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Modern Mysteries

Expedition findings shed new light on Dyatlov Pass mystery

By T.K. Randall
March 25, 2022 · Comment icon 18 comments

It now seems very likely that an avalanche was responsible. Image Credit: Soviet investigators
The findings bolster one particular explanation 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".
Several decades later, however, a new study published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment put forward the theory that the hikers had died from an unusual form of small-scale 'delayed' avalanche.

Now a number of recent expeditions to the region have added further evidence in support of the avalanche theory - potentially enough to consider the mystery solved once and for all.

Alexander Puzrin of ETH Zurich and Johan Gaume Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne had first pinpointed the avalanche theory back in 2021.

"In the year since publication of our article, we helped them to organize three successful expeditions to the Dyatlov Pass," the pair wrote.

"The direct evidence from the Dyatlov Pass area obtained in those expeditions confirms that the region is avalanche prone and that slopes above the location where Igor Dyatlov and his group pitched their tent are steep enough for avalanches to release."

"Independent research by Russian snow and climate scientists supported assumptions and the main results of our slab avalanche modeling."

Source: | Comments (18)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by HollyDolly 3 years 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 3 years 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 3 years 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 3 years ago
Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Assists Researchers Analyzing 62-Year-Old Mystery Of Dyatlov Pass 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''.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Still Waters 2 years ago
Published: 24 March 2022 Post-publication careers: follow-up expeditions reveal avalanches at Dyatlov Pass Having shed new light on an old mystery—how nine Russian mountaineers perished in the Urals in 1959—Alexander Puzrin and Johan Gaume got hooked. Three expeditions later it is clear that avalanches are not exceptional at Dyatlov Pass.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 2 years ago
  Predation by birds. They'll go for the eyes and the tongue gets exposed after death.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 2 years ago
  Firstly, why I do not believe - and never did, that there was any avalanche atop Dead Mountain that night. I. The tent was erected properly, with the back end facing up-slope, and the front end with the flap opening facing down-slope.    So when the this alleged avalanche approached them, they logically should have exited the tent from the front, *away* from the approaching    avalanche, and where there is an existing opening, the flap. Instead, they all waited as somebody cut a hole in the rear of the tent and everyone    exited the tent from there head on into the avalanche. This m... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by brokenbutcher2016 2 years ago
Avalanche?. The bodies looked like they where put in a microwave...Then a dehydrator, and then a tanning bed for a week.. 
Comment icon #17 Posted by Timothy 2 years ago
Comment icon #18 Posted by Coil 2 years ago
  Did people still not understand that it was a brutal murder of the entire group? The version of the avalanche is untenable, since during an avalanche people have characteristic fractures of their arms and legs, but this was not the case. The group left the tent under duress, went down the slope where they were overtaken by the attackers after several hours of inspection of the tent.Part of the group rushed run to the tent where they were sequentially killed. There were three attackers somewhere, since they could not kill everyone in one place at once, therefore such a spread of bodies (near... [More]

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