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Dyatlov Pass

Updated on April 27, 2017
Some of the group as they set out
Some of the group as they set out

What happened?

The wind swirled mist around the trees like a cold blanket of death for the campers as they sat huddled in their tent; breathless as the cold and fear took everything they had left to offer. As the Mountain of the Dead cast its shadow on them they had little chance of knowing all their lives were all about to end. It has the makings of a great scary story; the only problem is this one is true. No one really knows what happened that night except that nine people lost their lives to unexplained means. Originally there had been ten people who set out but one, Yuri Yudin had to turn back due to illness and was the only survivor of the group.

The nine of them, after Yuri went gone home, had ventured out into the Ural Mountains on what they hoped would be a fun outing before returning to their everyday lives and Graduate School. They were all well trained backpackers and all esteemed members of the hiking group at their school, the most trained of the team being their leader Igor Alekseievich Dyatlov. The mountain was renamed after the group was discovered to Dyatlov's pass in memoriam to them.

An extensive investigation was launched after the bodies were found to try and discover the means of their death but no conclusion other than, “an unknown elemental force which they were unable to overcome” was the only reason investigators could come up with.

Their tent as it was discovered
Their tent as it was discovered

It’s estimated the date of their death to be February 2, of 1959. Their travels can be pieced together through their photographs, journals and sightings by the local Mansi tribe before tragedy struck.

The first thing the search team found was the campers tent, the front of which was securely tied closed but the sides had been cut from the inside to help the occupants make a quick exit. From the tent there were footprints leading away from the tent that only seemed to belong to the hikers that lead away for about 200 yards; no other footprints or evidence in the area showed anyone forced them from the tent. What could cause nine experienced hikers to flee their only real means of keeping warm by destroying it? They were trained to know that in sub-zero temperatures the tent is going to be the best means of staying alive.

Not only clothes but survival tools were found inside the tent; what could cause nine experienced hikers to not only flee their means of keeping warm but also leave all their survival supplies behind? It was a further two weeks, and for the last of the group three months, before their bodies were found and most were in various stages of undress, including some in their underwear. The investigators speculated that the ones who died first were stripped of what clothes they had on and taken by those who were found later who more clothes on.

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What Discovery Channel said was the last picture the team took, it's a fake
What Discovery Channel said was the last picture the team took, it's a fake
The real final picture they took
The real final picture they took

Thanks to a recent Discovery Channel “documentary” there is now speculation that the group was hunted by a Yeti that stalked and killed them one by one. Scaring them out of their tent by its spine tingling screams into the night. None of the journals found mentioned a Yeti in them and none of the photographs recovered showed a mysterious being stalking the group.

Further leading to this theory, for those who are just going off what the documentary said, is the fact that one of the women was found missing her tongue and her eyes, but she had no scratches on her body. I won’t post pictures of them here but pictures of all the hikers after they were found are online, if you decide to look you can see there are no scratches on her face. How could her tongue and eyes be missing but there is not external damage to the rest of her face?

Local legend, according to the documentary, says that the Yeti will take the tongue of anyone it deems unworthy of life as a sacrifice to satisfy itself. Common sense says that if something as big as Yeti took your tongue and eyes there should be some marks on the body showing they were either ripped or cut out.


How were they found?

The bodies were found scattered along the mountain from their tent, why wouldn't they try and go back to their tent instead of going further from their supplies?

As the bodies were returned to their families they all made mention of an Orange hue or glow to their skin that they say was not there before their loved one’s went out on this expedition. Dyatlov’s sister reported that not only was his skin orange but his hair was white, the only they were able to identify him was his teeth. Two of the males found had higher levels than normal of radiation, no explanation could be found, even to this day, how they got exposed in the middle of nowhere is unexplainable. Conspiracy theorists have speculated that the campers were in an area of Military testing and stumbled on something they shouldn’t have and were exposed and killed by testing. This seems to be the strongest of all the theories that are floating around; but as with all the others there is still no evidence to prove it or disprove it.

Thibeaux-Brignolleshad major skull damage, and both Dubinina and Zolotarev had major chest fractures. According to their mortician, the force required to cause such damage would have been high, comparing it to the force of a car crash. A few had the skin on their palms ripped by trying to climb a tree and a few had broken skulls. According to their mortician; none of the campers showed any sign of damage to the outside of their body consistent with the internal injuries. Which only adds to the pile of questions; how can their bones be broken but the bodies show no outward sign of broken bones? Another point to mention that can't readily be explained is two of the men found had high levels of radioactive contamination. Where in the world would they get exposure to radioactivity in the middle of no where?

The third most popular theory was, of course, Aliens. A father and son duo camping nearby made a report of seeing strange flashing lights in the sky but couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation of what had caused them. There is a photo the group of campers took that seems to lend credence to this theory as it seems to show lights they took a picture of before they died, included is a copy in this hub.

As pointed out by author Donnie Eichar in his book, “Even self-proclaimed skeptics, who attempt to cut through the intrigue in order to posit scientific explanations, are spun into a web of conspiracy theories and disinformation.” Eichar.D (2013)

While the mystery of what happened to the group will never be solved it’s a mystery that still deserves to be investigated to make sure it never happens again. Was it the screams of a Yeti that scared the group from their tent, a flare shot off by a local group of Military men out doing exercises or did the local chapter of Aliens anonymous come wreak havoc that night? No one will really ever know and the mystery will continue until someone is able to spend the time there to find out.

They died together, they rest together
They died together, they rest together

Further reading

If you are at all interested in learning more about the Dyatlov pass incident I recommend this book.

The author provides a lot useful information that is difficult to find elsewhere from reputable sources. He also does a good job explaining his theory on what happened to the hikers that night. Unfortunately this is a mystery that can probably never be solved unless someone who was directly involved comes forward but scientific theories are going to be our best resource when trying to figure out what happened.

What do you think?

What do you think happened to the Group?

See results

© 2016 Chosen Shades


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      7 months ago

      Anyone who does serious winter mountaineering can identify this as a snow avalanche event. When you're 'training' in winter mountaineering one of the first things you learn is: if you hear an avalanche, get out of your tent, run toward the *side* of the avalanche. If an avalanche goes over you in a tent, you're dead. If you run ahead of an avalanche, it is moving faster than you can, and will overtake you. The bones at Roopkund lake provide the explanation for the skull & other injuries at Dyatlov. Missing soft body parts are what happens when someone is dead in an area with ravens, crows, small mammalian predators/scavengers. The rest is simply hypothermia ending with death. Where did the avalanche disappear to? Snow compacts, sublimates, melts ...


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