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Dyatlov Pass Incident is a dramatic and mysterious story that unfolded in Sverdlovsk Oblast of USSR in 1959 on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl mountain. Nine experienced young men and women set up to conquer Otorten in the Ural mountains (geographic border between Europe and Asia). Their trail laid along future Dyatlov Pass that was part of the Kholat Syakhl mountain. 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.
Mount Kholat Syakhl gets its name from the local language of the Mansi Siberian Natives. Literally it means the Mountain of the Dead. According to the legend 9 Mansi hunters stayed here over night during their hunting trip. The next morning all nine were found dead by their friends. None of them showed any signs of violent death. Thus the mountain became regarded as haunted. Local native tribes avoided the peak and never ventured here. 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 die here. The cause of death often escapes rational explanation. Mysterious number nine seems to haunt tourists, geologists and all those who dared to visit this place. The most famous accident happened here in 1959 then nine young men and women under leadership of Igor Dyatlov died under strange circumstances.
Location: Sverdlovsk Oblast Map
Known for: Dyatlov Pass Incident
By popular demand this page was added to provide pictures and documentation pertaining to the Igor Dyatlov Group Incident
Haunted and Weird
Originally Igor Dyatlov, the leader of the group led a team of 10 people. However one of them, Yury Yudin, got sick and turned back in a small settlement of Vizhai before reaching Dyatlov Pass. This left nine skiers who continue their track. The group passed Dyatlov Pass and set a camp on a slope of Kholat Syakhl on February 1st when something forced them to abandon their tent. Tourists had little or no footwear even though they always carried two sets for the hike and for tent. They 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. The pass to Mount Kholat Syakhl became known as Dyatlov Pass after their leader Igor Dyatlov. Today you can get to Dyatlov Pass by foot, helicopter and even a car.
The story of Dyatlov Pass Incident starts in January 1959 in Sverdlovsk that is currently known as Ekaterinburg. Several students from Ural Polytechnical Institute (Уральский Политехнический Институт, УПИ) currently known as Ural State Technical Institute intended to climb Mount Otorten (Отортен). In Mansi language this name means "don't go there". The whole ski track was about 350 km in length and was performed to commemorate 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The group of Dyatlov initially consisted of 10 people. However one of them, Yuriy Udin, got sick so he was not capable to do the climb. Yuriy stayed in the base camp. Thus only nine people started the accent to the mountain Kholat Syakhl through a nameless pass that later will become known as a Dyatlov Pass. Toward the end of same February group failed to communicate. A rescue party made up from local authorities as well as student volunteers repeated the path taken by the group and found the last base of the tourists including 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.
Left Picture: Lyudmila Dubinina, Yuri Krivonischenko, Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, Rustem Slobodin
Right Picture: Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, Lyudmila Dubinina, Semen "Alexander" Zolotarev, Zinaida Kolmogorova
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. 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)- born in 1937, she was 4th year student at UPI University at Radio Engineering Major. She was an experienced hiker 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.
Lyudmila Dubinina (Людмила Дубинина)- born in 1938 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)- born in 1934, 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)- born in 1936 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 Krivonischenko (Юрий Кривонищенко)- born in 1935 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)- Born in 1938 he 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.
Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle (Николай Тибо-Бриньоль)- born in 1934 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)- He was born in 1921. He was the oldest and also the most mysterious member of the 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 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 Univeristy. 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.
Yuri Yudin (Юрий Юдин)- born in 1937 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.
Original diary of the 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.
Culture Palace in Serov as the tourists saw it
(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 -13C. 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.
Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, Semen "Alexander" Zolotarev Igor Dyatlov
Dyatlov Group's tent with a stove sticking out from one side
Weather: temperature in the morning is between -17 C and -13C during the day and -26C 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.)
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 searchers 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.
This picture puzzles many people. This is the last picture that was made by the camera of the Dyatlov group. Some say someone accidentally snapped a picture after the tent was discovered. Others claim it was damaged. Some see a man with raised hands and something flashing or burning in the background. Many explanations have surfaced. There is no agreement on it nature though.
Dyatlov group Tent
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. 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 Otarten, 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.
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.
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.
Ludmila Dubinina on the left and bodies of Alexander Kolevatov and Nikolay Thibeaux-Brignolle
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.
Ortyukov is in military uniform and radio man is pictured here on the right in a stripped hat. Removal of the bodies from a ravine at Dyatlov Pass.
Dubinina and Thibeaux-Brignolle at Dyatlov Pass
Zolotarev and Kolevatov at Dyatlov Pass. Notice a photo camera around the neck of Zolotarev. Man abandoned his tent, but doesn't forget his camera. The film was damaged by water the question remains: "What was so important that he had capture on the slope of the mountain that day?"
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.
Yury Doroshenko is one of the two tourists that were found under a cedar at the Dyatlov Pass. He was most sturdy and tallest member of the group at a height of 180 cm. He was wearing a vest and a shirt, short sleeve shirt, knit pants and shorts over pants. His pants were badly ripped with one large hole (23 cm in length) on the right side and smaller on the left (13 cm in length). On his feet a pair of wool socks. Pants had tears inside of the thighs. Additionally the left foot had burnt socks (marked by 13). No footwear.
- hair are burned on the right side of the head (marked 1)
- ear, nose and lips are covered by blood (marked by 2)
- right armpit has a bruise 2cm*1.5 cm (3)
- inner surface of the right shoulder has two abrasions 2cm*1.5cm with no bleeding in the tissues, two cuts on the skin (5)
- in the upper third of right forearm brown- red bruises with size 4*1cm, 2.5*1.5cm, 5*5cm (6)
- fingers on both hands have torn skin (9 and 10)
- bruised skin in the upper third of both legs (11)
- signs of frostbite on face and ears
- on the right cheek, foamy gray fluid discharges from the mouth
Amount of urine was 150 grams. Foamy grey fluid that was found on the right cheek of the deceased gave some doctors a reason to think that before death someone or something was pressing on his chest cavity. Discharges were quiet common during forceful interrogation by the NKVD (Stalin's Secret Police) and Special Forces. This could also be a reason of a nasty fall from a tree. Nevertheless this aspect was ignored in the final papers. Cause of death: hypothermia.
His body was the second discovered underneath the cedar at the Dyatlov Pass. He was dressed in a shirt, long sleeved shirt, swimming pants, pants and torn sock on his left leg. He had no footwear.
- bruises on the forehead 0.3*1.8cm and a bruise around left temporal bone (1)
- diffuse bleeding in the right temporal and occipital region due to damage to temporalis muscle (2)
- tip of the nose is missing (3)
- frostbitten ears (4)
- bruises on the right side of the chest 7*2cm and 2*1.2cm (5)
- bruises on hands (6)
- detachment of the epidermis on the back of his left hand at width of 2cm (7)
- portion of the epidermis from the right hand is found in the mouth of the deceased
- bruises on the thighs (8-11) with minor scratches
- bruise on his left buttock 10*3cm (16)
- abrasions on the outer side of the left size 6*2cm and 4*5 cm (17-18)
- bruises on the left leg 2*1, 2*1.5 and 3*1.3 cm (19-21)
- burn on the left leg 10*4 cm (15)
The amount of urine in the bladder was 500 grams. Cause of death: hypothermia. He froze to death. The presence of skin between his teeth that was torn from his hands might suggest that Krivonischenko tried to stay on the cedar as long as he could. Some theories speculate it was a result of his dedication to cut as many tree branches as he could. Others claim something on the ground kept him on a tree.
The first two bodies of (Doroshenko and Krivonischenko) that were found from the Dyatlov Pass Incident showed an expected pattern of death. They froze to death. Their clothes were removed by their friends. It might sound bad, but this is the reality of Siberia. If you can't keep yourself warm, you will die quickly. One of the most common myths that surround these deaths is a theory of so- called "paradoxical undressing". This theory ignores the fact that the bodies were undressed after they died and it was done by other members with a help of a knife in some cases. Different articles of clothing were simply cut from the dead bodies or taken off and used by other members of a group. These tourists clearly showed logical will to live. There was no state of panic and there was no illogical actions. Bodies were carefully and respectfully laid side by side and their possessions were divide among the survivors.
Zinaida was better dressed than bodies underneath the cedar. She had two hats, long sleeved shirt, sweater, another shirt and a sweater with torn cuffs. It was unclear whether she cut them off or they were torn by another person. She also had trousers, cotton athletic pants, ski pants with three small holes on the bottom. She also had three pairs of socks. No footwear and a military mask.
- swelling of meninges (important feature of hypothermia)
- frostbites on the phalanges of fingers (2)
- numerous bruises on hands and palms (2 and 3)
- a long bruise that encircled her on the right side, 29* 6cm (1 and 4)
Amount of urine in bladder is 300 g. Her cause of death was proclaimed as a hypothermia due to violent accident. Further studies proved that she was not sexually active at the time of her death.
The head of the deceased was bare. He had unbuttoned fur coat with pockets, a sweater, long sleeved shirt, ski pants over his pants. Footwear was absent. He had only one pair of socks, woolen on the right, cotton on the left. It is hard to explain this uneven distribution. It could be that he had two socks on one foot and later took it off to protect the other bare foot. It might have been someone else's sock who simply gave it away to protect a friend from a certain death. He had a pocket knife and a photo of Zina Kolmogorova. The clock on the hand showed 5:31
- minor abrasions on the forehead (1)
- abrasions above the left eyebrow of brown- red color (2)
- brown- red abrasions on both cheeks (3)
- dried blood on lips
- lower jaw had a missing incisor, the mucosa was intact that suggest the tooth was lost long before the final trip
- on the lower third of the right forearm and the palm surface many small scratches of dark red coloration (4)
- metacarpophalangeal joints on the right hand had brown red bruises. This is common injury in hand to hand fights. To get a better idea of the injuries just make a fist. This is the part of the hand which you use to hit someone.
- brownish- purple bruises on the left hand, also superficial wounds on the 2nd and 5th finger (5)
- bruised knees without bleeding into the underlying tissues (6)
- on the lower third of the right leg bruising (7)
- both ankles had abrasions, bright red, size 1*0.5 cm and 3.0*2.5 cm. Hemorrhage into the underlying tissue (8)
There were no internal injuries. Amount of urine in the bladder about one liter. The cause of death was hypothermia. Later Yury Yudin will testify that the long sleeved shirt found on the body of Igor Dyatlov was his. But he gave it to Doroshenko then he was departing. It would be logical to assume that Dyatlov got it from a frozen body of the Doroshenko after he had died.
Rustem wore a long sleeve shirt, another shirt, sweater, two pairs of pants, four pairs of socks. Unlike previous bodies he wore one boot (valenki) on his right leg. His watches stopped at 8:45am. His pockets had 310 rubles and a passport. Additionally searchers discovered a knife, pen, pencil, comb and a match box with a single sock.
- minor brownish red abrasions on the forehead, two scratches are 1.5 cm long at the distance of 0.3 cm between them (1)
- brownish red bruise on the upper eyelid of the right eye with hemorrhage into the underlying tissues (2)
- traces of blood discharge from the nose (3)
- swollen lips
- swelling and a lot of small abrasions of irregular shape on the right half of the face (4)
- abrasions on the left side of the face (5)
- epidermis is torn from the right forearm (6)
- bruises in the metacarpophalangeal joints on both hands. Similar bruises are common in hand to hand combat (7)
- brown cherry bruises on the medial aspect of the left arm and left palm (8)
- bruises on the left tibia in dimensions at 2.5* 1.5 cm (9)
Fracture of the frontal bone and hemorrhages (shaded areas) in the temporalis muscle that were found on the skull of Rustem Slobodin. Boris Alekseevich Vozrojdenniy suggested that this could be done with some foreign blunt object. Medical autopsy further states that Slobodin probably suffered loss of coordination due to initial shock right after the blow that could speed up his death from hypothermia. However the conclusion is predictably careful. Death of Rustem Slobodin is judged as a result from hypothermia. All bruises and scratches were blamed on last minute agony. Although it is still somewhat unclear how did he manage to harm his exterior hands and legs. When the person falls even in an irrational state it is usually the palms that suffer the most as well as medial aspects of the legs. Injury to the head are less common, especially bilateral ones. It is also usual to harm the face and sides of the skull while the back of the head has no damage. In case of Slobodin body we see the opposite. His injury pattern is a reverse of what we would usually see in injuries suffered by a freezing man in the last minutes of his or her life. It looks as if Rustem fell repeatedly on his face as he was walking down the mountain. And every time he fell he managed to hit the sides of the his head. It is unusual to see in a man who was probably in a better physical shape than anyone in the group. Even a long ski trip could hardly be responsible for this alleged "clumsiness".
The remaining four bodies were inspected on May 9th, 1959 below Dyatlov Pass. Their bodies were found several months after their deaths by a Mansi native Kurikov with his dog.
Ludmila wore a short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, and two sweaters. The body was covered by underwear, long socks, two pairs of pants. External pair was badly damaged by fire and subsequently ripped. She also wore a small hat and two pairs of warm sock. A third sock was not paired. Ludmila apparently in the last attempt to preserve her feet took off her sweater and cut it in two pieces. One half she rapped around her left foot. Another half she left or dropped unintentionally on the snow.
- tongue is missing
- soft tissues are missing around eyes, eyebrows, and left temporal area, bone is partially exposed (1)
- eyes are missing (1)
- nose cartilages are broken and flattened (2)
- 2, 3, 4, 5 ribs are broken on the right side, two fracture lines are visible (3)
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ribs are broken on the left side, two fracture lines are visible (4)
- soft tissues of the upper lip are missing, teeth and and upper jaw is exposed
- massive hemorrhage in the heart's right atrium
- bruise in the middle left thigh, size 10*5cm (6)
- damaged tissues around left temporal bone, size 4*4cm (7)
Occasionally you hear claims that the tongue was ripped, or eaten, or whatnot. The medical records simply that "the tongue is missing". Vozrojdenniy describes missing hypoglossal muscle as well as muscles of the floor of the mouth. That is it. There is no explanation, theories, condition of the surrounding tissues. It looks weird especially given the fact previous bodies had more detailed autopsies. There is no credible explanation for this vague statement. Although it is mentioned that the stomach contained about 100 g of coagulated blood. It is used by some as an indication that the heart was beating and the blood was flowing when tongue was removed from a mouth. The cause of death is stated as hemorrhage into right atrium of the heart, multiple fractured ribs and internal bleeding.
Body of Semen Zolotarev was found at the Dyatlov Pass with two hats, scarf, short, long sleeve shirt, black sweater and a coat with two upper buttons unbuttoned. It was fairly clear that the guy didn't die from the coldness. On the contrary the den was pretty warm place for him. His lower part of the body was protected by underwear, two pairs of pants and a pair of skiing pants. He had a copy of newspapers, several coins, compass, and other few items. His legs were protected by a pair of socks and a pair of warm leather hand made shoes known as "burka". They probably couldn't keep him warm for a long time, but in the den it was sufficient in keeping the man alive. Additionally the body of Zolotarev had a camera around his neck as it it clearly seen on the pictures. We should add that this camera became a complete surprise to Yury Yudin. He assumed the group had only four cameras that were found in the tent. And all of the sudden a fifth camera turned out on the body. Unfortunately melting water damaged the film. But the question still lingers. Why did Zolotarev left the tent with the camera and why did he take two cameras to the trip? One was used on daily basis and everyone saw it. It was left in the tent and discovered there by the search party, but another was hidden throughout a journey and was found only after Semen Zolotarev have died.
- eye balls are missing (1)
- missing soft tissues around left eye brow, size 7*6cm, bone is exposed (2)
- flair chest, broken 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 ribs on the right side, two fracture lines (3)
- open wound on the right side with exposed bone, 8*6cm in size (4)
Both Zolotarev and Dubinina have an interesting pattern of injuries. They are very similar in direction and force despite difference in shape, height and body composition of the two. This would suggest that whatever caused these injuries was not a single uniform event.
- lack of soft tissues around eyes, eyebrows are missing, skull bones are exposed
- broken nose (2)
- open wound behind ear, size 3*1.5cm (6)
- deformed neck (4)
- multiple fractures to the temporal bone, with extensions to the frontal and sphenoid bones (1), the close up of the fractures to the skull is shown below
- bruise on the upper lip on the left side (2)
- hemorrhage on the lower forearm, size 10*12cm (3)
Vozrojdenniy, who undertook the autopsy, excluded accidental fall on the rock as a possible cause for such a massive and unusual fracture. Some theorized that the shape might be due to pressure applied during alleged avalanche that hit unsuspected tourists while they slept in the tent. If Nikolay slept on a camera this sudden increase in pressure could leave a mark on his head, however the shape of the lens is round and the damage would have a more round shape. Another reason why some specialists refused this theory is a massive hemorrhage that would make Thibeaux- Brignolle unable to move on his own and leave the site of the tent. There was no signs of dragging on the snow and foot prints suggest that everyone in the group moved on their own two feet.
Tent of Dyatlov group is ripped from the inside. Initially the fact was overlooked, but a woman who worked for the police department laundry services clearly identified that the damage came from the inside. Further expertise proved her hypothesis to be correct.
Nine tourist left the tent with little clothes while outside temperature dipped to -30°C (-22°F). Most of them lacked proper footwear. Warm clothes, boots are left inside the abandoned tent. Survivors go to extreme lengths to preserve themselves in their harsh conditions. They even cut the clothes of their dead friends to protect themselves. They even dig a den that does not save them. Thus the theory of "paradox undressing" has no support in the available facts.
One of the poles show signs of damage made by the knife.
Presence of radiation on the cloths that were worn by one of the members of the group (George (Yuri) Krivonischenko). The question remains. Who came up with this strange procedure and why was it even carried out on a first place? Reaction of the officials is also surprising. The tests were carried out between May 18 and May 25 of 1959. And on May 28th the case was closed. This is more than just peculiar given the circumstances.
Kolevatov kept a personal diary. Yuriy Yudin, the only survivor of the group, testified that it was with him on the last trip. The diary went missing.
Judging by the pictures of Dyatlov group at least one of the cameras went missing.
Strange unidentified cloth "obmotki", an old school version of socks, was found near the bodies.
Missing tongue. Cause is unknown. What makes the fact more mysterious is lack of coherent explanation or description of the damage. Autopsy doesn't mention the state or nature of the surrounding tissues.
The bodies of the dead tourists show signs of unexplained damages including broken ribs, scrapes and etc.
Semen Zolotarev introduces himself as "Alexander" to the group. In fact common memorial to the group lists his name incorrectly.
Semen Zolotarev and George (Yuri) Krivonischenko are buried separately from the rest of the group on a cemetery that is officially closed for several years.
Money, food, valuables likes watches, alcohol and blankets remain in place.
Several theories arose in the last decades concerning the case of Dyatlov Pass Incident.
Another theory blamed the deaths of tourists on Dyatlov Pass on Soviet special forces that simply got rid of unwanted witnesses. People who oppose this scenario point out that none of the rescuers even reported any unusual footprints. Since most of the members of the group had no footwear on one or both legs, their prints were easily recognizable and distinguishable. However the footprints were never closely examined. No one expected to find the tourists' bodies and missing this key proof is plausible. It is true that government officials were more or less aware of a general route that the group will undertake, but accidents do happen. Soviet Union was still trying out its R- 12 rockets that they adopted in March 1959. Not all launches were successful. And Soviet engineers certainly did not want to scream about their failures. Furthermore the home town of students Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) was encircled by several units of anti- aircraft rockets. Let's not forget that through much of the 50's Soviet army was basically defenseless against American spy planes. The first success actually happened a year later in May of 1960 then Soviet rockets shot down U2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers just 67 km (43 mi) west of Sverdlovsk. Soviet intelligence still keeps many of its secrets and hasn't revealed any information on the events that took part in February of 1959.
Now it might seem like implausible and outright dumb explanation of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, but it has right to be told anyway. This theory is based on the fact that American and Western spies had hard time working in Soviet Union in the 50's. Stalin's secret police followed every foreigner that set foot in Russia. So the only way to deliver any information that was crucial was through illegal spy system. This ring of Soviet nationals willing to work for capitalists was especially essential in remote regions of the Soviet Union where nuclear industry was being expanded and developed. Obviously the foreigners were not allowed even close to these sites. So Western intelligence agencies attempted to get Soviet citizens to do all the work for them. There they would pick up needed information that they would deliver back by all means possible. The race for nuclear weapons put greater pressure on the CIA since there was no quick way to proof or disprove that certain site was working for nuclear enrichment. The only way to verify possible site was by delivering any object that contained radioactive material. For example Tomsk- 7 was correctly identified as a site of Soviet nuclear enrichment program by a single ski hat in 1955. It sound absurd now, but in a state of fear and paranoia this was the only way to spy on Soviet Union. Russians were not stupid either. They repeatedly fooled Western by delivering radioactive- tainted material from places that had nothing to do with it. This brings us to so called theory of Western intelligence involvement. According to this theory two or more members of the Dyatlov group were hired by the KGB to deliver fake proof of radioactive tainted clothes. The rest of the group was probably unaware of the real purpose of their journey.
Zolotarev and Krivonischenko might have been the best candidates for this delivery. Krivonischenko worked for a closed facility that was involved in the development of the Soviet nuclear capability. It would be logical to assume that a young and promising student was approached at some point by agents of the Western intelligence agency. If he was "touched" by the spies he might have reported this to an "osobist", a KGB agent working on the site. This would make Krivonischenko a pawn in a false delivery of radioactive material. But he needed a man who could spot him in a difficult situation.
Many supporters of this theory point to Zolotarev as a possible second agent. He had an experience in a war. He presented himself under a different name to a group. Even today many sites devoted to the Dyatlov Pass Incident call him "Alexander" rather than his real name of "Semen". If we look at his official biography it becomes even stranger. He mentions serving in the military engineer unit. They usually were first to clear enemy defenses and fell an easy prey to hostile fire. Their losses were simply horrific. Some units lost up to 80% of the their soldiers in just few days of battle for Konigsberg and Berlin. They were offered metal breast plates to reduce casualty rate, but it had little effect in an overall picture. These were basically suicidal units. And Zolotarev managed to serve in one. But here is where normalcy of his resume ends. We start to get peculiarities and questions about his previous life.
Soviet military engineers in action
He joined the army in October of 1941, but reached the frontlines on May 10th of 1942. In the time then officers were trained for only 3 months and solders got only few days (if they got lucky) of basic training, Zolotarev get full 6 months. He should have been rushed to the front and killed like 97% of all men born with him in the same year. But this does not happen. Furthermore we know that he received 4 medals. This is a lot for a Soviet soldier. Most did not live that long or did not fit the qualifications to receive one. Additionally there were a lot of reasons in Soviet Union not to get a medal. This included nationality for example. Beginning from 1944 Chechens were not granted any signs of distinction. Chechen families were deported to Kazakhstan beginning on February 23rd, 1944. Giving medals to their sons, brothers and fathers would raise too many question on a legitimacy of such harsh treatment. Another reasons why you couldn't get distinguished by the government was your social background and the region of the country. Zolotarev was a Cossack (a Russian subculture of professional soldiers/ peasants from the Southern Russia) and he was son of a doctor. Cossacks were too religious and too independent and automatically raised eyebrows in Kremlin. This automatically reduced his chanced to receive any medals. And yet he managed to pull through. He mentions four signs of distinction in his official biography- resume, but he doesn't describe the circumstances or even location of military actions which yearned him these distinctions. The official biography had its guidelines and were very important before someone would get hired on a job. You had to write down the exact number of the medal in an official document. If you didn't, the paper would be returned to you with subsequent inquiry with the army. You didn't want to lie about receiving military distinction without actually earning them. This could result in very serious consequences for Semen "Alexander" Zolotarev. And what do we see? Serial numbers are not mentioned, units are not mentioned, location is not mentioned and yet the paper is accepted and filed despite numerous omissions on behalf of Semen Zolotarev. It would be logical to assume that inquiry that was started might have been cancelled due to KGB involvement.
Victory Parade of 1945. Notice the number of medals on these soldiers. One- two at the most.
This brings us to the trip itself. Let's assume that Krivonischenko met with the Western agents who convinced him to transfer clothing tainted by radiation. Western intelligence officers would be dropped somewhere in Siberia and rendezvous with a group of Krivonischenko and his friends. The clothes would be given by an KGB agent before the group would set on the skiing trip. As you might remember Krivonischenko gets arrested for singing and pretending to beg for money. He gets arrested, but than immediately let go. Some might see a normal person who didn't want to cancel the trip for a minor transgression. Or it might have been a planned excuse to leave the group and accept radioactively stained clothes. As I mentioned before Krivonischenko was present at Kushtumkoy Accident two years earlier then radioactivity leaked. However being a young professional he certainly would not keep any of the old clothes. Even helicopter pilots refused to fly bodies when they heard that radioactivity was present. So it would be illogical to suggest that Krivonischenko could keep his clothes all that time.
The rest of the trip was planned out. Somewhere along the way they were supposed to met "lost tourists" and share clothes as a token of good will. Then they would depart. Something went terribly wrong and these "tourists" simply killed the whole group. They forced young tourists from their tents, made them take their shoes off. Rustem probably tried to defend his group and got in fight with the agents. This explains the damages he recieved in the area of the skull. This would also explain why someone cut the tent from the inside. The recipients of dangerous cargo needed a simple view of the mountain slope while they were searching for any evidence of their presence. As you remember Kolevatov diary and a third camera went missing and there is still no answer of its whereabouts. That would also explain the deaths of first five members. Special forces simply left them to die in the cold to hide their presence. As it was mentioned earlier tourists had at least two pairs of footwear. One was used for a trail and another was used during cold nights. Most of the members had nothing on their feet except for socks. Minor injuries could be overlooked and deaths could easily be ignored. However something went wrong and instead of freezing to death the remaining tourists showed stamina and a will to live. Thus the special forces unit descended down the mountain and killed the remaining group in a state of panic and furious anger.
First victims were Doroshenko and Krivonischenko who were left by the cedar to keep the fire going. Doroshenko as you remember had strange grayish foam around his mouth. A pulmonary edema is common in drug addicts, but since none of the members of the group had any drugs or alcohol we can make another suggestion. He was actually tortured. And this involved putting weight on a man's chest thus increasing hydrostatic pressure of blood in his capillaries. This would produce exudate that filled the lungs and appear as a foam around his lips. Krivonishenko has several injuries that are also very interesting. It seems that he bit palms of his hands for some reason. We can assume that he tried to escape his enemies by climbing a tree. His frozen hands were too weak to hold his body so he tried to bite them, leaving marks on the hands and epidermis (skin) behind his teeth. Eventually he fell down, judging by the bruises on the lower extremities, was beaten (injuries in the head area) and left to die. Having experienced a severe shock it wouldn't take long. They might have looked for the Dyatlov Group in the forest, so they missed the return of the tourists to the cedar, but once they heard voices they probably came back and finished off the remaining students and young professionals. They retreated a missing camera, Kolevatov's diary and left clothes since it became evident it was a set up. Although seemingly as improbable at first, a course of history of KGB- CIA relations knows of such "deliveries" made by KGB to fool their American and British partners. Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they were revealed as falsifications by the Soviet side.
However even this theory also has its weaknesses. For example a number of extra eye witnesses that accompanied the two alleged KGB agents (Krivonischenko and Zolotarev) raises questions. Why would they take civilians to a dangerous rendezvous with the foreign agents? Although it is known that many Western intelligence officers were of ethnicities that came from Russia (Russians, Ukrainians, Estonians, Latvians and many others), it is highly unlikely that they could have hidden their foreign accents or lack of knowledge about simple facts of Soviet life. This could have easily slipped in a conversation and become evident. Once the agents were revealed they would almost certainly try to get rid of unnecessary witnesses. Taking extra people with you meant increasing risk of failure to the whole operation. Secondly the last four tourists were killed in a state of panic and obvious loss of the situation. Their initial plan to let everyone freeze didn't work as agents expected to. Members of the Dyatlov Group were beaten and killed and yet even this gruesome procedure would require time and energy that is necessary to survive in the harsh climate. It would have been easier to shoot unwanted witnesses rather than waste time on them. It seems that people responsible for the murders forgot to take any weapons with them. Even hunting rifles that are legal in this region of Russia were ignored. Could it be that a different group of people might have committed as an act under similar scenario?
Siberia at the time of the tragedy of Dyatlov Pass Incident was still a land of Gulag. Many political prisoners were released in 1953- 56, but criminals were still behind bars. Many small concentration camps were dispersed all over the region. The closest such facility to the Dyatlov Pass was Ivlag situated just few miles from a site of a tragedy. Although it is true that there were no escapes around the time of Dyatlov Pass Incident it doesn't mean that it never happened before. History knows many examples then prisoners would escape and go into hiding for years and even decades at a time. They could have easily missed death of Stalin in 1953 and subsequent amnesty to all political prisoners.
Soviet Concentration Camps were increased significantly at the end of the Great Patriotic War (aka World War II). Thousands of soldiers and officers who wrote or said something against Stalin and the country were arrested upon completion of the military actions. While many men and women were at the front and faced death they often expressed their opinions without fear. You can get killed in a few seconds. Who cares if your political officer recorded your words? And the party did nothing until the end of the war. But once it was over Stalin told his henchmen to get everyone who was unhappy or too honest about Soviet rule. Thousands were send to cut forest in Siberia instead of coming home to their loved ones. It is plausible that these people knew how to kill and were open to the idea. One of the facts that could tie veterans to this case is the fact that Yury Yudin discovered a piece of clothing among personal items discovered on the Dyatlov Pass. It was further noted by him that these clothes did not belong to any of the members of the group. This "obmotki" is a wide piece of clothing that are wrapped around legs. They have distinct shape and made from a particular material. They were widely used among the soldiers in the 40's and later among the prisoners of Stalin's concentration camps. No body knows how it got here and no body knows how it disappeared from the evidence room or during transportation from Dyatlov Pass. But it did. Given the scenario described above it is plausible to assume that a group of former soldier or officers that were wrongfully accused of crimes against the state (infamous article N58) at the end of the World War II. Using their war experience they might have escaped from prison and they could have lived in Siberia for years. It is also plausible that once they encountered the group of your students, former inmates assumed that getting rid of eye witnesses is better than being reported and chased by the police.
In the course of investigation local Mansi tribes also appeared as suspects in the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Some even remembered a story from the 30's then a woman geologist ventured into sacred lands of this proud unconquered nation. She was subsequently tied and thrown in the lake. Common journal that was found in the tent also talked about the Mansi. However this theory was abandoned for the lack of evidence or any possible witnesses. Furthermore Kholat Syakhl was never a sacred place. It was feared and it was avoided, but no one considered it important for the beliefs of the native people. Additionally natives in the Ural mountains and most of Siberia are practical people. Their harsh environment forces them to take the best opportunity of what they have. If the Mansi were involved in the murder of the tourists they would probably steal many valuable possession that are so important to survival in the harsh climate of Siberia.
Danger of avalanche in the region of Dyatlov Pass Incident is not common. The Kholat Syakhl mountain is not very tall and it is certainly not very steep. Furthermore the opponents of this theory suggest that tourist diaries report a fairly thin snow cover. However these facts doesn't exclude the possibility of a small avalanche in a small area of Dyatlov Pass. A portion of the upper layer of snow could simply shift and role over the tourists as a slab of snow. This could damage the tent and create havoc among tourists who were suddenly trapped underneath several feet of snow. It would certainly explain why the tent was cut from inside. Further retreat from Dyatlov Pass would be necessary if the tourists were worried a second avalanche can strike again. According to the supporters of this theory Dyatlov Group tried to make their way back to the Auspiya river and instead made a fatal mistake by descending into a valley of the Lozva river. After 4 weeks the snow that was rushed down the slope of the mountain was simply blown off by the strong winds that are common in the region. This would erase all signs of a natural disaster.
However this theory about Dyatlov Pass Incident has its gaps. From what we can tell from the naked footprints left by the group everyone seemed to descent with relative ease. It is highly unlikely that three people with broken ribs and flail chest would be transportable at all. And here we see several badly damaged men and a woman walk without problems or even help from any of the members of the group. Secondly these men and women were experienced and well trained. They knew that chances of freezing to death is more likely than getting killed by an avalanche. Although the removal of the damaged tent from an exposed mountain side of Dyatlov Pass was out of the question, they had to retrieve all their warm clothes. And finally if you see on the pictures on February 1st on the left and February 26th (according to Vadim Brusnicin who is sitting on a slope of the mountain with his back toward the camera man) on the right you can see part of the tourist gear that kept its vertical position on the slope weeks after the tragedy stroke. Furthermore the entrance of the tent is clearly elevated. Only the middle portion collapse probably due to hasty escape or weigh of snow simply collecting here.
Occasionally some of the conspiracy theorists claim that UFO scared the group away and thus caused Dyatlov Pass Incident. Although seemingly incredible this claim might have some base to it. Pulsating orbs were seen repeatedly in January, February and March by students, geologists, natives and even local military at the Dyatlov Pass and its vicinity. Mansi hunters that camped out near Kholat Syakhl and Dyatlov Pass claimed to have seen flying orbs near the mountain. Their testimonies were later stricken from the record by Moscow officials (according to Ivanov). Additionally several geologists 70 km from the mountains saw some glowing and pulsating orbits flying in the direction of the Kholat Syakhl/ Dyatlov Pass on a day of tragedy (evening of February 1st). These testimonies were also ignored.
In early April Tempalov gathered several testimonies of local soldiers who claimed to have seen UFO over Dyatlov Pass on 17 February around 6:40am. They all described slow moving orbs that were moving from South to North in a strange cloud of dust or a fog. The event was witnessed for 5-15 minutes by different soldiers at a considerable distance from each other. In fact locals even reported their sightings to the local newspaper "Tagil Worker" (Тагильский Рабочий) that published an article about strange events in the region.
Rescue party that was send to discover bodies of the Dyatlov group also witnessed these pulsating lights several times. Valentin Yakimenko who volunteered to join the group describe these events that happened on March 31. "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".
One of the explanations for these bizarre events over Dyatlov Pass might be launches by the Soviet military of space program. About the same time Soviet armed forces did launch several space rockets from Baykanur base, chief base for Soviet Space program that is still in use today. However military claimed the rockets landed in the north Ural mountains far from the site of the Dyatlov Pass. Another possible explanation might be establishment of R- 12 rockets around Sverdlovsk. These rockets were officially delivered in March of 1959, but American intelligence claimed their bases were established as early as November of 1958. Additionally the region contained several S- 75 rocket bases. These rockets shot down U- 2 piloted Francis Gary Powers just south of Sverdlovsk in 1960. So there were a lot of things that could explain these strange orbs. As part of technological theory there have been suggestions that an infrasound might have been responsible for sudden unpleasant feelings among the tourists. It forced them to panic and leave the site of the tent in a hurry. However this explanation has its own draw backs. Orbs didn't fly in a single trajectory. They often changed path of their flight. Sometimes they just hovered over mountain peaks. It is somewhat strange behavior for a flying rocket.
Lev Ivanov, a man who was in charge of the investigation at the Dyatlov Pass Incident, lived a long life. In the early 1990's in an interview to a local journalist he made a statement that during his investigation he and E.P. Maslenikov both noticed that the pines in the forest were burned at the top. He also claims that A.P. Kirilenko, member of the Soviet Congress, along with his advisor A.F. Ashtokin forced Ivanov to take out all references to the unknown flying objects or other strange phenomena. This included pictures of flying spheres drawn by the Mansi hunters and other testimonies. It is true that Soviet Union experienced a boom of interest on everything unknown in the late 80's. Skeptic might also add that Ivanov gave this interview to make some money. However we have to mention that Kirilenko became obsessed with UFO theme after the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Starting in the early 60's he filed several requests to gain access to the KGB archives. We don't know what was found in the documents, but it is undeniably strange that a political figure in USSR paid such keen interest in this subject. UFO was not investigated by the official science so it deemed as a pseudo- religious phenomena. Atheist Soviet Union obviously prohibited any interest in the subject, especially among members of the highest legislative body in the country.
I had to add this theory thanks Alex Lewis who brought up interesting points about Dyatlov Pass Incident. Now it might seem like an episode from X- files or horror movies, but certain oddities about this trip might be explained by an attack of a wild animal known indifferent places as an abdominal snowman, yeti, sasquatch, bigfoot and etc. Now we should start discussing this plausible theory from the point of view of the native Mansi population that lived near Dyatlov Pass for centuries. They do believe in angry and somewhat violent human like animals known as menkvi that roam the mountains of the Ural. The legends claim that their behavior and aggression toward the humans is the reason why gods punished the World with a great flood I mentioned earlier. Very few menkvi survived on top of the mount Luv- Syakvur near Dyatlov Pass. Others drowned. These few creatures are left to walk in solitude across empty land. They die, but they are later reborn in the same shape and appearance. Interestingly enough Menkvi are reported as migratory creatures which is consistent with the testimony of Natives in North- west USA. Additionally menkvi are supposed to smell pretty badly. This is also consistent with some reports of a bigfoot. In fact it is called Skunk Ape in Florida and South Eastern part of United States for this unflattering feature.
We should start exploring the possibility of an animal attack by stating that we are not the first to suggest this possibility. Several members of the search party in the Dyatlov Pass later remembered the state of shock that some of the native experienced once they found the bodies. Some of them believed that death of young Russian tourists in Dyatlov Pass might have been caused by a menkvi who killed several caribous or reindeer that belonged to a local Mansi herder just few weeks prior to the accident. Their bodies were left in place, but they too showed strange signs of internal damage. Mansi were somewhat uneasy about possibility to encounter once of these flesh eating monsters on Dyatlov Pass.
Let’s start examining the facts that we know. We know that the group started fairly late and walked for only 2.5 miles. We still don’t know what took them so long to collect their things and take the trail. They did spent time constructing Labaz, basically storage for extra food and clothes that they would pick up on the back. But this still doesn’t quiet explain a strange pace of a group as they walked across Dyatlov Pass. People who believe in a possibility of Yeti attack explain this delay by a creature that might have scared them. Once it was gone tourists picked up their things and went to a place where they felt was safer. And given their few options they could have assumed that side of an empty mountain would give them certain advantages. And that brings us to a subject of odd choice for location of the last base.
The last sentence in the diary of Dyatlov group was an entry written by Igor Dyatlov himself on the night of the 31st of January. As you remember the group reached the treeless area on top of the mountain, but returned to spend night in a safety of a forest. The next night they basically had to repeat the ascent. In the last entry Igor stated: “It is hard to imagine such a comfort somewhere on the ridge, with a piercing wind, hundreds kilometers away from human settlements.” Yet ironically the next day he leads his friends to that same ridge and establishes a base there. Looking at the last pictures from a trip we can only imagine how hard it was to climb this mountain and establish a tent on a side of Kholat Syakhl. Additionally search and rescue party found only one log in the tent. If you were to spend a night in cold conditions you would probably take more. But the tourists didn’t take much firewood with them and didn’t even try to assemble a furnace to keep warm. Such experiments are common during training for trip, but certainly look odd during an actual track.
Cuts on the side of the tent were made from the inside, but the holes visible on the pictures were increased by the members of the party that ripped them open, greatly increasing the size for entrance. If we take a possibility of an animal attack we can assume that the holes were not made so much for the escape as much for the surveillance of the mountain. Something threatened them and they needed a view toward the forest. We can only assume the fear that they might have felt if they saw the dark figure approach their small tent. It is unlikely that they would spend much time on the tent gathering their things. Instead they ran down the slope. It is possible that they tried to make their way back to the Labaz where they left their clothes and food. They took the wrong valley and missed their path to possible escape. The rest of the scenario is quiet dramatic. Several tourist freeze, others are simply attacked by this creature. If you look at the picture of a body of Zolotarev you can notice a camera that hangs around his neck. It was damaged by the melting water so we don't know what are the pictures he made. But it is certainly strange that a man leaves a tent with this seemingly useless item. It seems that he had something important to photograph. That "something" completely ignored the camera and left it around his neck.
We should make a clarification on a popular misconception that exists among sites devoted to the fate of Dyatlov Pass tragedy. Several people claimed that diary of the group had a line in the end that stated: “Now we know that the snowman (yeti) exists”. It is not quite accurate. It is true that the rescue members did discover a newspaper made by the group that was called an “Evening Otorten”. It was dated on 1st of February, although many believe it was written either late 31st of January or early 1st of February when the group slept in the forest. Firstly the group diary had no entries on this date which suggest the group was either too tired or too scared from their trip.
Secondly one of the articles stated that there was a competition in furnace assembly between Doroshenko and Kholmogorova in the Sport section. The furnace was not assembled by the group on February 1st so it is possible to assume that the newspaper was done before the final ascent to the Kholat Syakhl. This paper does mention Yeti in its Science section. Its exact translation goes. “An existence of a snowman is hot topic for the debate among the scientific community. According to last testimonies it lives in the Northern Urals, around mount Otorten”. It is possible that some of the locals warned the group against going into a forest, especially after an attack on the reindeer herd by an unknown creature or creatures. Yury Yudin remembers pissed off Igor Dyatlov after his conversation with the local. Although he didn’t heard the subject of the conversation he guessed a local man tried to talk him out of going to Otorten. This might be a reason why a snowman was mentioned in the Evening Otorten by the group.
Interestingly, the American Embassy in Nepal sent a document to The Department of State, Washington entitled 'Regulations covering mountain climbing expeditions in Nepal - Relating to Yeti'. It contained three regulations for that climbers must abide by should they encounter a Yeti. Interestingly, the date shown on this document is December 20, 1959.
These are only few of the theories concerning Dyatlov Pass Incident. Many are more bizarre, strange and quiet frankly dumb ideas that circulate out there. Some blame the spirits others blame the paradoxical undressing that lead to hypothermia. All these theories ignore the fact that only two bodies showed signs of undressing after they left the tent. And it was the first two bodies found under the cedar. Their clothes were removed after they died. We can assume the bodies were beginning to show first signs of rigor mortis or stiffness after death. The clothes of dead victims were cut off and later found near the bodies in the den. This proves that people were aware of the danger of hypothermia and tried everything they could to save themselves. Why did they leave the tent with all the clothes and boots inside is still a mystery. Many other theories about Dyatlov Pass Incident surfaced in the past decades. Few of these, however, explain a wide range of physical injuries that the group experienced. So there is no much point in mentioning them.
Unfortunately these were not the last victims of the Kholat Syakhl and Dyatlov Pass. From 1960-61 several airplane crashes took away lives of nine pilots and geologists who were sent to Dyatlov Pass. For a time flights were totally canceled in the region. Among more recent victims of the mountain was a crash of Mi-8 in 2009. Pilots ignored long standing unofficial no- fly zone. Fortunately they survived the cash, but they couldn't explain why their helicopter went down so quickly and without any warning. Tourists today repeat the track of the Dyatlov group, but none of groups ever contain 9 people. In the early 2000's a group of 9 volunteers under supervision of rescue crew repeated the same descent down the slope of Kholat Syakhl. Despite snow cover and night time none of the participants got any significant bruises or cuts. Those who observed the students did not report any difficulty in locating members on the mountain side. None of the group members were lost and vocal/ eye contact was constant between group members at all times. This only adds to the mystery of what really happened on Dyatlov Pass that night. The case of Dyatlov Pass deaths remains open.
P.S. Burial of victims in the Dyatlov Pass Incident
All 9 members of the Dyatlov Pass Incident were eventually buried in Sverdlovsk, now known as Yekaterinburg. At first it was the first five members of the Dyatlov group and then another four members in spring. To this day many of the witnesses can't explain why Semen Zolotarev and Yuri Krivonischenko were buried separately on the cemetery that was officially closed for all new burials. Some said that the graves were visited by people "in civilian clothes" which was a term used to describe KGB agents. Although no substantial proof of this was ever found, so it might be just rumors. We still can't find out who and why gave the order to bury victims of the Dyatlov Pass Incident separately. Relatives of the deceased were certainly not the initiators of this strange decision.
Today the grave of 7 members are commonly visited on Michailovskoe Cemetery. People leave flowers and light candles in rememberance of Dyatlov Pass Incident. Unfortunately two other members of the group are buried separately on Ivanovskoe Cemetery and few people are actually aware of it. The names of Yuri Krivonischenko and Semen Zolotarev are present, but for some unexplained reason the initials of Zolatarev are wrong. Instead of "A.I" they are suppose to be "S.A". for Semen Alekseevich. I never found an explanation on why Zolatarev introduced himself by a different name to group.
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