Versions and facts of the death of the group of Dyatlov Pass

The Cause of Dyatlov’s Group Death Revealed: The Main Thing from the Results of the Prosecutor’s Office Audit

In the press center of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” discussed one of the most probable, according to the Sverdlovsk prosecutor’s office, versions of the mysterious death of tourists in the Northern Urals. Here is the reconstruction of the last hours of life of Dyatlovka hikers

Researchers have been trying to figure out what killed the group of tourists in the northern Urals for over half a century.

In the winter of 1959, a group of nine tourists disappeared in the mountains of the Northern Urals. They went into the mountains led by Igor Dyatlov, a fifth year student of the Ural Polytechnic Institute. Within 18 days, the group was to ski 300 kilometers in the north of the Sverdlovsk region and climb two peaks. The campaign belonged to the highest category of complexity according to the classification of the 1950s. A month after the tourists had disappeared, rescuers found their tent cut open and five frozen bodies within a radius of one and a half kilometers on a slope of an unnamed pass. The corpses of the others were found only in May. The investigation determined that some of the tourists died from the cold, but some had fatal injuries of unknown origin. What exactly happened to Dyatlov’s group is still unknown.

Audio : The cause of the death of the group of Dyatlov has been revealed

In September 2018, journalists appealed to the prosecutor’s office of the Sverdlovsk region on behalf of an elderly relative of one of the dead tourists with a request to establish the circumstances of the death of the entire tourist group. There were dozens of versions up to now (to learn about them see the special project “Komsomolskaya Pravda” Dyatlov Pass: what really happened), but none of them was found convincing.

A painstaking investigation was launched, including visits by a prosecution team to the tragedy site, lots of serious examinations, and declassification of archive documents. Finally, the results of the investigation are available and one of the heads of the public prosecution investigation, lawyer Andrei Kuryakov, comes to us to talk about them. He is, incidentally, currently writing his PhD thesis on this topic. So.


Igor Dyatlov, Luda Dubinina, Zina Kolmogorova, Alexander Kolevatov, Yuri Doroshenko, Semen Zolotarev, Yuri Krivonischenko, Rustem Slobodin, Nikolai Tibo-Brignol – during the campaign of the highest, third category of complexity in the Northern Urals February 1, 1959 came to the eastern slope of Mount Holat-Syakhyl. According to contemporary microclimatologists of the Main Geophysical Laboratory named after Voyeikov, they were met with a northwest wind of 8 m / s, with gusts up to 30 m / s.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda press center discussed one of the most likely versions, according to the Sverdlovsk prosecutor's office, of the mysterious death of tourists in the Northern Urals

In the press center of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” discussed one of the most likely, according to the Sverdlovsk Prosecutor’s Office, versions of the mysterious death of tourists in the Northern Urals Photo: Mikhail FROLOV

They walked up the mountain and then down a slope of about 2.5 km, climbing to a height of about 900 meters above sea level by 5 pm.

– We decided to pitch our tent in a place 800 meters below the summit of Kholatchahl Mountain and 150 meters from the northeast spur,” said Andrey Kuriakov. – This is the calmest place on the slope, there is a so-called wind shadow where the wind speed was 10-15% lower than on the whole slope. Experts established the place of the tent with jewel-like precision, with the help of phototechnical expertise of the 1959 search photos and modern photos taken in March 2019 during the expedition to the Dyatlov Pass.

Legal expert Andrei Kuryakov – about the causes of the tragedy on the Dyatlov Pass.

And yet, in our journalistic opinion, it is difficult to imagine a more unsuitable place for an overnight stay. We are sure that many tourists will agree with us. There is a constant and strong wind. That’s why it’s cold here even in summer. On a hot August day we were moving across the Kholatchakhl slope in thick wind-proof clothes and we were freezing. And Dyatlov’s winter outfit was lousy at all in comparison with present tourist ammunition. But let us return to the results of the inspection.

Golosov ravine in Kolomenskoye, secrets and mysteries

3D reconstruction of Dyatlov Pass

The expertise conducted by two independent masters of sports tourism from Perm and Yekaterinburg indicates that it took approximately two hours to set up the tent. At 17.00 they started to clear the area, and by 19.00, when the tent was pitched to the south, they climbed inside, took off their wet clothes, changed into dry clothes and began to prepare for dinner.


We know from the materials of the criminal case that Thibault-Brignol and Zolotarev were the best dressed skiers. One of them, Thibault, was probably on duty that night, and Semyon, who had experience in the Carpathian Mountains and Dombai, probably realized that the slope could be avalanche-prone and preferred not to undress. But these are, of course, only guesses. No exact data on Zolotarev’s feelings at that moment was not documented.

Further, experts-situaries speculate that it was Semyon who could hear the characteristic sound of an avalanche starting above the tent and give the entire company the signal to flee. The hikers cut the canvas and fled down from the avalanche. All the textbooks on hiking and sports tourism prescribe this kind of emergency escape, and the guys acted strictly according to the rules.

It is curious that according to experts’ conclusions Dyatlovtsy managed to stay overnight in the most avalanche-prone place, where the slope is 25 degrees. And the accumulation of snow is 150 meters above. The snow layer could have melted later, but the weather played a cruel joke on the guys. During the last day of the trip there was a temperature drop from thaw to very cold. In addition the northwest wind increased, blowing down the slope at an angle, bringing more snow on the snow frame above the tent of the tourists and as a result ripped it off.

Kuryakov claims that after descending the 1.5 kilometer slope to the edge of the forest, the tourists stopped at a powerful cedar and decided to make a fire under it.

Kuryakov claims that after going down a kilometer and a half to the edge of the forest, the tourists stopped at a massive cedar and decided to build a fire under it.

Let’s return to expertise of a microclimate the author of which doctor of geographical sciences Galina Pigoltsina has established that at the moment of leaving a tent (approximately at 21.00) wind-cold index (wind influence on the person at various temperatures) was equal 30 degrees of frost. It means that tourists could not only get overcooled, but also frostbite on exposed skin areas within half an hour at most. Closer to the night the index went down and there was almost no chance of survival for dyatlovtsy.


Kuryakov claims that after going down a kilometer and a half to the edge of the forest, the tourists stopped at a massive cedar and decided to make a fire under it. But it didn’t work out to get warm. The guys could not dig themselves into the snowdrift – there was very little snow.

Now the border of the forest has moved up the slope and it is easy to fall in the snow up to the waist near the cedar, but then the searchers found bodies of Doroshenko and Krivonischenko under the tree, just covered with snow. It is unknown why the Dyatlov team did not go several dozens of meters deeper into the forest. It could be assumed that they were so cold on their way down that they decided to make a fire here without wasting strength to go further.

The Road to Nowhere, a frightening reality

In the winter of 1959 a group of nine tourists disappeared in the mountains of the Northern Urals.

Andrei Kuryakov, based on the conclusions of the Situologists, assumes that Doroshenko and Krivonischenko were the first to die. They collected wood for the fire more actively than the others. But since all lower branches of birches and firs were covered with moss, frost and ice and did not burn, branches for kindling were taken from the cedar, along the trunk of which tourists went upstairs. The fire burned for an hour and a half. By that time both Yuri had used up all their stamina in the bitter cold. There was no strength left to survive.

The comrades took the clothes off the dead guys, wrapped themselves in them and decided to go back to the tent. It was the only right decision to survive, but they took it too late. By 3:00 am the wind-cold index was already 46 degrees below zero! And visibility was no more than 16 meters – a heavy snowstorm, a moonless night. To find a tent under such conditions was akin to a miracle. But the miracle did not happen.

3D model of Dyatlov Pass


Dyatlov, Slobodin and Kolmogorova began to climb back up the slope one after another, but due to hypothermia their strength left them. The remaining four – Zolotarev, Dubinina, Thibault-Brignol and Kolevatov – moved away from the cedar 50 meters southwest of the fire into the ravine of the fourth tributary of the Lozva. We raked the snow and made decking from small trees. They settled down on the planking and prepared for a cold night. But their plans were interrupted by the elements: there was a snow shift in the ravine.

According to the medical examiner’s report, carried out by six specialists, it was a snow fall of up to three meters height that caused the terrible rib fractures in Luda and Semen. As a result, the four people were blown off the slab to the bottom of the ravine and blocked with snow.

According to the conclusion of a specialist in geodesy and cartography of the Rosreestr Department of the Sverdlovsk region, the steepness of the slope, that is, the slope angle to the horizontal plane at the location of bodies of Kolevatov, Dubinina, Zolotarev and Thibault-Brignol discovery site is 11, the bed of the right tributary of the 4-th tributary of the Lozva River has steep banks, especially the left one. The height of the precipice is about 2 meters, and in winter, together with the thickness of the snow cover can reach 3 or more meters. All this suggests that the tourists during the excavations undercut the snow and themselves provoked its convergence.

Igor Dyatlov. Photo: Foundation in memory of Dyatlov's group.

– Except for Krivonischenko and Doroshenko, the others died on February 2 approximately from 1 to 2 a.m., 4-5 hours after having eaten, – assures Andrew Kuriakov. – For most of them the cause of death was hypothermia, while Zolotarev and Dubinina died of chest injuries.

– So, the group was banally in a wrong place at a wrong time? – We asked the expert at last. – If they had stopped one hundred meters further, they would have probably survived.

The Tablets of Georgia and the Ten Commandments

– Probably, yes. But even in such terrible weather they did everything they could to survive. The frost, the snowstorm and the darkness just proved to be stronger.

The search for the dead tourists lasted for three months. PHOTO: Foundation in memory of Dyatlov's group.


And there was a rocket after all!

Proponents of the technogenic version of the Dyatlov group tragedy are sure that the tourists died because of unsuccessful tests of rocket equipment. And they even refer to the rocket launch on February 2 from the Kapustin Yar test site. It is known that this flight ended in an accident, but the details of the accident are classified.

Prosecutors managed to find out that the launch really happened. Only according to the declassified data of Ministry of Defense, it had nothing to do with the tragedy on the mountain pass, because the rocket flew in a totally different direction and fell near Emba, near Akhtyubinsk region of Kazakhstan, having covered a distance of 1500 km.


What kind of expertise has been conducted?

– Examination of photographic films and negatives, depicting the tent of the dead tourists and the surrounding area, made by participants in the search in 1959.

– Microclimatic expertise in FSBI “The Main Geophysical Observatory named after A. I. Voyeikov. A.I. Voyeikov Main Geophysical Observatory (St. Petersburg).

– The phototechnical examination, which included the distances from the tent to the nearest tops according to the photos made in 1959, and the photographs made in 2019 (to check the accuracy of the methods of determining the position of the tent).

– Geodetic expertise, during which the coordinates of the location of the tent and other points of the incident site (tourist corpses, cedar) were determined.

– Production of an interactive 3D model of the “Dyatlov Pass” area with the locations of the tent, tourist corpses, cedar which was further used for the appointment and conduction of special expertise and research.

Semyon Zolotaryov


Where did the radiation come from?

According to the data of prosecutor`s inspection, the most probable source of radioactive contamination of Aleksandr Kolevatov`s and Yuri Krivonischenko`s clothes was the East-Urals radioactive trace (which appeared after the accident at PA Mayak in 1957). Both hikers had many trips to the contaminated area for weekend hikes. Accordingly, they could have picked up radiation on their clothes.

Recall that on the pants and sweater examined during the investigation in 1959, the experts found only beta radiation. This coincides with the main radionuclide composition of the VURS, in which it was beta emitters that were detected.

The plaque on the outcrop on the Dyatlov Pass


We are grateful to lawyer Andrei Kurkov and the Sverdlovsk Oblast Prosecutor’s Office for their work. Yes, there are a number of ambiguities in their version for us, but it cannot be overlooked that such an in-depth study of the topic at the level of state agencies and using state powers has been conducted for the first time.

We will not limit ourselves to one publication and will continue the topic of the expertise done, talking to the experts themselves as well.

For the time being the questions remained open for us:

– Why the tourists, fleeing from the avalanche, ran not to the side, but down the course of the avalanche, which would have surely covered them?

– Who put the lantern on the Dyatlov tent, which the searcher Slobtsov would later find?

– Why did investigator Ivanov decide to conduct a radiation survey after all?

– Why was the case closed, citing some kind of spontaneous force rather than weather conditions?

– How did Yuri Krivonischenko get his leg badly burned?

Cherepovets swamp, mystery and mysteries of the lost place

– Why didn’t forest rangers Pashin and Cheglakov, who had found the Dyatlov tent two days before the searchers, inform everyone about their finding?

– Why did Dyatlov, Slobodin, Kolmogorova go from the cedar to the tent with only socks on (Slobodin had one felt boot), while Zolotorev and Thibault, who stayed near the cedar, had normal shoes?

Well and there are quite a few more questions to which we will have to look for answers.

Dyatlov Pass: Tourists were killed by an avalanche

An avalanche caused the death of tourists on the Dyatlov Pass in the Northern Urals in 1959. This is the conclusion of the prosecutor’s investigation.


Dyatlov Pass: Komsomolskaya Pravda special project

Route, versions, investigation (details)


Audio : The main mystery of the century finally solved. What killed the tourists on Dyatlov Pass

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All the mysteries of Dyatlov Pass: The main versions of the mystical death of tourists on the Mountain of the Dead

On this day in the Urals the tourist group of Igor Dyatlov died. Since 1959, the mystery of their death scares and fascinates millions of people. There are 75 versions of the death of a group of Dyatlov. Let’s remember the main ones.

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From horror stories to a movie in 2020

The series “The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass” in 2020 has forced many to take a new look at the tragedy, the true causes of which have not yet been established. In fact, the story of the death of the Dyatlov group on the night of February 2, 1959 has been framed with horror stories and conspiracy theories for over 60 years. At first the unobvious conclusions of the state commission promoted it, and then the skeptics got involved. The real story of the death of nine tourists led by Igor Dyatlov is not at all like the four-part film “The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass”; it still has many gaps and questions, for which there is no answer.

It is unlikely that the experienced fifth-year hiker Igor Dyatlov could have guessed how that ski trip would end. He and his nine student friends were just going to the Northern Urals to conquer the next route. It was January 23, 1959, 61 years ago. Their trek was supposed to end on February 12. On the way one of the group got sick and left the route.

The rest – nine people – set up camp near a mountain with a Soviet-like inconspicuous name – Mt. 1079. This mountain, which the indigenous Mansi people call Holatchahl, or the Mountain of the Dead, is a sacred place. On February 26, a search party discovered the bodies of nine tourists.

Photo © VK / The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass and the Mystery of Dead Mountain

The tent had been cut open from the inside. And the bodies, many of them mutilated, lay from it down the slope as if the seasoned hikers were running in panic, fleeing from something creepy. Running despite the freezing cold, with no clothes and no hope of survival.

Medveditskaya Ridge in the Volgograd region

This story became the worst, most mystical and irrational tragedy of the Soviet Union. Even experienced investigators did not dare to say what happened at Dyatlov Pass. And the story itself was classified.

The first official version

Investigators from Yekaterinburg studied the case for several months. But the results of that investigation were never published in full. Some of them were kept in the “Top Secret” folder. It is known that traces of radiation were found on the bodies of the victims.

The reasons given publicly sounded strange: the group was faced with circumstances of force majeure. There was no crime in them. But the group could not resist them. The people did not believe such conclusions. Such a vague interpretation only gave rise to the most fantastic versions.

Photo © VK / The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass and the Mystery of Dead Mountain

According to this version, fireballs were the true cause of the group’s death. An article “The Mystery of the Balls of Fire” was published in 1990 in the newspaper Kustanai Pravda. The former Dyatlov case investigator L.I. Ivanov gave a scandalous interview. He made a revelation in the best tradition of Fox Mulder: the authorities are allegedly hiding the truth from the public and are in cahoots with the aliens.

Khrushchev’s son died in the United States. What children of Soviet rulers became American citizens.

Tourists were killed by flying objects so that they would not tell a certain secret. Mysticism and scandals just appeared in the Soviet press in the 90’s – everyone believed them, not really checking the facts. Therefore, it is better to divide the words of an investigator by ten.

Andrey Kuryakov, head of the department for supervision over execution of the federal legislation of the Prosecutor’s Office of Sverdlovsk region at the press conference “Prosecutor’s office reveals the secret of Dyatlov pass”. Photo © TASS / Donat Sorokin

Convicts or shamans.

The mountain where Dyatlov camp was set up was not called the Mountain of the Dead for nothing. And not for nothing the tourists were nine. According to the legend of the northern peoples, once in the same place nine Mansi died. And since then the mountain every few years takes new victims. Whether the mountain assumed in advance such a development, or whether the stars happened that way, but this version seems true to many people. Ancient beliefs and mysteries are creepy after all.

Another twist in this version is completely devoid of mystical overtones. The tourists were killed by Mansi hunters in the night. They took it as an insult that the troop spent the night in their sacred place. True, the Mansi themselves later asserted that the mountain was not sacred to them. But these arguments impressed few.

Mansi - a small Finno-Ugric people in Russia. Photo © Wikipedia

Mansi – a small Finno-Ugric people in Russia. Photo © Wikipedia

A more authoritative theory is that they were attacked by convicts. There used to be a prison camp not far from here. And from the camps escape. And here were tourists with things and food. Or they were killed by MVD officers who were chasing prisoners. Killed at the same time to hide the evidence. But the catch is that there were no escapes from the camp in January-February. And there were no gunshot wounds or stab wounds on the bodies of the dead tourists, so it is not clear how the Interior Ministry officials killed them. Hardly by a severe reprimand.

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