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About Dyatlov Pass Incident Project
You might notice that
our version of events is slightly different from that stated on
other sites. The explanation is simple, while we did serious
in-depth research on the subject, many other sites (even our beloved
Wikipedia) bases their information on fictitious Russian journal
articles that often twisting the truth, made up scandalous facts and simply lied. The truth,
however, sometimes might be stranger than fiction. Dyatlov Pass
Incident is one of the these instances. In end of the article we
will mention several commonly held beliefs and facts that are wrong.
We gathered an extensive amount of information on the Dyatlov Pass
Incident including the official documents, diaries, oral testimonies
and other information. Currently, we are working on translating the
documents of the official investigation. We don't offer answers, but
we are working on providing you with the full documentation on the
case. If you have any question or want clarification feel free to
leave your comment below.
Dyatlov Pass Incident is a dramatic
and mysterious true story that unfolded in Sverdlovsk Oblast
of USSR in 1959. It occurred on the eastern slopes of Kholat
Syakhl mountain (literally "Mountain of the Dead" or "Dead
Mountain" in native Mansi language) in the Ural mountains.
The circumstances that surround it are so bizarre and
strange that to this day they escape explanation. It could
be dismissed as a hoax, but real documents, photo, archives,
autopsy and other official documents prove that the story of
Dyatlov Pass Incident is quite real.
Dyatlov Pass Incident and Kholat Syakhl
Mount Kholat Syakhl
(Dyatlov Pass is located on the side of the mountain) gets its name from the local language of the Mansi
tribe of the Siberian Natives. Literally, it means the Mountain of the Dead
so it gained negative notoriety long before the Dyatlov Pass
Incident. According to the legend,
nine Mansi hunters stayed here overnight during their hunting trip. The next morning all nine were found dead by their friends. None of them showed any signs of violent death.
Hence, the mountain
and nearby Dyatlov Pass became regarded as haunted, but it was never
considered sacred. Local native
tribes avoided the peak and never ventured here. Mansi as well as
most other tribes were never actually conquered by the European
settlers. Instead they co- existed for centuries with little contact
on vast stretches of land. Igor Dyatlov was particularly fascinated
by these people and even made up his own Mansi- Russian dictionary
that he took on his last trip.
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
are dying here. The cause of death often escapes rational explanation.
Mysterious number nine seems to play a weird role in the demise of
many tourists, geologists and all
those who dared to visit this place.
Schematic map of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
Timeline 1959 Jan 23 The group (10) takes train No.43
from Sverdlovsk to the city of Serov. Jan 24 The group
(10) arrives at Serov in the morning where Krivo was
detained for soliciting and singing out loud, and released,
and a drunk accuses them of having stolen his vodka. Jan
25 The group (10) arrives by train in Ivdel and takes the
bus to Vizhay Jan 26 A truck takes the group to a logging
community called 41st settlement (aka 41st district or
quarter) Jan 27 The group hires a sled for 24 km to
North-2 mining settlement (abandoned) Jan 28 Yuri Yudin
goes back with the sled due to poor healt (sciatica), the
group now consist of 9 members they spend the night on the
banks of Lozva river Jan 29 The group on skis makes their
way from Lozva to Auspiya river where they spend the night
Jan 30 The group pitches their tent on the banks of Auspiya
river Jan 31 The group spends the night on the banks of
Auspiya river and leaves provisions on a raised platform
(labaz) to lighten their backpacks for the ascent Feb 1
The group starts late, goes 500 m off their planned route
and pitch their tent on the north slope of Kholat Syakhl
what is nowadays called Dyatlov Pass is not where they went
but where they intended to go Feb 2 All members of
Dyatlov Group die. Some deaths are easily explained, while
other are hard to explain Feb 12 The group was expected
back in Vizhay Feb 21 Search parties are on their way
after initial hesitancy of the officials Feb 26 Slobtsov
finds the tent Prosecutor Vasiliy Tempalov opens an
official investigation Feb 27 Bodies of Doroshenko,
Krivonischenko (by Sharavin and Strelnikov), Kolmogorova (by
Moiseev rescue dog) and Dyatlov (mansi Kurikov group) are
found Mar 2 The cache (labaz) is found by Slobtsov and
Kurikov Mar 4 Autopsy of Doroshenko, Krivonischenko,
Dyatlov and Kolmogorova Mar 5 Body of Slobodin is found
by Karelin and soldiers from Lt. Potapov group Mar 8
Autopsy of Slobodin Mar 9 Doroshenko and Kolmogorova are
buried in Mihayovskoe cemetery Krivonischenko is buried
in Ivanovskoe Cemetery Mar 10 Dyatlov and Slobodin are
buried in Mihaylovskoe cemetery Mar 17 Vladimir Korotaev
is fired and Lev Ivanov is assigned as a lead investigator
April May 5 Den and bodies of Dubinina, Kolevatov,
Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov are found (by Askinadzi)
May 9 Autopsy of Dubinina, Kolevatov and Thibeaux-Brignolle
and Zolotaryov May 12 Dubinina, Kolevatov and
Thibeaux-Brignolle are buried in Mihaylovskoe cemetery
Zolotaryov is buried in Ivanovskoe cemetery May 27
Radiation analysis report on clothes and tissues of
Dubinina, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov
May 28 Case is closed
May 29 Levashev is invited for a follow up on a report on
radiation. Possible involvement of the KGB closes official
investigation and opens up a secret KGB investigation. No
physical proof of the latter however. But it is
theoretically possible, given that it is their sphere of
The story of Dyatlov Pass Incident starts
on January 1959 in Sverdlovsk (it is currently known as
Yekaterinburg) in Sverdlovsk Oblast (still known as Sverdlovsk
Oblast) of Russia. Several students from Ural Polytechnic Institute (Уральский Политехнический Институт, УПИ) currently known as Ural State Technical Institute intended to climb Mount Otorten (Отортен)
in the Ural Mountains
(a geographic border between Europe and Asia).
Several Russian journalists claimed that in Mansi language,
the name Otorten can be translated as "Don't go there".
However this is a myth. Name Otorten comes from a Mansi word Wot-
tar- tan Syakhl and it means "goose mountain" as it was believed
that after a great floor only one goose survived on top of the
Mansi didn't regard this peak as haunted, but open slopes of its
peak made ascension quite difficult and unpleasant.
At the time
of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, this path was classified as Category III route and regarded as the
hardest of its class.
It should be noted here that neither Otorten, nor Kholat
Syakhl were held as religiously significant. They were
forbidden as they were dangerous to people, not sacred.
Sacred lands were visited by the Mansi people, forbidden
lands were avoided. Several false theories have emerged
about religious significant of this place to the native
Siberians, but these are mostly Russian yellow press trying
to make a buck. They have no credibility. In fact most of
false facts and legends were invented in the 90's by the
journalists from Russia, so this is no exception.
The whole ski track was about 350 km in length and was
carried out to commemorate 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
It was a common practice to dedicate trips in honor of the
party, cause most of gear was provided by the University and
they used any opportunity to boast achievements of the
Communist party. However, none of the members of the Dyatlov
group were actually members of the Communist party.
Igor Dyatlov initially consisted of 10 people. However one of them, Yuriy
Yudin, got sick so he was forced to cancel his trip prematurely at
Second Severniy (Northern) village. Yuriy returned home. Thus only nine people started the ascent to the mountain Kholat Syakhl through a nameless pass that later will become known as a Dyatlov Pass.
No one saw them alive after this.
Toward the end of
the same February, the group failed to communicate. Officials were
initially hesitant to start a search and rescue operation.
They even lied that there was a contact with a Dyatlov group
and they were simply delayed by the natural elements. A rescue party made up
of local authorities, student volunteers and Mansi guides repeated the path taken by the group and found the last base
camp of the tourists on February 26th. The next day,
on February 27th they also discovered 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.
Diary of the Dyatlov Group discovered on Dyatlov
Dyatlov Group Diary -
You can see more pictures
from the last trip to Dyatlov Pass and step by step walkthrough of
the journey to the Dyatlov pass incident.
Dyatlov group diary of the
Dyatlov 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
description of an event. There was not enough time to do it in the
settings of harsh Siberian winter. Just
a few words to remember.
Dyatlov Group Diary is not the only one that was found
in the tent. There is another short diary that was also
discovered. Official criminal investigation gave an
ownership to Zina Kolmogorova. However, her friends
claimed that the hand- writing and the style of the
diary do not match that of Zina. Government officials
did not find this fact to the be worthy of note and
simply claimed it was hers. Whatever might be the case
you are welcome to take a look and make up your own mind
about its ownership. After all Dyatlov group diary was
written by several members and their writing style can
The third alleged diary on the Dyatlov Group belonged to
Kolevatov. Several people including Yury Yudin (only
surviving member of the Dyatlov Group) claimed that he
took his diary with him on his last hiking trip on the
Dyatlov Pass. Yet it
was never discovered or at least its whereabouts are
unknown. Kolevatov diary disappeared from the slopes of
the Dyatlov Pass or was later removed from the police
Last pictures of the Dyatlov Group
Frames 31 and 32 from the Krivonischenko camera
These are the last
proven pictures of the Dyatlov group made on February 1st, 1959 as they crossed Dyatlov Pass
and began ascent of Kholat Syakhl mountain. Records show that the sun set behind
the horizon at 5:02 pm on this date. Pictures were made just before the night descended on the mountain. Judging by photos they are well equipped
and 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
Dyatlov Pass Incident. Hypothermia and confusion can set it much quicker in these conditions. Disorientation on
unfamiliar terrain can happen very quickly and might result in
a death of an unlucky victim. Nevertheless, Igor Dyatlov and his group set up a tent on a
barren slope of the Kholat Syakhl mountain. Some
members of search party testified that there was no firewood present
in the Dyatlov Group tent. 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.
Last frames of the unknown camera shows Dyatlov Group
setting up a base for the tent
"In one of the cameras kept a photo frame (made by a
tourist), which depicts the moment of snow excavation
for the installation of the tent. Given that this shot
was taken with an exposure of 1/25 sec. with the
diaphragm 5.6 at 65 units of GOST sensitivity of the
film, as well as taking into account the density of the
frame, it can be assumed that the installation of the
tent started about 5 pm 02.01.1959 year. A similar
picture was taken, by another device.
After this time, no recording, and no photograph has not
been detected. "
- Decision to dismiss criminal case. Official Criminal
Last Picture of
the Dyatlov Pass Incident
Frame 33 from the Krivonischenko camera and unknown shot
This picture puzzles many people
who are interested in the Dyatlov Pass Incident. One of these
pictures (named frame 33) was labeled in the official investigation
as belonging to Krivonischenko. Another frame has no labeling so we
don't know who it belongs to. Search party discovered several cameras
around the site of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. However, only
Krivonischenko camera had its lens open and ready to shoot. So it
logical to assume that both pictures were made by Krivonischenko.
Many people suggested that these photos
were simply damaged by the elements. But it is also
possible that Krivonischenko and several members of the
team, those heads are visible on the right photo
actually tried to make a sense of some strange event
that was unfolding before them. Apparently the quality
of their camera did not allow a good image.
Faint borders and unclear
focus makes it hard to determine
what was really pictured. Some see a man with his hands raised and something flashing or burning in the background.
While others see the entrance of the tent from the inside.
The picture on the right seem to portray a glowing
object with the heads of tourists below. Many explanations have surfaced. There is no agreement on its nature, though.
Several reports of the glowing orbs were made at the time of the
Dyatlov Incident. These are addressed in- depth in the
interesting detail was found on the body of Zolotarev.
He left the tent dressed lightly, but he had a camera on
him. It was damaged by the stream, but the question
remains. Who or what did he try to capture on the barren
Discovery of the Victims of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
The strange event that forced Dyatlov group to abandon
the tent is still unknown and it is largely disputed.
However, it is plausible that at the time Nikolai
Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle and Alexander "Semen"
Zolotarev stood outside of the tent as they were better
dressed than the rest of the group. Tourists of the
Dyatlov Pass group had little or no footwear even though
they always carried two sets of shoes for hiking
("valenki"- traditional Russian winter foot- wear) and
another set of boots for sleeping inside the tent.
search party discovered the Dyatlov Group tent on
February 26th. It was cut from the inside with a knife.
Tourist itself was filled with food, warm clothes and
anything that could have saved lives of young men and
Map is based on notes left by Maslenikov
who participated in a search of the Dyatlov Pass
Dyatlov Group tourists
descended straight down the mountain slope and reached a large cedar at
the boundary where the forest ended. Two men (Doroshenko and
Krionischenko) stayed under a cedar and even started a
fire. They stayed behind and tried to keep the
fire going. The rest of the group descended even further and
constructed a den in the branch of the Lozva river. Once Dyatlov
Group returned to the cedar they discovered
that the two men dead of possible 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. They used knives to cut these clothes since rigor mortis
probably set it. We can't blame them as they tried to
save themselves by all means possible. However presence
of the semi naked bodies under the cedar gave rise to a
popular legend about "paradoxical undressing".
Unfortunately even Wikipedia mentions it as a possible
explanation for the Dyatlov Pass Incident.
of the Dyatlov Group, Dyatlov, Slobodin and Kolmogorova, decided to return to the tent.
Whatever caused them to flee their base camp on a first
place either passed or the tourists assumed that it did.
They tried to walk up the mountain, but
fell from exhaustion and coldness. All five bodies including the two
under the cedar and the three on the slopes were
discovered on February 27th. Since all the corpses
were barely dressed and found in the line, first
searchers assumed that they were blown out
of the tent.
Additionally, the search party found two flashlights
on a site of a Dyatlov Pass Incident.
Once Chinese flashlight was found on top the ripped tent. It was
covered by 5- 10 cm of snow. Boris Slobtsov turned it on
and it was in a working condition. Another flashlight
was discovered by the third ridge around 400 meters down
a slope. Batteries were drained so there was no point of
carrying it. This flashlight was probably dropped by one of the members of the
Dyatlov Group on the way down the slope of the Dyatlov
The other four members, Zolotarev, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-
Brignolle and Dubinina, returned to the tent where they
have met their gruesome end. Their ribs were broken, the
skull of Thibeaux- Brignolle was broken, eyes were
removed in some of the bodies. Additionally, Dubinina
tongue missing. Bodies of the last four members of
the Dyatlov members was discovered in late spring by
Mansi hunters. Their deaths were classified as unnatural
Pass Incident became mysterious and puzzling right from
the start. Many
theories have surfaced as soon as the bodies were
factors were blamed, special forces, Mansi attack. Some even
considered Yeti, UFO or other supernatural attacks. But to this day we don't have a single concrete
answer that explained all the evidences and founding 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,
the official autopsy of the Russian tourists as well as major theories
for the explanation of this event. You can add your own theory of the
Dyatlov Pass Incident if you'd like.
Today you can get to Dyatlov Pass by foot, helicopter and even
Strange, Mysterious and unexplained facts surrounding the Dyatlov Pass Incident
Incident was never classified, but numerous testimonies
(particularly the Mansi people) was simply tossed out and
ignored. Description of the missing tongue is
intentionally vague. In fact the autopsy of the last four
victims (found in the den) that show violent deaths were
surprisingly short. It is hard to say whether the
prosecutor tried to make his life easier or whether he
had orders from Moscow. We will never know why, but there
was tampering with the evidence.
We should also
mention that the confusion comes from inability to
distinguish between the MVD (the Police) investigation and
a KGB investigation. We already talked about MVD
investigation, but KGB investigation that probably was
initiated was certainly classified. We say "probably
initiated" for two reasons. Dyatlov Pass Incident involved
radiation and it was a state affair by default. Secondly
after the investigation clearly showed the presence of
radioactivity that was well beyond natural amount Dyatlov
Pass Incident investigation suddenly stops. Lets look at
the dates. Radioactivity is established on May 27th, on
May 28th the investigation is over and on 29th Levashov
(who was in charge of the radioactivity report) is asked
repeatedly on the nature of his findings and confirms that
this level of radiation couldn't possibly be due to a
natural exposure. The timing between closure of the case
and a discovery (or confirmation) that radiation was
present is curious to say the least. You would think that
any prosecutor would love to solve such a mystery. It
would honor the dead and it would preserve lives from
subsequent radiation exposure if it is still found on the
Dyatlov Pass. But
Ivanov doesn't. He simply closes the case of the Dyatlov
Yury Yudin, an
original member of the group in his last interview in 2012 claimed that KGB agents did
question him. As we said earlier presence of radiation
had to trigger the involvement of the KGB. But major
question remain unanswered: did the KGB merely respond
to the Dyatlov Pass Incident or did they try to hide
their guilt in the death of the students?
the Dyatlov Group
was ripped from the inside. Initially, this fact was overlooked, but a woman who worked for the police department laundry services clearly identified that the damage came from the inside.
Her explanation was simple and ingenious. She looked on the inside
of the Dyatlov Group tent and saw several cuts made to the inside
surface. Not all of these cuts made it all the way through the canvas,
but it gave an idea the location of a person or persons who did it.
Further expertise proved her hypothesis to be correct
(scans from the criminal investigation analysis of the tents is
available here Additional Documentation).
However, no one was able to identify who and why made these cuts. Lack of eye
witnesses to the Dyatlov Pass Incident left many people to speculate
that where was someone else on the slopes of the Dyatlov Pass.
Additionally, search and rescue party admitted that they increased
existing holes by ripping the pre- existing cuts. We can't even tell
for sure if the Dyatlov Group members used this alternative way to leave
the tent. Some theories about the Dyatlov Pass Incident claim that these
cuts were made by whoever forced the group out of the tent and used
these holes to keep an eye on the slope of Kholat Syakhl mountain.
left the tent with little clothes while outside temperature dipped to -30°C (-22°F). Most of them lacked proper footwear. Warm clothes, boots
were 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
ski poles show signs of damage made by the knife. Many theories and
explanations have surfaced, but no one could give a proper answer on
why would tourists damage such an important part of their equipment.
the criminal investigation into the Dyatlov Pass Incident, someone came up with an idea to test the
clothes of the dead skiers for radiation. Clothes of George (Yuri) Krivonischenko
were positive for the presence of the beta radiation.However, bodies themselves did not show a trace of radiation.
The question remains. Who came up with this strange procedure and why was it even carried out
in a first place?
The reaction of the officials
was also surprising. The tests were carried out between May 18 and May 25 of 1959. And on May 28th
just three days after the presence of radioactivity was confirmed the case was
officially closed. This is more than just peculiar given the circumstances.
It is possible that the investigation into the Dyatlov Pass
Incident did continue but under the supervision of detectives from
the KGB, not police.
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
the Dyatlov group at least one of the cameras went missing.
Strange unidentified cloth "obmotki"
or puttee was found near the bodies.
This is an old version of protection for feet worn by soldiers in
the Red Army. It is a long narrow band that was wrapped around shoes
to protect the feet of servicemen from natural elements. They were faded
out in the 1940's during World War II, but many veterans kept it
after their service. According to Yury Yudin no one in the group
The cause is unknown. What makes the fact more mysterious is
a lack of coherent explanation or description of the damage.
The 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.
It might indicative that the Dyatlov Pass Incident was more
complicated that a mere case of hypothermia
Semen Zolotarev introduces himself as "Alexander" to the group. In fact,
a 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 like watches, alcohol, and blankets remained in place.
Nothing valuable was taken.
Zolotarev left the tent exposed to the natural
elements, yet he had the time to take his camera along. The water
have damaged the film and we can't use it, but still the question
remains. All the actions of the Dyatlov Group appear logical. They
build a fire, they dig a den to keep themselves warm, they try to
make it back to the tent once they feel it is safe to do so. But
why would you take the camera with you?
Facts About Dyatlov Pass Incident
Now that we stated
facts that are true let's dispel numerous "facts" that
circulating around the internet concerning the Dyatlov Pass
Incident. These statements were
probably taken from the Russian articles that were published
in the past 30 years. In the English speaking area of the
internet they keep reposted in various versions. So without
much edo, lets start.
never said that Yeti actually exists. There was some
reported activity in the area of the Dyatlov Pass
Incident of a creature that we Westerners know as Yeti,
but these were rumors and only Mansi hunters reported
attacks on their reindeer, not humans. For more
information on the subject you can check out
section or Dyatlov
members did not show premature aging.
There was no
expression of fear or horror on their faces.
Skin color was
different, but the tone was consistent with normal
victims were buried in zinc coffins. It is a cheap
available material for coffins. There is nothing amazing
or peculiar about this fact. In fact Russian expressions
like "zinc suit" or "zinc dress" is an euphemism for
had no rifle on them. The confusion comes from an old
photo of one of the Dyatlov group members. He went on
another journey where one of men held a rifle. This
picture is from a different trip and a different group.
theory is cute, but the retreat from a tent wasn't so
chaotic. As far as we know no one was running as members
stayed together. Group was organized. A flashlight was
taken (presumably) by the group and abandoned 400 meters
since its batteries were dead. These are actions of organized people
who were thinking straight. Whatever caused them to flee
was destructive enough to loose their minds.
from planes are from later crashed in the area of the
Dyatlov Pass Incident. They
were not present at the time of the Dyatlov Pass
Incident. At least search party didn't record any
This section is
destined to get longer as we will come up with new myths
and legends that surround the Dyatlov Pass Incident.