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Modern Mysteries

Has the Dyatlov Pass mystery been solved ?

January 29, 2021 | Comment icon 12 comments

The remains of the group's tent was found on the mountainside. Image Credit: Soviet investigators
Scientists believe that they have finally found an answer to one of the 20th Century's most enduring mysteries.
Considered to be one of the most chilling unsolved cases ever to come out of Russia, the Dyatlov Pass incident involved a group of nine students who went missing after going for a trek in the Ural Mountains. Led by 23-year-old Igor Dyatlov, they departed on January 23th, 1959 and were never seen alive again.

When rescue teams went to look for them they found the group's tent, which appeared to have been sliced open from the inside with a sharp instrument, on the slopes of Mount Kholat Syakhl.

The hikers' belongings were all strewn around the campsite and a trail of footprints indicated that they had got up and left in a hurry, some of them without any shoes or socks.

After following the trail for 1.5km the rescuers discovered five bodies, many exhibiting signs of physical trauma such as a cracked skull and broken ribs.

No sign of the other four members of the group could be found, however after an extensive search covering two months, rescuers eventually located their remains in nearby woodland.

A criminal investigation later blamed their deaths on an "unknown compelling force".

Now however, 62 years on from the incident, a new study published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment has put forward the theory that the hikers had died from an unusual form of small-scale 'delayed' avalanche.
The study was headed up by Johan Gaume - head of the Snow and Avalanche Simulation Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology - and geotechnical engineer Alexander Puzrin.

When the hikers cut into the snow to pitch their tent, the authors argue, the slope was destabilized. While there was no fresh snowfall that night, katabatic winds may have brought snow from higher up the mountains and deposited it on the slope, eventually causing it to give way.

This would explain the mysterious 9-hour delay between them setting up camp and the avalanche that ultimately ended their lives.

Other experts, including professional mountain climber Freddie Wilkinson, also remain convinced that this is what happened.

"I'm absolutely convinced that the tragedy was the result of wind and snow deposition, and the fact that they pitched camp in the lee of a ridge," he said.

"I've made this mistake in my mountaineering career more than once."

Ultimately however, we may never know for sure exactly what happened.

Source: National Geographic | Comments (12)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Mr.United_Nations 1 year ago
There was a rumour that another group saw some jets or helicopters dropping bombs causing the avalanche
Comment icon #4 Posted by Robotic Jew 1 year ago
Sounds plausible and mundane enough to be true. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by ercbreeze 12 months ago
They followed the footprints to find 5 bodies, so the avalanche injured those 5 and they ran away and died from exposure?    
Comment icon #6 Posted by Nnicolette 12 months ago
Yeah this doesn't even make sense. How did they follow their tracks if there was an avalanche and how did it bash their heads, yet the tent and stuff was still sitting in the camp site and visible.
Comment icon #7 Posted by b0wn 12 months ago
Umm, did they not find the girls tongue cut out and her eyes? If this is the correct one I remember. Not sure how an Avalanche conjured Sharp Precision objects and went for her eyes and tongue.
Comment icon #8 Posted by OpenMindedSceptic 12 months ago
Looking at the simple facts stated higher up this feed, the incident isn't explained by an avalanche.
Comment icon #9 Posted by HollyDolly 12 months ago
I agree with you BOwn. Avalances can't do that. Either animals did it , or maybe a Alma, as the russians call their Bigfoot. If the lady's tongue,etc. were removed post mortum(after she died) then it was animals.If before death, then something else was invovled.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ell 12 months ago
I suspect that their exterior body froze in their tent. Not being able any more to radiate their internal heat, they got very hot, and started to undress in the hope to cool off, which exacerbated their freezing condition, and they next cut open their tent to get outside - again in the hope to cool off. There they froze to death.
Comment icon #11 Posted by White Crane Feather 12 months ago
I remeber a lengthy discussion about this years ago, and a bunch of us pulled up all kinds of resources. We concluded with an avalanche as well followed by a series of survival attempts where a tree had to be climbed to get wood to start a fire, clothing removed form those who had succumbed, and eventually one group seeking better shelter but succumbing to the elements and potentially tumbling down a nearby ridge. Then we pulled up some information on how small animals will scavenge the tungs out of the dead because that is last part of the body to freeze because it is reachable.
Comment icon #12 Posted by jethrofloyd 12 months ago
Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Assists Researchers Analyzing 62-Year-Old Mystery Of Dyatlov Pass https://www.huffpost.com/entry/frozen-dyatlov-pass_n_601b1b82c5b62bf30753dc2f The snow in the 2013 film was animated so well that it helped one scientist develop a simulation to study the grim 1959 death of nine Russian hikers. Researchers looking into one of the theories behind the Dyatlov Pass incident, a 1959 unsolved mystery that saw nine hikers killed during an expedition into Russia’s Ural Mountains, drew inspiration from one unlikely source — Disney’s 2013 hit film ''Frozen''.

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