132. The Dyatlov Pass Incident

01 Jun
The tent was found to have been cut open from the inside

The abandoned camp and damaged tent

2 February 1959, a group of nine ski hikers in the Russian Ural mountains died in a most bizarre fashion. Killed by what, no one is sure. There were no eyewitnesses, all of those present died in an unnamed pass on the eastern side of the mountain Kholat Syakhl, a Mansi name meaning mountain of the dead. After the incident the pass collected a name for itself, Dyatlov Pass after the group leader Igor Dyatlov.

The whole thing began with ten people, 8 men and 2 women took the journey. In the depths of winter the group planned to traverse the northern Ural mountains and arrive at Otorten, a mountain only 10km from Dyatlov Pass. The majority were students and graduates from the Ural Poly-technical Institute, all experienced in mountains expeditions and the suchlike, with good reason, for in those harsh conditions the route was considered category III, the hardest type of passable route. On 27 January they left from Vizhai, the most northern inhabited settlement in the region. All was well until the next day when the Yuri Yudin fell ill and went back to Vizhai. The other nine carried on to their deaths.

Piecing together diary entries and rolls of film it is possible to deduce that they went on for the next 4 days with little of great import or note occurring, they were just having a jolly romp through the snow and wind blasted Russian mountainside. Then there was a little blip on February 1st, rather unpleasant weather such as snowstorms and general low visibility severely impaired their progress. The group lost their way and instead of going over the pass and setting up camp they wandered westwards, heading for the top of the mountain of the dead. Upon the realisation of their mistake they decided to just set up camp there on the mountains eastern slopes.

A police helicopter on location

Then nothing, the groups records stop there and it took a long time for an investigation into their disappearance to begin. The delay of course was reasonable, the group had planned to return to the nearest settlement, Vizhai, by 12 February and send a telegraph back to the group sports club. February 12 passed, but delays were normal in these types of expeditions, it was category III after all. So nothing happened. It was only in February 20 that the families of tThe hikers insisted that a search party be sent out looking for the lost party, and so it went. A quickly cobbled together assembly of volunteer students and teachers from the sports club went looking.Then police planes and helicopters joined them, after 6 days of searching, the camp was found.

It was totally abandoned. The group tent was badly damaged, the police investigation suggested that it had been cut open from inside. From the camp was a chain of footprints 500m long heading in the direction of the woods to the North-East, 1.5 km away. By following the approximate direction the police did find a pine tree of certain significance. Beneath the branches of the large old pine tree were the remains of a fire and the dead bodies of Krivonischenko and Doroschenko. They were both dresses in their underwear and nothing more. Between the camp and the pine tree were a further 3 bodies, those of Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Slobodin. They were found between 300 and 600m away from the tree and all in poses suggesting an attempt to return to camp. The initial legal inquest suggested deaths from Hypothermia. No single member of the group had any injuries nearly life threatening enough to suggest murder and although one member had a small crack in their skull it was found to be non-lethal.

That however was five people, and there were nine people. The search went on for the last four people, it took 2 months to find them. All four dead. On May 4 they were located found to be further within the woods itself, buried beneath 4 metres of snow in a ravine beyond the great pine. The legal inquest into these four bodies completely changed the situation. One had major damage to his skull whilst two more had major chest fractures. One expert said that the force required for such major damage would be comparable to a car crash. However, there were no external wounds, no bruising. It was as if they had been killed by a great pressure crushing them. One woman in the group on closer inspection was found to have no tongue.

Some suspected the local Mansi people had attacked but that theory was soon ousted. There were neither footprints in the immediate area, nor in the neighbouring areas. Additionally no sign was found of a hand-to-hand struggle. At the end of the second inquest the following was found to have happened.

In the middle of the night the group was awoken and forced to leave their camp; the tent was torn open from the inside and the group left camp, all in various states of undress. Some of them had only one shoe, while others had no shoes or wore only socks. Some were found to be wrapped in fine strips of clothing as though their clothes had been cut from their dead bodies. The storm was still blowing and the temperature was −25° to −30°C.

The removal of clothes was attributed to ‘paradoxical undressing’, which is a cause of 25% of Hypothermia deaths. In moderate to severe Hypothermia the sufferer is confused and becomes aggressive, removing their clothes due to feeling hot, thus increasing heat loss and exposing them to further heat loss. It was concluded that this paradoxical undressing explained the groups collective lack of clothes.

Six of the hikers died from Hypothermia whilst the other 3 died from injuries too strong to have been inflicted by another human being. Forensic tests showed high radiation levels on 4 of the victims’ clothes. Not to forget, one of the female hikers also had a tongue missing. It was acknowledged that her tongue had degraded quickly due to the action of microorganisms, it had not been forcefully removed.

The final verdict was that the group had all been killed by a “compelling unknown force”. Due to the “absence of a guilty party” the investigation ceased in May 1959 and the files were sent to a secret archive. In the 1990’s the photocopies of the files finally became available to the public with parts missing. For 3 years after the incident, the surrounding area was off-limits for the next 3 years. The next group up there put up a posthumous monument to the victims.

Conspiracy theorists were only encouraged by the missing parts of the documents, filling in the gaps with their ideas and claiming that the officials simply missed or ignored some facts. The relatives when spoken to after the funerals commented that the bodies had a strange brown tan. That was probably a normal tan. Another, more bizarre claim was a reported sighting by another hiking group 50km to the south; the group claims to have observed orange spheres in the night sky in the direction of Kholat Syakhl, the location of the incident. Peculiarly enough there were multiple independent sightings of thee orange spheres in February and March of that year, sources including the Military and the Meteorology service. One final piece on the pile of ignored evidence was the claim of an abundance of scrap metal in the area: leading the theorists to suggest that the military had been running secret experiments in the area but that the Soviet censoring meant that any related evidence was removed from the records.

The whole unusual experience has resulted in at least 3 books and a small television documentary in 2000. The Dyatlov foundation has since been founded and still campaigns for the police to reopen the investigation. This whole incident can be summed up by the words of the groups only survivor, Yuri Yudin who turned back several days before the incident.

“If I had a chance to ask God just one question, it would be, ‘What really happened to my friends that night?’”

Further Reading


Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Articles


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12 responses to “132. The Dyatlov Pass Incident

  1. ermaktravel

    February 17, 2017 at 00:01

    I think this article has more information on the subject matter.

  2. Anonymous

    November 21, 2014 at 01:09

    i like cheese

  3. Bonita Marie Barnes

    July 16, 2014 at 04:24

    I don’t really know what to think except they had to feel an extreme fear.I wish there were not so many discrepenceso

  4. Anonymous

    January 13, 2014 at 00:49

    I got a bridge I can sell ya lol,,,its Russia commies lie that’s what they do. dumb dumb dumb ohhh they got a tan as their frozen bodes lay in the sun..thats sooo weird lol yea one had only one shoe on LOL as a animal is outside your tent its very hard to get fully dressed silently.the Russian govt knows more lol its was the soviet union and their was no govt, man ppl are dumb,russian believe they are free and your going on what Russian believe . good lord,help these dumb ppl. and dear god one of these idiots is a teacher giving a oral speech ,,,ahhhh what other kind would you do lol

  5. Anonymous

    January 13, 2014 at 00:40

    I once had a bear at one side of my tent and had to cut out through the other side and run into the lake near, it was summer so I didn’t freeze. done no mystery. months later bodies were found, no showing animal prints. the trama of a bears weight and cold wouldn’t make such bruises. LOL aliens lol I believe in alien life and had seen it with my own eyes,but sorry there are no violent
    where did yall go to school lol

    • Thomas Turk

      January 13, 2014 at 00:51

      If you do some googling you will find the frozen bodies of the trekkers. You will note body parts removed same as in animal mutations, the strange color of the skin etc.

  6. Thomas Turk

    December 8, 2013 at 12:57

    Those that don’t accept Dan’s UFO probabiliy no doubt think that as UFOs dont exist, (according to nasa, seti, astronomers and Govts.,) it could NOT have been a UFO.

    Open and read the Pleiadian Mission by Randoph Winters and see his uTubes with Billy Meier, to get up to date. IFOs EXIST.

    Before you scream fake/hoax, note that the Swiss et contactee Meier published data on our Solar System sometimes years ahead of nasa’s discoveries, those fron et or from his personal observation from aboard et craft.

    Meier was recently asked about this incident on his forum but doesn’t know about it.. His contacts are peaceful, and they share common ancestry with many of us.

  7. paolo

    February 18, 2012 at 08:36


  8. Dan Olson

    December 29, 2011 at 22:30

    This incident was caused by UFOs. I am 100% sure. The facts here are like cattle mutilations in the states. Both cases include missing tongues, orange lights / UFOs , Radation and crushed bones. Nothing else fits the facts not an avalanche, not military testing , not snowmen nor anything else but a UFO. The military does not test in the winter on a remote mountain and let 9 skiers hike into a radiation death zone . Its very very unlikely. Its was UFOs and the russian government knows more than what they are releasing . The pilots would not transport any of the dead bodies- WHY. The lead investigator resigned from the case- WHY.

    • Ashpoppie

      August 9, 2012 at 18:26

      The radiation was acknowledged to have been caused most probably from the mantles on the gas lamp, which were widely known to emit radiation. This is the source of the radiation found on Dubinina’s clothing. As for the pilots not transporting the bodies – I have not found any evidence of that.

    • lnyk

      April 12, 2017 at 23:01

      The Family members said some of the hikers, looked like they were from Africa.IF ONLY one survived,but NOT ONE.The tenth hiker Yuri MUST have thanked GOD he was;nt there that night.If a military blast hitting the hikers,would’nt that boil their organs,blood?If so could the M.E. tell the blood & organs were heated at a higher temperture? If they were huddled together and died from hypothermia,it would be end of story.The last picture shot from inside the tents shows to me: a giant face,almost ant-like ,white when first born.What is that line of light down by the right corner,was it the glow of THE ALIEN?

  9. Kelly Benoit

    December 13, 2011 at 17:24

    This incident is really interesting and, personally, I have no idea what happened. I’m doing an oral presentation on the incident for english class and I dont think anyone in my class will have any ideas either.


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