrad", "For the capture of Konigsberg" (today Kaliningrad), "For the Victory over Germany".
Below is an official document stating one of his feats for which he was awarded government award (Order of the Red Star).
Sergeant S. (! Semen) Zolotarev crossed the river along with his nine men during the night from 21 to 22 April 1945 on a pantone raft. As he was crossing his raft was targeted by artillery and mortar fire from the side of the enemy.
One he got to the other side he managed to construct a ferry for transport of more troops. Enemy zeroed on the group with mortar fire and machine gun fire. One of his soldiers was wounded and Zolotarev took his place in an attempt to secure the ferry. His fearless example inspired other troops to complete the task as soon as possible. One of the piece of destroyed ferry laid about 300 meters from the group landing. Zolotarev left security of the landing site at the river and ventured into a deep swamp to retrieve it. Another of his men (private Korneev) followed him with out his order and helped his commanding officer to retrieve necessary piece of the ferry from the swamp.
The task was completed and ferry started to operate. Badly needed ammunition and tanks were transported across the river on the other bank of the river.
For the skilful and brave command of his unit, for the bravery and courage that he showed in a combat mission Sergeant Zolotarev was awarded government medals.
One of the most strange aspects of this man is his unexplained choice of introducing himself under a fake name. His real name was Semen while everyone called him "Sasha" or "Alexander". There is no credible evidence of why he chose to introduce himself by a different name. It is known that he joined a Communist party after the war. In April 1946 Zolotarev transferred to Leningrad Military Engineering University. Later he transferred to Mink Institute of Physical Education (GIFKB). In the yearly 50's he worked as a guide for tourist base of "Artybash" in Altai in South Siberia.
Although his carrier might seem usual it is hard to explain certain points in his biography. He could have stayed in the army, but left it. He could have stayed and work as a tourist guide at one tourist base and yet he moves across the country repeatedly without explanation. Additionally being a Cossack from the South it is highly unusual that he never got married, never had any kids and had numerous strange tattoos that he hid under his clothing. These tattoos included his birth year "1921", a military slogan as well as letter Г+С+П=Д. The last was common among Soviet soldiers who served together for a long time. Russian letter "Д" stands for "дружба" or "friendship". Three letters were first letters of the three soldiers. "С" stood for "Семен" or "Semen" in Russian. Others two names are unknown. We can only make guesses. Ironically he was supposed to celebrate his 38th birth day on February 2nd. This also becomes the date of his death.
On the left picture Semen Zolotarev with his friend during World War II, right picture Zolotarev with his parents.
Yuri Yudin (Юрий Юдин)- Yuri was born in 1937 (June 19th). He was a 4th year student of UPI. Yuri left the expedition before the tragedy struck due to medical reasons. His back that he previously hurt during another hiking trail started to cause pain again. He passed away on April 27th, 2013. He was buried on May 4th at the Michailovskoe Cemetery along with his seven friends.
Haunted, abandoned and weird travel destinations in Europe
Dyatlov Group Diary (discovered on Dyatlov Pass)
(You can see more pictures from the last trip to Dyatlov Pass)
Original diary of the Dyatlov group was discovered in the tent that was left in Dyatlov Pass. We kept it as it was in the original form. You can make a psychological portrait of the people who wrote it. It is short and some of its sentences apparently made short on purpose to keep to the point. We didn't add anything. The sentences and events behind them apparently meant more for the people who were describing them. They did not see much point in writing out the whole experience. Just few words to remember.
January 23, 1959
Now we are sitting in the room 531, or rather of course do not sit, but rather frantically shoving into backpacks any oatmeal, cans, canned meat. Zavchoz (head of provision distribution) stands and makes sure everything is included. Where are my felt boots? Y.K (Yuri Krivonischenko) Can we play mandolin on the train? Of course! We forgot the salt! 3kg (kilograms) Igor! Where are you? Where is Doroshenko? Why did he take 20 packs? Give me 15 kopecks. Spring balance, spring balance. Where is spring balance. Can't fit it. Damn. Who has the knife? Yura drove it to the station. Slave Khalizov has arrived. Hallo, Hallo! Luda is counting the money. The room is an artistic mess. And here we are on the train. We sang all the songs that we know, learned new ones, everyone goes to sleep at 3 (am). I wonder what awaits us in this trip? What will be new? The boys solemnly swore not to smoke the entire trip. I wonder how much they have will power, if they can get by without cigarettes? Everyone is sleeping and Ural taiga is spread in all directions.
(23 January- The group leaves Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg today))
(7am) We arrived in Serov (town). We traveled with a group of Blinov. They have... things for hunting and other accessories. At the station we were met with "hospitality". They didn't allow us into the building. The policeman stares at us suspiciously. There is no crime or violation, as under communism. Yuri Krivonischenko started to sing a song and a cop grabbed him and took him away. Sergeant explained that the rules of Section 3 prohibited all activity that would disturb the peace of passengers. It is perhaps the only train station where the songs are forbidden. Finally everything is settled with the law. Going to Ivdel from Serov at 6:30pm. We were welcomed warmly in school near the railway station. Zavchos, who is also a janitor, heated water for us, gave us everything she could to help us during our track. We are free all day. I wanted to go to the city, visit nature museum or take a trip to a factory, but too much time is taken by distribution of equipment and training. 12:00pm In the interval between 1st and 2nd shifts in school we organized a meeting with the students. Small room is cramped with all the kids that are curious. Zolotarev: "Kids, now we'll tell you... Tourism is, makes it possible to..." Everyone is sitting, quiet, worried. Z. Kolmogorova: Tra- ta- ta- ta. What's your name? Where were you before? And she went on and on. There was no end of questions toward Zina. We had to explain every detail to the kids, from torches to setting up tents. We spent 2 hours lecturing and kids did not want to let us go. They sang songs to each other. At the station we saw the whole school. In the end, when we were leaving, the kids yelled and cried, asking Zina to remain with them. They promised to listen to her and study well. On a train station some young alcoholic accused us of stealing his wallet from a pocket. For the second time the police is on the scene. Debate- talk about love thanks to provocation by Z. Kolmogorova. Songs, revision, Dubinina under the seat, garlic bread without water and we arrived in Ivdel around 12am. Large waiting room. Total freedom of action. Took turns all night to keep stuff safe. Bus to Vijay leaves early in the morning.
(Night of 25th January- the Dyatlov Group arrives in Ivdel that is located 340 km North of starting point)
We slept in so- called hotel. Two people per bed. Sasha K. (Alexander Kolevatov) and Krivoy (Yuri Krivonischenko) slept on the floor between beds. Woke up at 9am. Everyone sleep well despite the fact we did not completely close the small window and room got a bit cold. Outside temperature is -17C. We did not boil in the morning, wood is moist, in the evening it took us 6 hours to boil water. Went to lunch in the dining room. Had some goulash and tea. Then they served tea Igor Dyatlov spoke with a smile: "If the tea is cold, then go out and drink it on the street, it will be hot". The original though. Agreed to go to 41 by car. We left only at 13:10 (1:10pm). Froze while riding on top of GAZ- 63. While traveling sang songs, discussed various topics, including love, friendship and problems of cure for cancer. 41st settlement they met us friendly, gave us a private room in the hostel. Talked with the local workers. I remembered particularly the red- bearded man. The Beard as his friends call him. Ognev, old friend, described by Lyuba Dubinina in her private diary. Cooked lunch, then ate and now resting. Half of the group is watching movie, another is sitting on backpacks doing their things. Rustik (Rustem Slobodin) is playing his mandolin, while talking with Nicky, and I am going to deal with adjusting the equipment.
(26th January- Dyatlov group leaves Ivdel and get a ride with GAZ 63 to the 41st Kvartal (Quarter))
I can't. although I tried.
The weather is good, the wind is blowing in the back. Guys agreed wit the locals and horse with drive us to Second Severniy settlement. From 41st settlement it will be about 24 km. We helped grandfather Slava to unload hay from a carriage and waited for the horse (she went to get more hay and wood). We waited until 4:00. Boys started rewriting some song. One guy san beautifully. We heard a number of illegal prison songs (Article 58 counter- revolutionary crimes). Ognev told Igor how to find the house in which we can spend the night. We bought four loaves of bread and went there at 4:00. Soft warm bread. Ate 2 pieces. Horse is slow. What a pleasure to go without backpacks. We covered 8 km in 2 hours. (River Ushma). It gets darker. All the delay due to a horse. Yuri Yudin is riding with us. He suddenly fell ill and he can't continue with the track. He wants to gather few local minerals for the University and return. Second Severniy (Northern) is an abandoned village of geologists with total of 2025 houses. Only one is suitable for living. In complete darkness we found a village and the house. We started a fire. Several people pierced their hands with old nails. Everything is good. Then the horse came. We were talking and throwing jokes till 3 o'clock in the morning.
(27th January- Dyatlov group leaves Vizhay and set on a trip to Mount Otorten. The man in the carriage is a former inmate. His name is Velikyavichus (Великявичус) and he is Lithuanian. He got 10 years sentence and was exiled here in 1949. Lithiania along with Latvia and Estonia was annexed by Stalin in 1940. Many people from these Baltic states were exiled to Siberia. His sentence was traditional: Anti- Soviet activity. Regardless whether he was actually in a anti- soviet resistance or simply was unlucky, let's not forget that after amnesty for political prisoners by Beria in 1953 and Kruschtev of 1956 these lands were full of former inmates. Of course they were few people who simply excaped the camp and didn't want to move back to their former homes because there they had highter chances of getting caught by the Secret Police.)
We were awaken by Yurka Kri and Sasha Kolevatov. Weather is perfect. It is only -8C outside. After breakfast, some of the guys headed by Yury Yudin, our well- known geologist, went to look for local minerals. They didn't find anything except pyrite and quartz veins in the rock. Spend some time with skiis, fixed and adjusted the mounting. Yuri Yudin now goes back home. It is a pity, of course, that he leaves us. Especially for me and Zina, but nothing can be done about it.
(28th January- Yuri Yudin departs from a Second Severniy (Northern) village. In his later interview Yudin mentioned an interesting dialogue between Dyatlov and one of the locals. He didn't hear the whole conversation, but he got a general idea that the local man warned him about something mysterious. Igor Dyatlov simply brushed off the warning, but it seemed that he was pissed off. When Yura Yudin approached him and asked about the conversation, Dyatlov simply answered that they will decide which path to take once they will get to river. Now Dyatlov never changed his plans and he obviously did not believe in supernatural superstitions. However he knew enough that legends and beliefs usually start in misunderstood events. He didn't want to take the warning seriously, but the fact that he could compromise with the path that he drew weeks before the trip might suggest that the locals did see something strange around mount Kholat Syakhl. We might guess, but some of the later events might hold a clue on what the warning was all about. Regardless Yudin was sent home with Velikyavichus. Before his departure Dyatlov told him that the return will most likely be postponed from original 12th of February to 14th of February
Few picture of the village are below. Another depressing abandoned place on the vast stretches of Siberia. It was part of GULAG system of settlements and concentration camps set up by Joseph Stalin. However after 1956 when Khrushchev denounced Stalin as a tyrant, many political prisoners were released. Many settlements that were part of prison system were subsequently abandoned. Some of the houses ("izba" in Russian) are abandoned and began to fall apart.)
We go up the river Lozva. We take turns to head the group for about 10 minutes. Depth of snow cover is significantly less than last year. Often we have to stop and scrape the wet, melting snow from skis. Yurka Kri is behind and makes sketches of the route. We pass few cliffs on the right bank of Lozva river. Overall the terrain becomes flatter. We stop at 5:30pm. Today we spend our first night in the tent. The guys are busy with the stove. With some thing completed and others not, we sit for a dinner. After dinner we sit around the campfire and sing beautiful songs. Zina even tries to learn how to play mandolin under guidance of our musician Rustik (Rustem Slobodin). Then again and again we resume our discussions, mostly about love. Someone comes up with an idea that we need a special notebook for ideas that we might come up with. Once we are done we are making our way inside the tent. No body wants to sleep by the stove and we agree that Yurka Kri will sleep there. Yuri moves to the second compartment with terrible cursing and accusation that we betrayed him. We can't fall asleep for awhile and arguing about something.
Second day of our trip. We made our way from Lozvy river to river Auspii. We walked along a Mansi (native Siberian tribe in the Urals) trail. The weather is -13°C. The wind is weak. We often find ice on the Lozvy river. That is it.
January 30, 1959
Diary is written on the cold on the go. Today is a third cold night on the shore of Auspii river. The stove does a great job. Some (Thibaut and Krivonischenko) think we need to construct steam heat in the ten. The curtains hung in the tent are quiet justified. We get up at 8:30am. After breakfast we walk along the Auspii river, but again these ice dams do not allow us to move forward. Let's go to the shore of the sledge- deer trail. In the middle of the road the discovered markings left by the Mansi (below left photo, these markings simply tell how many local hunters passed through this area and the family clan to which they belong). Mansi, Mansi, Mansi. This words is repeated more often in our conversations. Mansi are people of the north. Very interesting and unique people that inhabit the North Polar Urals, closed to the Tyumen region. They have a written language and leave characteristic signs on forest trees.
Dyatlov Group's tent with a stove sticking out from one side
Weather: temperature in the morning is between -17 °C and -13°C during the day and -26°C at night. The wind is strong, south- west and snow begins to fall. The clouds are think. The temperature characteristic of the Northern Urals. Mansi signs tell about animals they saw, resting stops and other things. It is particularly interesting to solve its meaning for the tourists as well as historians. Deer trail is over. The forest gradually thins out and gets shorter. Lots of dwarf birches and pines. It is impossible to walk on the river. It is not frozen. We have to look for solid ground. Day wore on and we started to look for a place for bivouac. That's the stop for the night. Strong west wind. It knocks the snows off the cedar and pine trees, creating the impression of the falling snow. As always we start a fire and put a tent on the spruce branches. We are warmed by the fire and go to sleep.
January 31, 1959
Today the weather is a bit worse than the wind (west), snow (probably from pines) because the sky is perfectly clear. Came out relatively early (around 10am). Took the same beaten Mansi trail. So far we walked along the Mansi trail, which was passed by a deer hunter not long ago. We met his resting stop yesterday, apparently. Today was surprisingly good accommodations for the tent, air is warm and dry, despite the low temperature of -18C to -24C. The walking is especially hard today. Visibility is very low. We walk for 1.52 km (1 mile) per hour. We are forced to find new methods of clearing the path for the skis. The first member leaves his bag on the ground and walks forward, then he returns, rests for 10- 15 minutes with the group Thus we have a non- stop paving of the trail. It is especially hard for the second to move down the new trail with full gear on the back. We gradually leave the Auspii valley, the rise is continuous, but quiet smooth. We spend a night at the forest boundary. Wind is western, warm, penetrating. Snow- free spaces. We can't leave any of our provision to ease the ascend to the mountains. About 4pm. We must choose the place for the tent. Wind, some snow. Snow cover is 1.22 meters thick. Tired and exhausted we started to prepare the platform for the tent. Firewood is not enough. We didn't dig a hole for a fire. Too tired for that. We had supper right in the tent. It is hard to imagine such a comfort somewhere on the ridge, with a piercing wind, hundreds kilometers away from human settlements.
Igor Dyatlov (last record in the diary)
(31st January- Dyatlov group leaves some of their gear in a forest on a platform set high above ground (known as "labaz" or camp base).)
(1st February- The group leaves on the last day of their trip. They start out fairly late and walk for only 2.5 miles. They set a tent around 5pm on a slope of Kholat Syakhl Dyatlov Pass just 10 miles from the Mount Otorten. They eat their last dinner between 6- 7pm. Subsequent investigation showed that one or two of the members left the tent to urinate outside of the tent. Since Semen Zolotarev and Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle were better dressed it was suggested that it was the two men who left their shelter before Something happened.
The group passed Dyatlov Pass and set a camp on a slope of Kholat Syakhl on February 1st. The temperature on Kholat Syakhl mountain plummeted to -30 °C (-22 °F). Strong winds and low visibility in the pass did not make job of the tourists any easier. There is still great deal of speculations that this decision. Yury Yudin, who was the only only survivor of Dyatlov Pass Incident, explained this strange choice for camping site in his own way. 'Dyatov probably did not want to lose the altitude they had gained, or he decided to practice camping on the mountain slope'.)
From the official investigation documents
In one of the cameras kept a photo frame (made by the latter), which shows the time of the excavation of snow for tent set up. Given that this shot was taken with a shutter speed of 1/25 second at an aperture of 5.6, with a sensitivity of 65 units of GOST film, as well as taking into account the density of the frame, it can be assumed that the installation tents began about 5:00 pm, the 01/02/1959 . A similar picture was taken with another camera. After this time, no record and no snapshot was detected.
Last Pictures made in Dyatlov Pass
These are the last pictures of Dyatlov group made on February 1st, 1959 as they crossed Dyatlov Pass. Records show that the sun set behind horizon at 5:02pm on this date. Pictures were made just before the night descended on the mountain. Judging by photos they are well equipped by 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 incident. Hypothermia and confusion can set it much quicker in these conditions. Disorientation on familiar terrain can happen very quickly and might result in death of a an unlucky victim. Nevertheless Igor Dyatlov and his group set up a tent on a empty slope of the Kholat Syakhl mountain. Some members of search party testified that there was no firewood present. 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.
Last Picture of Dyatlov Group
This picture puzzles many people. This is the last picture that was made by the camera of the Dyatlov group. Some say someone from the search party accidentally snapped a picture after the tent was discovered. Others claim it was damaged by officials after the camera was retrieved from the mountain, either by accident or on purpose. The last image made by tourists that tragic evening or night is also a subject of discussions. Its faint borders and unclear objects make it impossible to determine what was really pictured. Some see a man with raised hands and something flashing or burning in the background. Other see entrance of the tent from the inside. Many explanations have surfaced. There is no agreement on it nature though.
This things turned bad when something forced them to abandon their tent on the Dyatlov Pass. Tourists had little or no foot wear even though they always carried two sets of shoes for hiking and one set for sleeping inside the tent. Dyatlov Group tourists descended straight down the mountain slope and reached a cedar at the boundary of the forest. Two men stayed behind and tried keep the fire going. The rest of the group descended even further and constructed a den. Once they returned to the cedar they discovered that the two men dead of hypothermia. Bodies of both men were covered in strange bruises and injuries. Survivors took off clothes of their dead friends, including those that were stained with radiation.
Three tourists (Dyatlov, Slobodin, Kolmogorova) decided to return to the tent, but fell from exhaustion and coldness. The other four returned to the tent where they have met their end. Their ribs were broken, skull of one of the man was broken, eyes were removed in some of the bodies. Additionally one of the women had her tongue missing. Search party that discovered bodies and a tent discovered a tent cut from inside and filled with food, warm clothes and anything that could have saved lives of young men and women. To this day the death of Dyatlov group remains a mystery. Additional strange circumstances that surrounded the case made the death of tourists even creepier.
They disappeared and only several weeks later their bodies were recovered by a search party. Their deaths was classified as unknown. Natural factors were blamed, but to this day we don't have a single concrete answer that explained all evidence discovered on a Dyatlov Pass. Nameless pass to the mountain was named Dyatlov Pass and the whole tragedy became known as Dyatlov Pass Incident (or Dyatlov Pass Accident depending on a view). To this day it remains one of the most famous unsolved mysteries. We have included photos, diary, official autopsy of the Russian tourists as well as major theories for explanation of this event. You can add your own theory of the Dyatlov Pass Incident if you'd like.
Today you can get to Dyatlov Pass by foot, helicopter and even a car.
Discoveries in the Dyatlov Pass
Participants of the search
Boris E. Slobcov Michael P. Sharavin Vadim D. Brusnicin Moses Akselrod Eugene P. Maslenikov
Lev Nikitich Ivanov Georgy S. Ortykov
Initially the officials were hesitant to sound an alarm about tourists disappearances in the Dyatlov Pass when they missed their day they were supposed to call. from Vizhay Group of Blinov that was mentioned in the Dyatlov diary on January 24th returned in the middle of February and reported a heavy snowstorm in the area of the Kholat Syakhl and future Dyatlov Pass. In light of this information it was assumed that tourists are spending these extra days somewhere in the safety near Dyatlov Pass. Risking lives to make extra miles do get back at the due date made no sense. Head of sport club of UPI, Lev Semenovich Gordo, even lied about receiving a telegram from Dyatlov about the delay to calm parents of Dubinina and Kolevatov. He assumed that in few days the group of Igor Dyatlov is going to make it anyway. Relatives eventually forced to organize a search party by complaining to the local head of the Communist party. Negative publicity was unwanted and actions had to be taken. The head of the military department of UPI, Colonel Georgy Semenovich Ortyukov, took charge of search and rescue party. Many of students volunteered to find look for their lost friends. Several rescue parties were sent to the region on 21st of February. One of these groups were headed by Blinov and another Sogrin. Both groups just returned from their trips and knew the conditions of the region. Another group of Vladislav Karelin was in the area and joined the search effort. Planes took off from Ivdel airport to search for the group from the air.
On February 22nd several prison guards from the IvdelLAG under leadership of captain A.A. Chernischev and another 7 officers of MVD (cops) under command of leutenant Potapov have joined the search in the Dyatlov Pass. Another three groups were formed in UPI from student volunteers under leadership of Oleg Grebennik, Moises Akselrod and Boris Slobcov. Additionally local mansi hunters volunteered to help and look for the vanished group. Moscow sent several specialists including E.P. Maslenikov, Baskin, Bardin and Schulzhenko.
On February 23rd group of Boris Slobcov was dropped near mount Otorten, a final destination for Dyatlov. The next day on February 24th they reached the mountain and came to conclusion that tourists never made it this far. Students did not find any records, flags or anything else that would indicate recent visit of a group.
On February 25th Boris Slobcov and his group finally discovered the trail of skis that he assumed to be that of Dyatlov. The next day on February 26th they discovered the tent on the slope of Kholat Syakhl in the Dyatlov Pass. Ironically Slobcov was among those who actually helped to construct the tent three years earlier from two tents, making it longer and larger. He recognized it immediately. Unfortunately no one expected to find the tourists dead so there was no attempt to preserve or record the footprints of people around the Dyatlov Pass. To this day there has been a discussion of exactly how many people were in this pass on that fateful day. However judging by words of the people involved in the search and who took the lower right picture there were definitely 8- 9 tracks of footprints left by tourists who wore almost no footwear. Their feet pressed the snow and this left a characteristic "columns" of pressed snow with a footprint on top. Members of the group walked in a single file with a tall men walking in the back. His footprints partially covered footprints of his friends who walked in front of him. Overall the path gave an impression of organized and uneventful descent down the slope of the mountain. Several trails would deviate from the general direction, but then rejoin the group. Other footprints were also discovered and photographed. It is hard to say if these were left by someone else or rescuers themselves.
The first thing that the rescue party discovered was a tourist tent with the stove that the Dyatlov made by himself. For reasons that are were never answered, the sides of the tent were cut 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 Boris Slobcov discovered a flash light of Chinese production on the roof of the tent. It laid on a snow cover 5-10 cm in thickness and had no snow on top. He turned on the flashlight. It was in working condition.
Dyatlov group Tent
Official protocol report on the Tent from the Dyatlov group
Tent site is located on the North- eastern slope of mountain 1079 (Kholat Syakhl official term) meters at the mouth of river Auspiya. Tent site is located 300 meters from the top of the mountain 1079 with a slope of 30 °. Test site consists of a pad, levelled by snow, the bottom of which are contains 8 pairs of skis (for tent support and insulation). Tent is stretched on poles and fixed with ropes. On the bottom of the tent 9 backpacks were discovered with various personal items, jackets, rain coats, 9 pairs of shoes. There were also found men's pants, and three pairs of boots, warm fur coats, socks, hat, ski caps, utensils, buckets, stove, ax, saw, blankets, food: biscuits in two bags, condensed milk, sugar, concentrates, notebooks, itinerary and many other small items and documents, camera and accessories to a camera.
The nature and form of all (...) lesions suggest that they were formed by contact with the canvas inside of the tent with the blade of some weapon (presumably a knife).
Students retrieved three photo cameras from the tent, group diary, some alcohol and few minor things. They hurried down the mountain to the campsite that was already established at the base of the mountain. Several mansi natives joined the group. Additionally Egor Semenovich Nevolin, a radioman, joined the search party. At 6pm they radioed back about their discovery on the last campsite of the Dyatlov group. UPI informed them that a large search group with will be delivered by a helicopter to their location. They would also deliver two large military tents for better comfort and security. A detective would join the search and rescue effort with Colonel Ortyukov as well.
Several members started cooking dinner while every one else attempted to find clues about the direction of future searches. They found 710 rubles and railroad tickets for the whole group. Most took this as a sign of a good omen. They assumed that criminals were not involved since they would steal everything of value. During dinner Boris Slobcov raised a toast for the health of his friends and expressed hope that they will be found soon. One of the locals, Ivan Paschin, was less optimistic about prospects of finding everyone alive and suggested that they should probably drink for the dead rather than the living. It was a big mistake. Students took these words as offensive and almost beat up the local for his pessimism. Still no one could believe in the possibility that that group of young women and men can simply perish like that in Siberian Taiga.
27th February- The next morning Yury Koptelov and Michael Scharavin went to look for a new place for a campsite. They explored the valley of the Lozva river when a tall cedar attracted their attention. A fairly even and large area near this cedar could provide the search party a better view of the mountain and surrounding locations. Both men approached the cedar and stopped. Two bodies lay in the snow and remains of the fire were visible near by. Bodies were carefully laid side by side. Snow wasn't very deep in this location due to constant blow of the wind so it became very clear that they found two bodies of the missing group. The first thing that stroke the searching group was the cloths of the dead. They had no shoes and were almost completely naked. Some theories later will blame this on "paradoxical undressing", but we will see later that it had nothing to do with the mental condition of the tourists. Prosecutor of Ivdel, Vasily Ivanovich Tempalov, discovered another body just 400 meters from the cedar. The body of a man laid on the back with his head pointing in the direction of the tent. Students quickly recognized Igor Dyatlov, the head of the group. Mansi hunters with their dogs started to explore the mountain side and quickly discovered the body of Kholmogorova about 500 meters from Dyatlov. The position of her body pointed in the direction of the tent. Dyatlov and Kholmogorova bodies were on the same line between cedar and a tent. It became evident that both tourists actually tried to make way from the tall cedar back to the tent, but didn't make it all the way.
Two Bodies under Cedar under Dyatlov Pass. Still unidentified
Bodies of Yuri Krivonishenko and Yuri Doroshenko on the left. On the right are remains of the extinguished fire and a cedar that according to some tourists is still there. Although it is hard to find the exact location today.
Igor Dyatlov (as he was found on the left and cleared snow on the right) climbing Dyatlov Pass
Zina Kholmogorova made it farthest to the tent
Meanwhile the contents of the tent from the Dyatlov group were removed. This happened chaotically, without any order, photos or even presence of anyone from the law. Students simply removed the objects and attempted to organize belongings by name. We can understand their honest desire to return these things to families of the dead, however in doing so they undermined any research in this area. We have only few testimonies from the people who undertook these actions. Some of them were conflicting and thus more confusing. They discovered that the group was apparently was about to have their dinner. A self made newspaper "Evening Otorten" was also found here. The date was marked as 1st February 1959. One of the unusual and unexpected findings was a skiing pole that with clear cutting marks. Tourists didn't have any extra poles. It is unclear why someone in the right mind would damage the pole on purpose. Among other things tourists also left their footwear. Many had two pairs, one for the actual hike and another, softer one, were used in the tent to keep warm at night. Both pairs were found abandoned. This could be explained that whatever forced them out of the tent came in the time then everyone was changing and preparing for a sleep. Additionally the tent contained several knives and hatchets. These were abandoned too for some reason, although some tourists had knives with them when they left.
Next week of search did not yield any results. Only thing that was found was another Chinese flash light in the valley of Lozva valley. The batteries were dead, but the flash light was in "on" position. On March 2nd three students and two Mansi hunters discovered a camp base in the Auspiya valley. Tourists left some of their food provision and gear to lighten the load (55 kg in total). Additionally there were mandolin of Rustem Slobodin, few clothes, ski shoes and a pair of skis. On the way back tourists intended to retrieve these things. None of these things were taken however.
On March 3rd many of the students left Dyatlov Pass to return home, since they had to return to their studies. Moscow specialists also left. Their report is somewhat short and inconclusive. They could not explain the reason why would several normal people would abandon the tent in the middle of the night without shoes and little protection from the wind.
Left: digging around the tent, Dyatlov Pass at the background Right: Michael Sharavin (left), Vladimir Strelnikov, Boris Slobcov, Vyacheslav Chalizov (right holding a map) Photo by V. Brusnicin (25th February 1959)
On March 5th the body of Rustem Slobodin was recovered at the Dyatlov Pass. He was discovered on the same general line from a cedar to a tent. His position was in between bodies of Dyatlov (180 meters away) and Kholmogorova (150 meters). He was the only member of the group that fell while fairly warm. The head from his body melted the snow that subsequently froze forming a frozen bed underneath the dead body. His watches recorded 8:45.
The cedar had its lower branches cut. Later inspection showed that part of human skin and blood was still lodged in the bark crevices. Bodies of both tourists were laying side by side near an extinguished fire. Part of their clothes were carefully cut off. Pants of Yuri Krivonishenko were left in place. They showed certain degree of radioactivity. On March 31 the group of search and rescue volunteers saw strange glowing pulsating orbs in the sky. One of the members, Valentin Yakimenko, described this event. "It happened early in the morning while it was still dark. Viktor Mescheryakov who stood guard that night left the tent and saw a large glowing sphere in the sky. He woke up everyone. We watched this orb (or a disk) for about 20 minutes until it didn't disappear behind the mountain. We saw it in the South- East direction from our tent. It was moving in the Northern direction. This event freaked everyone. We were sure that this event was somehow involved in the death of the Dyatlov group".
Meanwhile the search for remaining four bodies continued. Few search party participants held much optimism about their fate. Several scientists came to the slopes of the Kholat Syakhl with a Geiger counter. Since Krivonischenko had his clothes missing it was assumed that his sweater along with this pants were contaminated with radiation. Looking for a source of radiation could theoretically help them discover remaining bodies. However the question remains who could have tipped them off about possible presence of radiation at the Dyatlov Pass. Unfortunately it wasn't until May of the same year when last four bodies were discovered. The discovery raised more questions about the fate of the tourist group. Last remaining skiers managed to dig a den in the snow to keep themselves warm. These bodies had broken ribs, broken skull and in case of Lyudmila Dubinina a missing tongue. They were better dressed than the rest of the group and their deaths were clearly not caused by a hypothermia.
Judging by the type of helicopters and their markings there were at least three machines involved in search and rescue efforts at the Dyatlov Pass. This included at least one civilian (bottom left picture) and at least two military helicopters. Soviet Union rarely showed so much dedication in search of common tourists. Some explain this care as ties to KGB of one or more members from the Dyatlov group. However another explanation might lie in the fact that climb of Mount Otorten was devoted to Communist Congress in Moscow. Obviously it had certain degree of political motivation for the officials to spare no costs in searches.
Findings in the Dyatlov Pass Incident
Judging by the remains near the bodies it was concluded that young men and women managed to start a fire, but failed to sustain it for extended period of time. However no one could explain why bodies showed so many fractures, internal bleeding, burned parts of the body. Another perplexity and mystery were added by a fact that the sweater and pants of Krivonischenko showed increased radiation levels. First of all it is perplexing why clothes of only one man would be affected, while the rest of the group would not. Another mystery consists in the fact that officials insisted on checking for radiation. There was no real reason for that. And that seems that they knew what they were looking for. After the body of Krivonischenko and his four friends were discovered it became clear that someone had Krivonischenko's radioactive clothes. So several scientists were sent to the slopes of Kholat Syakhl with a Geiger counter in hopes that they will discover bodies of those tourists who retrieved the sweater and pants from the the dead Krivonischenko. Presence of radiation and incredible knowledge about this radiation is something that no one could explain fifty years ago and to this day remains a mystery. Several witnesses and family members reported strange discoloration on the bodies of the victims. One of the family members compared their skin color to those of the people of African descent. Additionally the group was missing at least one camera and a diary of Kolevatov. Yury Yudin testifies that he led a detailed description in his own blog in addition to the diary that was a group diary. It went missing either on the mountain or from evidence room. Either way no one remembered seeing it.
Den below Dyatlov Pass
The den was made by surviving four members of the Dyatlov group 70- 75 meters from the cedar in a ravine that was hidden from cold winds. It was probably an idea of Zolotarev. It was a common way to survive winters at the front and given the circumstances it offered the best chance for survival for those who remained behind waiting in hope that their three friends will make it to the top of the mountain. It further undermines the theory of paradox undressing. The group clearly realized their threats and did everything they could to preserve themselves. Cedar branches were brought here and laid out to minimize contact of human bodies and cold snow underneath. Furthermore Ludmila Dubinina had sweater and pants of Krivonischenko. Both as it turned out had radiation present on them. However the strangeness of the case was not resolved. In fact it became more weird. All, but three members had significant damage to their bones. They were crushed with immense force. Doctors compared the extend of the damage to being hit by a car. A second thing that is striking about the den is that bodies were actually found few feet from their improvised shelter in the deep part of the ravine on the area of only 4 square meters. Some of the clothes that were taken from bodies left underneath the cedar tree were placed on the cedar branches, but apparently they were not used.
Dyatlov Pass Den Photos (Graphic!)
Medical Autopsy of the bodies discovered in Dyatlov Pass
Autopsy of first four bodies (Doroshenko, Krivonischenko, Dyatlov, Kholmogorova) was performed in a village of Vizhai on March 4th, 1959 by Boris Alekseevich Vozrojdenniy (ironically his last name means "reborn" in Russian, interesting choice of profession). He recorded damages and clothing that the victims wore at the time of their discovery. Autopsy of Rustem Slobodin who was found on the 5th of March was performed on 8th of March.
Theories and explanations of Dyatlov Pass Incident
Several theories arose in the last decades concerning the case of Dyatlov Pass Incident.
P.S. Burial of victims in the Dyatlov Pass Incident
Films and Media (Source www.wikipedia.org)
The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass Тайна перевала Дятлова: 2000, TAU (Ural Television Agency) (ТАУ - Телевизионное Агентство Урала, 2000г.)
The September 9, 2011 episode of Ancient Aliens (Season 3, Episode 10: "Aliens and Evil Places") from the History Channel deals with the incident.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident, a film directed by Renny Harlin, was released on February 28, 2013
The incident was also covered in the August 25, 2012 episode of Dark Matters: Twisted But True in the segment entitled "Cold War, Cold Case"
The incident figures prominently in the 2012 novel City of Exiles by Alec Nevala-Lee.
The incident was featured on a Russian reality television show "Pust Govoryat" during a two hour special in April 2013