Scans of the documents of the official investigation including that of the tent
Location: Dyatlov Pass, Sverdlovsk Oblast Map
Dyatlov Pass Den
Newspapers and reports concerning UFO activity in the area of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
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.
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
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 expertise.
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 mountain. 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.
The group headed by 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 Pass
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.
Original 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 be compared.
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 station.
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 Investigation
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 Newspapers and Theories section
An 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 slope?
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.
A 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 women.
Map is based on notes left by Maslenikov who participated in a search of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
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.
Three tourists 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 Pass.
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 had her 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 and violent.
Dyatlov Pass Incident became mysterious and puzzling right from the start. Many theories have surfaced as soon as the bodies were found. Natural 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 by car.
Dyatlov Pass 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 Pass Incident.
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?
Tent of 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.
Nine tourists 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.
During 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 carried them.
Missing tongue and eyes. 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, even 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?
False 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.
No. Dyatlov 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 Theories section or Dyatlov Pass Newspaper.
Dyatlov Group 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 decomposition.
Last four 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 death.
Dyatlov Group 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.
Ultrasound 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.
Metal pieces 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 findings.
This section is destined to get longer as we will come up with new myths and legends that surround the Dyatlov Pass Incident.
The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass Тайна перевала Дятлова: 2000, TAU (Ural Television Agency) (ТАУ - Телевизионное Агентство Урала, 2000г.)
The September 9, 2011 episode of Ancient Aliens (Season 3, Episode 10: "Aliens and Evil Places") from the History Channel deals with the incident.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident, a film directed by Renny Harlin, was released on February 28, 2013
Dyatlov Pass Incident was also covered in the August 25, 2012 episode of Dark Matters: Twisted But True in the segment entitled "Cold War, Cold Case"
Dyatlov Pass Incident figures prominently in the 2012 novel City of Exiles by Alec Nevala-Lee.
Dyatlov Pass Incident was featured on a Russian reality television show "Pust Govoryat" during a two hour special in April 2013
Leave below a comment and help us selecte the best dyatlov pass documentary that you think tells the story the best. Thank you.