On the 2nd of February in 1959, nine experienced hikers mysteriously died in the Ural Mountain Range in Russia in an unexpected turn of events. The media has termed this occurrence as "The Dyatlov Pass Incident" in honor of the expedition leader Igor Dyatlov.
Rescue teams were left confused when they found the dead bodies of the hikers' bodies approximately 1 mile downhill from their camp. All the hikers were found in various states of undress. The Ural Mountain Range was covered in snow when the hikers started their expedition in the winter. It would be logical to point to hyperthermia as the cause of death.
Although it most likely played a vital role in the death of the nine hikers, it cannot be the leading cause. Why would these experienced hikers leave the safety and warmth of their camp and flee downhill? Why were some of them barefoot and others in only underwear? Other bizarre facts started to become uncovered during the investigation. Instead of aiding in the investigation, these facts about the Dyatlov Pass incident only created more mystery and confusion about what could have happened to these hikers.
Here are the top 10 facts about the Dyltlov Pass incident.
10. They were all very experienced hikers
Initially, there was a group of 10 hikers that set out to hike through the Ural Mountains. Of the 10, only 9 of them were classmates and attended the same college. Igor Dyatlov led the group on a mountain expedition to become certified mountaineers.
On the morning of the hike in January 1959, classmate and group member Yuri Yudin said he felt ill. He stayed behind and did not join his fellow hikers on the trip into the Ural Mountains to what is now known as the location of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. This decision ultimately saved his life.
Despite losing a member of their hiking team, the remaining nine mountaineers continued on their journey. They had in the past spent a great deal of time in this mountain range and had learned many different survival skills that they could put into practice if things took a turn for the worse.
Dyatlov was probably the most experienced mountaineer in the group. Having the most experience, he led this expedition, intending to experience some grueling conditions and learn how to implement their survival skills.
How does a group of experienced nature goers with good knowledge about surviving the outdoors die with little warning? Why would they abandon their camp semi-dressed and run into the snow to freeze? The group should have known better, and if one person had suffered from a psychotic break and gone screaming into the night barely clothed, why did everyone follow in the same manner?
9. The Tents Cut from the Inside
There was something that utterly terrified the hikers that night and caused them to behave erratically. The tents were found to be cut open from the inside. This can only be described as a desperate attempt from the hikers to escape their tents. The group also fled their tents and left behind all their essential survival gear.
This is a survival tactic used when being under threat of an avalanche occurring. It is quicker to cut open one tent to escape, flee to the tree line and worry about the cold later. Did the group think there was an avalanche and had to run? There was no evidence of an avalanche occurring, as the camp remained as the group left it.
They had fled the warmth of their camp into a cold night of approximately 16.6 degrees Fahrenheit, barely clothed. All jackets and warm clothing were found at the base. The group had fled without any survival and navigation supplies. This included their maps and compasses that were left untouched in the tents.
The tents had also contained three axes and two Finnish knives that are traditionally used for woodcutting. If the group had been under attack, these items could have been used as weapons to defend themselves. However, like their warm clothing and other survival items, these were left behind. I
Investigators of the Dyatlov Pass Incident have pondered over why these hikers were desperate to get out of their tents. Rather than opening the tents, they used knives to cut holes in their tent to escape. Questions also circle why they would run out on a freezing night with wearing barely any clothing.
This can be chalked up to pure desperation on the hikers' behalf. In the panic, the hikers left behind any means of survival. One of the most bizarre facts about the Dyatlov Pass incident is the abandonment of the tents and survival supplies. One hiker, Semyon Zolotary, took his camera and nothing else with him. It left investigators wondering what he might have wanted to document.
Without any evidence of an avalanche, some believe that a katabatic wind could have caused the hikers to think that an avalanche was about to occur, thus cutting themselves out of their tents and fleeing to the tree line without supplies. Other facts in the Dyatlov Pass Incident can contradict this theory.
8. The discovery of the bodies
Dyatlov and his party were only reported missing by family members on the 20th of February. Coronary reports found that the group had perished on the 2nd of February. Their bodies were left frozen in the Ural Mountains for 18 days before being reported missing and discovered.
Dyatlov and his comrades were supposed to report back to family members they had completed their hike on the 12th of February. When family members had not heard from them on the 12th, they did not think they needed to worry as hikes could take longer than expected. On the 20th of February, rescue groups set out to comb the mountains, searching for Dyatlov and his party.
The first two hikers found were discovered under a tree. Their fingernails had bits of bark under them, and it appeared that they had attempted to climb the tree but failed and had perished in the harsh elements they were exposed to. What was it these two hikers had been trying to escape from they were attempting to climb a tree? Another question for which there is no answer.
Four months had passed before all nine bodies from the Dyatlov Pass Incident were discovered. Each discovery was more chilling than the last. The rest of the group were discovered within a few 100 meters of each other. It had appeared that two hikers had tried to make their way back to the camp before succumbing to hypothermia in the snow.
One of the female hikers was found face down in a river nearby. Her injuries were consistent with frostbite as parts of her face had rotted off in the cold.
7. The strangest of All Facts About the Dyatlov Pass Incident
The bodies of the hikers from the Dyatlov Pass incident were all discovered in varying states of undress.
A known phenomenon is that when people suffer from extreme hyperthermia, they begin to undress. It is a term called paradoxical undressing. The nerves in the body start to go into a form of paralysis as the victim succumbs to hyperthermia. The victim will feel a blaze of heat surge through their body, and they begin to believe they are extremely hot rather than freezing to their death.
Five out of the nine hikers were discovered by rescue teams completely naked. This was attributed to the theory that they had indeed suffered from paradoxical undressing. Investigators learned that at least four of the other hikers were dressed in the clothing that belonged to their comrades.
It was concluded that when those suffering from paradoxical undressing started to shed their clothes, their friends scavenged the clothes they had shed to wear for themselves in an attempt to keep warm.
Why they would have abandoned their camp half-dressed and leaving behind all warm clothing necessary to survive the elements remains a mystery.
6. Radiation on the hikers
In a bizarre twist of events, investigators of the Dyatlov Pass incident discovered that some items of clothing found on the bodies of the dead hikers were radioactive.
The crazy twist here is that the actual bodies were not radioactive. Their tents, as well as some of their other abandoned items, were also radioactive. Although some articles say that the bodies were radioactive, this is not entirely true as autopsies were conducted on all the victims' bodies. No concrete evidence shows that the bodies were radioactive or showed symptoms of radiation never found that the bodies were themselves radioactive.
Their clothing, however, was radioactive. Scientists and investigators of the Dyatlov Pass Incident were very perplexed by this discovery. How was it that their clothes and other items showed signs of radiation, but their bodies didn't?
This discovery did not aid the investigation in any way. It only drove detectives into a deeper pit of mystery and created more questions that could not be answered.
Some theories of the Dyatlov Pass incident ask why the hiking gear and clothing were radioactive.
One theory that was considered but later dismissed was that the hikers came into contact with a military nuclear testing facility. This theory was rejected as no testing was conducted in the area, and none of the flora in the area was tested positive with radiation.
Another theory of the radiation found of the deceased bodies is that all the hikers were students from the Ural Polytechnical Institute. Perhaps they had come into contact with radiation there.
5. Unusual and inconsistent injuries
When investigators finally had discovered all nine bodies from the Dyatlov Pass incident, the detectives were extremely perplexed when they had to detail the injuries their bodies had sustained. Due to the below-freezing weather and the snow, the bodies of the dead hikers seemed to still be intact despite having been only discovered three months after their death.
Due to the pristine state of the bodies, medical examiners thought perhaps now they could get more clues as to what happened that fateful night the Dyatlov Pass Incident occurred.
The body of a female hiker - Dubinina - was found with her tongue and eyes missing. She did not appear to have her face eaten by an animal, nor were her eyes and tongue cleanly cut from her. This discovery was only just the beginning for the medical examiner.
The stomachs of the hikers showed that they had died probably 8 hours after their last meal, which indicated that in only eight short hours, something had happened which had resulted in the death of all nine hikers.
Some of the hikers from the Dyatlov Pass incident exhibited injuries that left medical examiners scratching their heads. Three of the hikers had severe internal injuries but no damage to the skin of their bodies. There was no bruising of the skin or liaisons, which would have shown if they had been struck by something or attacked. The severity of these injuries has been equated to the damages that one would get from a car accident.
Medical examiners had to write that they received their injuries from a "compelling force." They had no explanation for what would have injured these people like this, or perhaps they knew something more and were forced to cover it up.
4. Even closing the case is among the most bizzare Facts About The Dyatlov Pass Incident
Unusual cases like the Dyatlov Pass Incident usually go cold. This means that due to a lack of logical evidence, there is n leading conclusion to explain what had happened. The Dyatlov Pass Incident did not go cold; instead, the case got abruptly closed.
Once the hikers' bodies were found and the autopsies were conducted, the public was given bits of information, and a string of theories and conspiracies started to come to life. The Russian Government soon got hold of the documents about the Dyatlov Pass incident as well as any possible causes of death. It had been sealed by issuing a government resolution.
This only added another layer of mystery to the case and had people wondering what the Russian Government could be covering up.
Before the case was closed, investigators tried to find some plausible reasons for what happened to the hikers that fateful night.
3. Lights in the sky
On the assumed night of the Dyatlov Pass incident, the hikers died out in the snow, and it was reported that there had been some suspicious lights seen in the sky. About 50km away, in a camp nearby, there were a group of other hikers. This group reported to investigators that they had seen a strange display of orange orbs of lights in the sky on the night in question.
Lev Ivanov - one of the lead investigators of this case - had noted that the tops of the trees in the same vicinity where the Dyatlov and his comrades' bodies had been found were charred and burnt.
In the late 50s, the idea of UFOs and extraterrestrial activity was unheard of and undocumented. When Ivanov added this information to his records, it unleashed the idea that an outside force caused these hikers to run out in the snow in such a state of distress.
The theory that the group was trying to hide from aliens is one that many still believe to be true to this day. Some even believe that Dubinina's tongue and eyes were removed as a trophy for the aliens to take back with them. Some investigators were not as convinced as Ivanov that there had been Alien interference.
Ivanov pursued this theory, as he did not believe that it was entirely dismissive. All Ivanovs' research and records were sieged by the KGB, and his investigation got shut down. This led to more questions for Ivanov as he started to wonder if he had perhaps stumbled upon the truth and the Russian Government had something to hide by closing his investigation and confiscating all his documents.
2. The Cameras
It appeared that all the hikers had taken cameras with them on their trip into the Ural Mountains. Investigators of the Dyatlov Pass incident gathered the remaining items from the abandoned camp. Three cameras and two rolls of film were discovered.
The discovery of the 4th camera left investigators with even more questions about what could have transpired that night. The 4th camera was discovered with Zolotoryov's deceased body in the snow. The film in this camera was damaged, making it difficult for investigators to gather any evidence from it that would lead them to understand what had happened that tragic night in the Ural Mountains.
The film from the other cameras showed a group of friends in good spirits having fun in nature. Although a picture can speak 1000 words, no one will ever know the context of each shot.
The camera belonging to Krivonischenko was discovered at the camp in a tripod with the shutter cocked. This is usually done by a photographer that is gearing up to take a picture. Once the film was developed, it showed a variety of images both before and during the trip.
One image that seemed to gain a lot of attention in the investigation of the Dyatlov Pass Incident is the last in the film on the roll. It shows an overexposed image with a white dot with a dark background. Many theories surround this image. However, investigators have chalked it up to being an overexposed shot taken with the camera - something that is possible with the white snow and bright daylight sun.
Despite this new footage discovered, nothing had given any leads to what happened to the hikers moments before they fled their camp.
1. Diary Entries
Amongst the belongings discovered at the groups' campsite were five diaries belonging to the hikers who perished in the Dyatlov Pass Incident. One of the diaries was a group diary, which gave a detailed account of the groups' daily movements and activities.
The other four diaries were more personal and recorded the intimate experiences and accounts of the trip. At first glance, this made investigators hopeful that the diaries could hold some insight into some idea as to what had happened to this experienced group of hikers.
The diaries gave some insight into the group's mindset, which once again appeared to be cheerful and in good spirit. Investigators used the diary entries and the photographs taken by the group to string together a possible timeline and chronology of events.
This discovery allowed investigators to paint a clear picture of everything that had happened leading up to the night all the hikers perished in the snow. A dark shadow remains over the events of that night.
All that is left is a long list of theories of what happened the night of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The truth of that night lays buried in the snow along with the hikers, only never to be discovered.
Did the Russian Government have some involvement in the Dyatlov Pass Incident? Was it an outside force that caused this horrific incident to occur? Is there something lurking in the Ural Mountains that did this? These are all questions that have been asked for decades and will continue to be asked in the future.
The truth of what happened at the Dyatlov Pass Incident will remain one of the most haunting mysteries of our time. All we have are facts about the Dyatlov Pass incident that make little sense.