I was writing about another topic but then stumbled upon this unsolved mystery story: the Dyatlov Pass Incident, a strange event that happened over 50 years ago on a remote mountain ridge in the center of Russia. I found it so interesting and mysterious than I couldn’t stop myself to write about it.
On January the 25th, 1959, ten skiers set off from the town of Sverdlovsk, in the eastern Urals, for an excursion on the northern peaks: in particular were headed to the mountain called Otorten. For the group, led by the 23-years-old hiker Igor Dyatlov, the trip was meant to be a strict training for future expeditions in the Arctic, they were all skilled and experts skiers and the fact that in that season the path chosen was particularly insidious did not frightened them.
Arrived by train to Ivdel, they went with a van in Vizhai, the last inhabited outpost. From there they started their march directed to the mountain on January the 27th. The next day, however, one of the members fell ill and was forced to turn back: his name was Yuri Yudin, the only one who survived. The rest of the group went on and on January the 31st they reached one step on the eastern side of the mountain called Kholat Syakhl, which in the dialect of the Mansi people means “Mountain of the Dead“, a symbolic peak for the people and centre of many legends. The next day they decided to keep climbing, but a snowstorm reduced the visibility and made them lose orientation, instead of going towards the pass the group deviated and they found themselves right at the top of the mountain. Once they realized the mistake, the nine mountaineers decided to pitch the tents where they were, and wait until the next day.
We know all this through the diaries and the cameras found in the field, telling us about the expedition until this fateful day and showing us the last photographs of the group. But what happened that night is impossible to understand! The nine, in fact, never returned and after a waiting period the families alerted the authorities, and police and army began the researches. On Febraury the 26th the tent was found, but seriously damaged.
It was immediately clear that something unusual happened: the tent had been cut from the inside and footprints surrounding were to assume that the nine had fled in haste from their shelter, to save themselves from something that maybe was already in the tent with them, something so dangerous that there was no time to untie the knots and escape the tent from the main entrance
Following the traces, the researchers make the second strange discovery: nearby, less than a kilometer away, the first two bodies are found under an old pine tree on the edge of the forest, the two bodies are barefoot, and wearing only underwear. The branches of the pine are broken up to a height of four meters and a half and pieces of flesh are found in the bark. At different distances between the field and the pine are found three other bodies: their positions indicate that they were attempting to return to the field. One in particular is still holding a branch in his hand, and with the other arm seems to protect the head.
At first the doctors who examined the five bodies concluded that the cause of the death was the cold, there were no signs of violence and the fact that they were not dressed meant that hypothermia had occurred quite quickly. Two months later, in May, the last four bodies were discovered buried in the ice and suddenly the overall picture changed completely! These new bodies, unlike the first five, were fully dressed, one of them had his skull smashed, and two others showed major chest fractures. According to the doctor who performed the autopsies, the force needed to reduce the bodies in that way had to be exceptional, excluding that the injuries could have been caused by a human being.
The weird thing was that the bodies showed no external wounds or bruises or signs of any kind; impossible to understand what smashed the ribs inward. One of the dead girls had her head thrown back also, the doctors noticed that her tongue had been torn out from the root.
Now the main questions are: Who or what the climbers met? What terrified them so much?
There are several theories, some people swear to have seen strange lights flying over the mountain that night thinking about aliens, or top secret Russian military operations on experimental weapons and even the “abominable snowman“ typical of the Urals, called Almas.
This is the last photo the took, could it be of any help?
The site of the dramatic events is now called Dyatlov Pass, in honor of the leader of the unfortunate group of skiers who tragically and mysteriously lost their lives there.