The Dyatlov Pass Incident

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Dylatlov pass incident
Dylatlov pass incident

February 1st 1959 Russia In the late hours of the harsh winter night 9 poor souls would loose their life on the slopes of height 1079 clouded in mystery and still remaining unsolved to this day in what came to be known as the Dyatlov pass incident,

It is unknown what drove the group of 9 experienced hikers to slash open their tent and flee into the night, light clothed and bare foot towards the wooded valley below. They would have surely known that such actions would put their lives in certain jeopardy.

In the early hours of the 27th of February as Student and close friend Mikhail Sharavin stood observing the missing hikers tent, it was in bad shape, collapsed to the floor with one side slashed open with all their outdoor clothes and boots still inside, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right from this scene, as he looked about his surrounds he could see no sign that an avalanche had occurred as the tent was still pitched in place and that their skii’s they used were still sticking in the ground having not moved and the tent itself was only covered by a light snowfall, also noting that it was only a 30 degree slope it would have been highly unlikely for such a avalanche to occur.

Further more a chain of 8 or 9 sets of individual foot prints left by several people who were wearing socks, a single shoe and bare foot in the snow lead away from the tent down towards the valley below, but such a thing would have been covered by an avalanche.

As they followed the tracks down to the forest edge under a large old cedar tree, the search party found the remains of a fire, along with the bodies of Georgiy Krivonischenko and Yuri Doroshenko shoeless and only dressed in their underwear. The branches of the cedar tree had been broken up to 5m high.

They would shortly find Igor’s body 300m from the cedar tree, Zinaida 630m from the tree and 6 days later Rustem 480m from the tree indicating they were trying to return to the tent.

While the search was on going the blame was first put on the local mansi people even though they were apart of the search party but that was quickly out ruled when the forensics determined the tent had been cut from inside and also no other tracks were discovered around their tents.

It took a further two months as the snow and ice started to melt for the remaining 4 members to be found a short distance in a ravine buried beneath the snow.

Shortly after the remaining members of the group where found the authorities determined an avalanche had killed the group and closed the case, made all the case files classified and made the area restricted for 3 years, and the group of friends were finally laid to rest.

It wasn’t until many years later when the USSR regime ended that the case files including the coroner reports were released to the public and this is were things didn’t start to make sense to the official narrative spurring many of the wild theories of what happened which we will go into shortly.

But first we must talk about the facts including some of what the coroner found and I must warn you that “listeners discretion”is advised as some of you may find it disturbing.

The first two that were found by the remains of the fire by that cedar tree, were Krivonischenko he was wearing a undershirt, long sleeved checkered shirt, swimming pants, long underpants and a torn sock on his left foot, he had injuries typical of extreme cold such as frostbite, but he was also covered with many cuts and bruises, he had bitten down on his knickles possibly in an attempt to stay awake, also he showed signs of burn damage on his fingers and feet from the fire they had built trying to stay warm.

Doroshenko was found to be wearing sleeveless cotton undershirt, short sleeve checkered shirt, shorts and swimming trunks, cotton underpants and woollen socks which were burnt, he again was found cover in cuts and bruises, and also a foam grey fluid that was found on his cheek speculating that before death someone or something was pressing on his chest cavity. livor mortis indicated that after his blood had stopped circulating his body he was moved into the position they found him in.

Igor Dyatlov was found 300m from the Cedar tree face up his head was pointing towards the tent, he was found to be wearing a unbuttoned fur sleeveless vest which belonged to Yuri Yudin he gave it to Doroshenko before he parted them suggesting he took it off Doroshenko after his death, a sweater, long sleeve cotton shirt, ski pants over his pants, no shoes he had a cotton sock on one foot and a woollen one on the other, Igor had minor abrasions and bruises on his face but particularly on his knuckles quite similar to someone had they been in a fight, both his ankles had marks indicating something could have been tied around them tightly, he died of hyperthermia.

Zinaida was the last to be found on the 27th February, 630m from the cedar face down she made it the closest back heading in the direction of their tent. She was better dressed with two hats, long sleeve undershirt, sweater, checkered shirt and another sweater, cotton sport pants, trousers, ski pants and three pair of socks on two sets cotton and a woollen set, no shoes, in her pockets were 5 rubles and a military style protective mask under her checkered shirt, she had grazes and bruises on her face and knuckles and a long bruise on her lower back which looked like it was left from a baton, her cause of death was stated as hypothermia due to a violent accident.

It wouldn’t be until March the 5th that the next member would be found by the Mansi volunteers and that was Rustem, He was found 480m from the Cedar tree covered in 50cm of snow face down his head towards the tent. He wore a long sleeve undershirt, shirt, sweater, two pairs of pants four pairs of socks and one felt boot, he had 310 rubles, his passport, small penknife, pencil, pen, comb, and matches in his pockets. The injuries Rustem sustained were bruises to his face and also to his knuckles again similar to bruises in hand to hand fights, he also had a skull fracture on his left side and both temple regions had haemorrhages in the muscles. He was the most physically fit shape than any one else in the group but it was noted how unclear it was that he could have managed to fall down repeatedly banging only the sides of his head which typical falls would damage the face but also he had no damage to his palms, his body was with an icy bed under him from the hardening of the thawing snow, this meant that when Rustem fell his body was relatively still warm and that there was a noticeable heat exchange into the environment, his cause of death was hypothermia.

Even though search continued it would be until an further two months once snow had started to melt in May that the rest of the hikers were found.

On May 5th a Mansi native and his dog noticed cut branches forming a sort of trail going a distance of 50m from the first Cedar tree, they found black cotton sweat pants the right leg cut off with a knife. They noticed around them Cedar branches and a young fir tree was missing it’s top along with another piece of ripped clothing. Although the area had been searched previously with avalanche probes they found nothing as the snow was deeper then that they had expected.

The discovery of the Den only adds further to the mystery, on one had it shows that the group were of sane mind to do everything they could to survive, but also why their attempts still ended in their deaths and also why didn’t they find the knife used to cut the branches. The Den was discovered 75m from the cedar tree in a ravine that was hidden from the cold winds. This was most probably the idea of Zolotaryov having been a soldier on the front lines that was a common practice to survive winters on the front line and given their circumstances offered the best chance of survival. Cedar branches were brought to the den and laid out on the floor to act as a barrier between their bodies and the cold snow also some clothes taken from the first two bodies by the cedar tree were place on top on the branches too. Another perplexing find was that the 4 remaining hikers bodies were not found on the branches of the den but several feet away in the deep parts of the ravine.

Lyudmila was the first out of the four to be found, she was found on her knees with her face and chest pressed against a rock in running water. She was found to be wearing short sleeve shirt, long sleeved shirt, and two sweaters. The brown sweater belonged to Krivonischenko, one of the two men who died by the fire indicating it had been removed after his death, the sweater was also tested to be radio active, she also had underwear long socks and two pairs of pants, the external pair was badly damaged by fire, she also wore a small hat and two pairs of socks, she had also in an attempt to save her feet took her sweater off and cut in two to wrap around both of them.

She was missing skin around her eyes, eyebrows, nose and left cheek exposing bone, her eyes were missing and that her top lip, tongue and the muscles on the floor of her mouth missing, she had multiple broken ribs and a haemorrhage into her heart due to immense pressure, it was reported the injuries were identical to one that had been hit by a car but no external damage was present. Cause of death was rule as haemorrhage to the heart and internal bleeding.

Zolortaryov was found to be one of the best dressed for the climate than the rest of the group indicating he may have been outside when the incident happened or had not long been outside. He was equipped with two hats, scarf, long sleeve shirt, sweater and a coat with the two upper buttons unbuttoned. On his lower half he wore 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 . He was found with a camera around his neck of which the film was damaged due to melting snow, the surviving member Yuri Yudkin was very surprised to find out he had another camera on him, he said there were only four cameras on the trip and only saw Zolortarov with one camera which was still in the tent indicating he kept it secret, he was also clutching a empty note pad and pen as if he was about to write something down.

His injuries were server, his eyes were missing alone with the soft tissue of his left eyebrow exposing bone, a open wound on the right side if his skull with exposed bone, his chest on the right side of his body was crushed causing broken ribs and haemorrhaging into his heart possibly causing his death.

It was notes that his and Lyudmila’s injures appeared in such a way without any damage to the soft tissues on their chests were very similar to the type of trauma that results from the shock wave of a bomb. Aleksander and Zolortarov were found embraced back to breast as if Aleksander was trying to warm Zolortarov. Aleksander was again well dressed for the outdoors in full ski gear except boots and a hat, his ski jacked was unbuttoned and unzipped. His sweater waistband and lower parts of his trousers later tested radioactive.

His injuries were missing soft tissue around his eyes, his eyebrows were missing exposing bone, an open wound behind his ear and his neck was deformed, some speculate that he could have had his neck broken or strangled which was a common sign of killing specially by special forces but very strangely the coroner never went into depth about the deformed neck and kept it out of the report, hyperthermia was states as cause of death.

Nikolay Thibeaux-Brignolle was well protected against the Siberian winter complete with hat and boots. It was suggested that he and Zolotaryov might have been outside of the tent at the time a mysterious threat struck them. This explains why both hikers wore shoes and were covered by several layers of clothes. Both men were much better prepared than the rest of the group when they were forced to abandon their tent.

His injuries were yet again sustained in a mysterious way, he had multiple fractures to his temporal bone, bruise on his upper lip and haemorrhaging on his lower forearm, the coroner excluded accidental fall on the rocks as a possible cause for such a massive and unusual fracture, death was still stated as hyperthermia.So there we are, those are the facts surrounding the mysterious deaths, it may have been abit long winded but important in trying to piece together what may have happened. But the more you look into the case the more it just seems to present more questions than answers

The yeti theory

One theory suggests that during their journey, the group may have encountered a mysterious creature, possibly a yeti or abominable snowman, lurking in one of the forests within the valley. It is believed that the group became aware of its presence, causing them to decide against camping in the wooded valley below out of fear. Instead, they opted to set up camp on the slopes.

As a precaution, the hikers chose not to use their stove that night and opted for cold food, hoping to avoid any scents that might attract the creature. However, during the night, the yeti employed a tactic using infrasound in its scream, luring the hikers out of their tents. Frightened and disoriented, they were compelled to flee toward the wooded valley below, while the yeti rummaged through their tents.

Upon reaching the wooded valley, the yeti swiftly attacked the two hikers who had gathered around the fire, slamming them into a cedar tree. It then pursued the three remaining fleeing hikers. Meanwhile, the other four hikers, taking the clothes from the two by the fire, fled and sought refuge by constructing a makeshift den in an attempt to hide from the creature. Unfortunately, the yeti managed to track them down and launched a swift attack.

This theory was based on two things, on the night that the group were attacked they wrote a mock paper and one of the headlines read “in recent years there has been a heated debated about the existence of yeti, according to recent reports, yeti lives in the northern Ural near mount Otorten” very similar to the Discovered newspaper inside the tent that read "Russian Yeti: The killer lives" Libecki quotes a cryptic passage written in a newspaper the students brought with them “From now on we know that the snowmen exist".

And from photo no.17 of Nikolay’s camera showing a blurry figure emerging from out behind a tree.

It’s upto you to wether you believe it or not but after looking into this theory I believe it to by untrue, there were no mentions of any yeti’s sighting or being followed in any of their diaries, and when you look through the photos taken by the group it’s very clear of their playful antics that they were joking around entertaining each other keeping moral high, and what’s more no mention of tracks were found or any scenes in the environment indicating an attack had happened all information I found about this theory were highly embellished stories with little facts.

After many hours or research into the incident as well as watching recent documentary an unknown compelling force about the incident, I do suspect another darker side to this, I didn’t go into a few aspects such as an image on one of the camera’s showing what looks like blurry lights in the sky which could have been from testing new military equipment or a rocket, although officially no rockets were being tested near Ortoten, it’s not past the realms of possibilities. From reading all about the evidence and piecing together the investigation I think that what happened that night had to have been something threatening coming from above up higher on the slopes for all of the members feel like they were in certain danger, and that shortly after they witnessed something that they shouldn’t know about possibly something military or they were ambushed by another group of natives.

Based on the clothing reports, it appears that all of the hikers gathered at the fire near the cedar tree at some point. However, based on the nature of their injuries, I believe they were attacked, and some of them fought back. The three individuals found up the slope had abrasions and bruises consistent with a physical altercation. It has been mentioned that a flashlight was discovered on top of the tent, switched on, which leads me to believe that Igor, Zinaida, and Rustem were heading back to the tent using it as a reference point after witnessing the deaths of their friends. It is possible that they were attacked while retreating, possibly interrogated, before the attention turned to the remaining four who met a similar fate.

This is merely my theory, and there is no way for me to truly know what happened. However, delving deep into this case, reading their diaries and viewing their photographs, I feel a sense of connection to them. It is a tragic event that they were so young, barely in their twenties when their lives were abruptly taken away. I hope they found peace before passing on.

If you wish to further explore the case and read their diaries or view the group picture, you can find them on

However, I must warn you that the site contains post-mortem photos, and if you are sensitive, I do not recommend seeking them out as they may only bring sadness. As time progresses, new information may come to light, and we may revisit this case.