Avalanche in Dyatlov Pass Incident


Danger of avalanche in the region of Dyatlov Pass Incident is not common. The Kholat Syakhl mountain is not very tall and it is certainly not very steep. Furthermore the opponents of this theory suggest that tourist diaries report a fairly thin snow cover. However these facts doesn't exclude the possibility of a small avalanche in a small area of Dyatlov Pass. A portion of the upper layer of snow could simply shift and role over the tourists as a slab of snow. This could damage the tent and create havoc among tourists who were suddenly trapped underneath several feet of snow. It would certainly explain why the tent was cut from inside. Further retreat from Dyatlov Pass would be necessary if the tourists were worried a second avalanche can strike again. According to the supporters of this theory Dyatlov Group tried to make their way back to the Auspiya river and instead made a fatal mistake by descending into a valley of the Lozva river. After 4 weeks the snow that was rushed down the slope of the mountain was simply blown off by the strong winds that are common in the region. This would erase all signs of a natural disaster.


However this theory about Dyatlov Pass Incident has its gaps. From what we can tell from the naked footprints left by the group everyone seemed to descent with relative ease. It is highly unlikely that three people with broken ribs and flail chest would be transportable at all. And here we see several badly damaged men and a woman walk without problems or even help from any of the members of the group. Secondly these men and women were experienced and well trained. They knew that chances of freezing to death is more likely than getting killed by an avalanche. Although the removal of the damaged tent from an exposed mountain side of Dyatlov Pass was out of the question, they had to retrieve all their warm clothes. And finally if you see on the pictures on February 1st on the left and February 26th (according to Vadim Brusnicin who is sitting on a slope of the mountain with his back toward the camera man) on the right you can see part of the tourist gear that kept its vertical position on the slope weeks after the tragedy stroke. Furthermore the entrance of the tent is clearly elevated. Only the middle portion collapse probably due to hasty escape or weigh of snow simply collecting here.



Swiss researchers concluded that the avalanche that killed Igor Dyatlov's group in 1959 originated on a relatively gentle hill due to powerful winds and the actions of the tourists themselves, who set up a tent in an unfortunate place. An article with the results of their research was published by the scientific journal Communications Earth & Environment.

"If Dyatlov and his group had not cleared part of the hillside of snow when installing the tent, no tragedy would have happened. This was the main, but not the only reason for the avalanche. Due to strong katabatic winds, there was a lot of snow on the part of the hill that overhung the tent. After a while, a crack appeared there, and the snow layer split," said Alexander Puzrin, one of the authors of the work, professor at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL).

A tourist group led by Igor Dyatlov died in the Northern Urals in the winter of 1959 under mysterious circumstances. There are more than a hundred versions of the death of tourists – from an accident to paranormal phenomena and tests of military equipment.

60 years after the tragedy, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation initiated an investigation into the causes of the death of Dyatlov's group due to appeals from relatives of the victims, the interest of the media and society. In July 2020, investigators of the Prosecutor General's Office said that the cause of the death of tourists was an avalanche and the fact that young people could not find the tent after they left it due to poor visibility.

The arguments of the representatives of the department did not convince many Russians. Skepticism is due to the fact that the slope of the hill on which the tent was located was too gentle for enough snow to accumulate there for a sudden avalanche, and the injuries on the tourists' bodies were not similar to the damage that usually causes such disasters.

Swiss researchers have found a plausible explanation for these oddities. They drew attention to a pattern that usually escapes the attention of skeptics. The fact is that avalanches and landslides often do not begin immediately after the event that initiates them.

The reason for the death of Dyatlov's group
Guided by this idea, Professor Puzrin and his colleagues calculated how the snow cover behaved after the arrival of tourists. When calculating, the researchers took into account not only the topography of the area, but also the fact that the snow on the slopes of the hill where the tourist tent was located consisted of several layers with different densities and mechanical properties.

As a rule, the upper parts of the snow cover consist of relatively loose and loose snow, which is located above a denser layer of compressed snow. Below is another soft layer that covers the icy ground.

Calculations by scientists have shown that Dyatlov's group set up a tent in one of the most unfortunate places, both taking into account the topography of the area and the peculiarities of the structure of the snow cover. In particular, it was located on one of the steepest sections of the hill, which was inclined by 30 degrees. To install it, tourists dug a small hole, violating the integrity of the solid layer of snow, which prevented the rest of the layers from moving downhill.

At first, the snow mass did not begin to move down, this happened much later – due to the fact that katabatic winds, that is, powerful air flows that move down the mountain slopes, gradually covered the upper part of the destroyed formation with even more snow. As a result, the solid layer inside it burst, and the entire snow mass collapsed directly on the tent with sleeping tourists.

Puzrin has no doubt that the calculations carried out by his team will not convince all skeptics who prefer to believe conspiracy theories rather than investigators or scientists. Nevertheless, the researcher emphasizes, the new theory unequivocally shows that the avalanche could really destroy Dyatlov's group, and also explained how it could have formed.