Scarier than Fiction
The Dyatlov Pass is located in the Ural Mountains of Western Russia.
On February 2, 1959, 9 experienced ski hikers died under extremely strange and somewhat frightening circumstances.
At the point of their disappearance, the goal of the ill-fated expedition was to reach Otorten, a mountain that was approximately 6 miles away.
The unfortunate hikers never reached their destination. Also, chillingly enough, the word “Otorten” translated from Mansi (indigenous peoples in the area) language, means “Mountain of the dead men.”
The Unfortunate Hikers
The expedition originally began with ten hikers, and it was led by a 23-year-old man named Igor Dyatlov – )the pass would later be named after him). There were eight men and two women.
The two women on the expedition were Zinaida Kolmogorova and Lyudmila Dubinina, and the other men were Alexander Kolevatov, Rusterm Slobodin, Yuri Krivonischenko, Yuri Doroshenko, Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, Alexander Zolotarev, and Yuri Yudin.
The hikers were students or recent graduates of Ural Polytechnic Institute, which has since been renamed Ural State Technical University, of which, Boris Yeltsin is an alumni.
The Publicly Documented Facts That Led Up To The Incident
On the morning of January 27, 1959, the group left Vizhai to begin their trek. Vizhai is the northernmost inhabited settlement in the region.
On January 28th, one of the hikers, Yuri Yudin, fell ill and had to turn back. This turned out to be a life-saving turn of events for Mr. Yudin, as he is the sole survivor of the doomed expedition.
Remaining members of the exbidition recorded the days afterward with diaries and cameras.On January 31, the group began to climb.
On February 1st, the hikers reached Kholat Syakhl, the mountain pass that has since been renamed “Dyatlov Pass” since the incident occurred.
When they reached the pass, their plan was to cross over and set-up camp on the other side.
Weather conditions worsened, a snowstorm ensued, and the hikers lost their direction due to decreasing visibility.
In the confusion of being lost, the group discovered that they had hiked to nearly the top of the mountain pass, so they decided to pitch camp where they were, and head out the next day. They never made it past this point.
The Frantic Search
It was decided beforehand that Igor Dylatov was to send a telegraph on February 12th to the group’s sports club as soon as they reached Vizhai upon their return.
February 12th came and went, with no communication from the hikers.
Most people were not alarmed because delays are not uncommon for expeditions – besides, they were nine experienced and capable hikers…
The families of the hikers became increasingly concerned in the days that followed.
On February 20th, the Ural Polytechnic Institute formed a rescue party consisting of students, and faculty – to no avail.
Eventually, police and army forces mounted a full-scale official search and rescue party for the nine missing hikers
The Chilling Discovery – A True Horror Not Even Hollywood Could Create
Finally, on February 26, 1959, the exhibition party was discovered. Their camp was abandoned and their tent had been ripped apart from the inside out.
Some of the bodies of the hikers were found strewn across the slope a short distance away.Others were found farther away, buried beneath the snow in a ravine.
Some of the hikers were found wearing ripped pieces of clothing that were torn off of other hikers who had died before them, some were missing a shoe or a sock, and some of them were shown to have high doses of radioactive contamination on their clothing.
Their bodies showed no visible signs of wounds, yet one of the women was missing her tongue, and autopsies revealed that Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle endured fatal skull damage, and the bodies of Alexander Zolotarev, and Lyudmila Dubinina had been fatally struck with a force that can only be compared to a car crash.
The rest of the expedition died of exposure (hypothermia).
The Inquest and theories of what happened at Dyatlov Pass
Attack by Mansi tribesmen or others:
The Mansi were peaceful and hospitable, had no history of attacking visitors and had no reason to threaten the group. Plus there was no track evidence of anyone approaching the tent, no footprints except for those of the hikers was found in the snow in or around the camp.
There were no tracks. Why would the group abandon the relative security of the tent to run away?
Was a member outside and blown into the darkness by strong wind, which led the others to attempt to rescue that person? It is improbable such a large and experienced group would have behaved like that. Strong winds would have been enough to blow away the tent, too.
It is atypical terrain for avalanches and an avalanche would have untethered the tent, it could also explain the internal damage, but not the clothes!
Secret weapons testing:
None that has been declared in the area, apparently. Radioactive dispersal would have affected all of the party members and their equipment, not just a few items of clothing. (Eichar fails to mention that lamp wicks at the time were commonly made of ceramic gauze treated with radioactive thorium. They were very fragile and liable to crumble to dust if damaged.) Discoloured skin and hair of the ravine group could be attributable to partial mummification over a period of three months exposed to the elements.
The case was officially closed in 1959, the files were secretly archived, and a few photocopies were finally made available more than 30 years later in the early 1990s.
The verdict of the inquest into the mysterious disappearance was that that the hikers died of a “compelling unknown force.”
Speculations and the Aftermath
A journalist by the name of Yuri Yarovoi published a fictionalized account inspired by the mysterious events of the Dyatlov Pass Incident.
The book, published in 1967, is called Of the Highest Rank of Complexity.
Yaravoi completed extensive research for his novel, and he attempted to released several previous versions, but they were both declined due to censorship.
Yaravoi died in 1980, and all of his research has since vanished. It is claimed that he had found evidence of extraterrestrial activity in the area at the time of the incident.
Lev Ivanov was one of the police officials who led the case. Ivanov had previously published an article in 1990 where he wrote about receiving reports of strange spherical shapes in the sky during the time of the incident, and possible evidence of aliens.