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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The group's tomb at the Mikhailovskoe Cemetery

The Dyatlov Pass Incident - Part 1

The Russian government has decided to open a new investigation into the deaths of the nine who perished in 1959.

There are so many rumors and theories out there that even more confusion muddies the ground. Let's take a look at the things that are more certain.

Plans began to be finalized for the trip in late January, 1959. There was a total of 10 students and former students from the Ural Polytechnic Institute. Eight men and two women were going; they were led by Igor Dyatlov. (The pass was named for him after the tragedy.) The goal of the group was to ski across country for 14 days with the mountain Otorten as their destination. All members of the team were experienced in long ski trips and mountain expeditions. At this time of the season, the route they were going was classified as a probable "Category III", which was the most difficult. 

The group went to Ivdel by train on January 25th. This city is at the center of the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Boarding a truck, they continued to the last inhabited settlement, Vizhay.  On January 27th, they began their ski trip toward Otorten. One day later, Yuri Yudin became ill and returned to the settlement.

Authorities pieced together as much of their journey as possible through the diaries and cameras found at their last camp site. They were possible to reconstruct the group's route up to the day preceding the tragedy.

Let's now take a closer look at the members of the group.

Dyatlov was studying Radio Engineering. Very talented, he designed and built a radio in his second year that was used during the 1956 hikes in the Sayan Mountains. He had also designed the small stove that he took with him on this last trip. He was an experienced athlete; his passion was expeditions into the Ural Mountains where he was the only one in control - he answered to only himself. He was at the peak of his physical and athletic ability and was respected for this and his knowledge of the mountains by the ski-hiking community.

Igor Aleksayevich Dyatlov - organizer and leader
age 23

Zolotaryov was the oldest and the most mysterious member of the group. He asked to be called Sasha and that name appears in many documents. He served in the military [during the  war October 1941-May 1946] and had 4 military awards. He was married to Tamara and had a son Sasha with her. It is not clear how or where it was done, but the child was later abandoned by Tamara and the whereabouts of Sasha are unknown. Tamara and her daughters claimed that she searched for him and hoped to find him.

Semyon (Alexander) Alekseevich  Zolotaryov - ski instructor
age 38

Slobodin had graduated from the University in 1959. A long distance runner, he was very athletic. His parents, both Russians, were working in Asia when he was born and gave him an Asian name. Both he and his father were intrepid adventurers, traveling through the dangerous sparsely populated mountain area of western Tien Shan. Slobodin was courageous, dependable, capable and adventurous.

Rustem Vladimirovich Slobodin - engineer
age 23

Krivonischenko was a friend of Dyatlov and was a part of almost all of the expeditions that Dyatlov participated in. He was also friends with many of the other members of the party.  His parents had a large apartment in Svredlovsk and he often invited his friends there. He studied construction and hydraulics at the university, graduating in 1959. He liked playing jokes and having a good time. His singing that got him detained by the police at the railroad station in Serov was his good natured way of trying to get Lyudmila [acting as group treasurer] to allow him to buy breakfast in a cafĂ©. When she turned him down, he began singing and walking around with his hat held out, as if panhandling.

Yuri  (Georgiy) Alexeyevich Krivonischenko - engineer
age 23

 Thibeaux-Brignolle graduated in 1958 with a major in Civil Engineering. His father was a French coimmunist. He had experience in hiking trips in various categories of difficulty. He was known for his energy, inventiveness, friendliness, and humor.

Nikolai Vladimirovich Thibeaux-Brignolle - engineer
age 23

We have our two women:

Dubinina was in her third year at UPI University as an Engineering and Economics major. She was the youngest in the group. Many of the pictures of the trip were taken by her. During an expedition to the Eastern Sayan Mountains in 1957 she was shot accidently by another hiker while they were cleaning their rifle. She did not complain of the painful injury or the discomfort while being transported back, only expressing how sorry she was for giving the group trouble.

Lyudmila  Alexandrovna Dubinina - Student
age 20

Kolmogorova was a fourth year student at UPI University as a Radio Engineering Major. She was an experienced hiker. On an earlier trip she had been bitten by a viper. Despite the pain and injury, she refused to allow the others to take any of her load, being unwilling to overburden the other hikers and create problems for them. Outgoing and energetic, she was liked by everyone and she treated everyone kindly and respectfully. She had gone on six previous expeditions. Four were second category complexity -- an intermediate level -- and always went on treks led by Igor Dyatlov. She and Dyatlov were often seen together. Although a photo of her was found later in his notebook, Kolmogorova never gave any clue to what her feelings were to him in letters.

Zinaida Alekseevina Kolmogorova - student
age 22

The student who fell ill on the first day and returned to the settlement:

Yuri Yefimovich Yudin - student
age 21

And the two remaining members:

Kolevatov was born fifth of six children, his youngest sister dying in childhood. The only boy in the family, his sisters doted on him. He suffered from poor health. Upon his father's death, the family became extremely poor. Kolevatov went to college despite poor grades to learn professional skills, gain clothing [through provided uniforms] and additional food cards.  Something inspired him to join the Komsomol [Young Communist League] and his studies improved. Education was free of charge, but graduates were required to work for 3 years in an assigned place. Kolevatov passed a security check in Moscow and was assigned to work in the secret institute of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building. He hiked Sablya as a member of a Moscow group, a difficult trek. This appeared to be a "secret" group, not an ordinary tourist club. All of the members of this group worked in secret nuclear Institutes.

Aleksander Sergeyevich  Kolevatov - student
age 24

Doroshenko was a radio engineering student at UPI. Best known for having run at a giant bear with a geologist's hammer while on a camping trip, he had an impulsive personality. He and Kolmogorova were in a relationship but had broken up with her. It remained a good friendship; he and she were friends with Dyatlov. Doroshenko came from a very poor family. His usual jacket was generally inadequate protection against the freezing temperatures of the area.

Yuri Nikolayevich  Doroshenko - student
age 21

Let's now continue with what was determined to be their journey.

On January 23, the group of 10 took a train from Sverdlovsk to the city of Serov. They arrived on the morning of the 24th. Krivonischenko was detained for soliciting and singing out loud. They released him.  On January 25th, they arrived by train in Ivdel and boarded a bus to Vizhay. From there it was by truck to a logging community designated as the 41st settlement. They then hired a sled to travel to an abandoned mining settlement.  This is where Yudin returned with the sled due to sciatica, being unable to continue the journey.

After spending the night camping on the banks of the Lozva River, the remaining 9 went by skis to the Auspiya River where they camped for the night. (January 29th) They spent a couple of days and left some of their provisions on a raised platform to lighten their backpacks for the ascent.

On February 1st, the group set off, getting a late start. They ended up veering off course and  pitched their tents on the north slope of Kholat Syakhl [now known as Dyatlov Pass]. It is said that there was a snow storm with low visibility which contributed to their being off course. They set up the camp around 5 p.m. and had dinner around 7 p.m. The temperature was said to be 5 degrees with wind chills making it far below zero. It is guessed that the "event" happened somewhere between 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

February 12th was the day the hikers were expected back in Vizhay. By February 21st search parties were sent out.  It was not until February 26th that the tent was found  [by Slobtsov] and an official investigation was begun [by Prosecutor Vasiliy Tempalov].

The bodies of Doroshenko, Krivonischenko, Komogorova and Dyatlow were found on February 27th. The first two were found by two of the searchers [Sharavin and Strelnikov]; the third by a rescue dog and Dyatlov was discovered by the mansi Kurikov group. March 2nd Slovtsov and Kurikov found the cache of supplies.  Autopsies were made on Doroshenko, Krivonischenko, Dyatlov and Kolmogorova on March 4th. Slobodin's body was discovered on March 5th by Karelin and soldiers from Lt. Potapov's group. Three days later the autopsy was conducted [March 8th].

Doroshenko and Kolmogorova were buried in Mihayovskoe Cemetery on March 9th. Krivonischenko was interred in Ivanovskoe Cemetery the same day. The next day [March 10th] Dyatlov and Slovodin were buried in Mihaylovskoe Cemetery.

On the 17th, Vladimir Korotaev was fired and Lev Ivanov was assigned as lead investigator.

Finally on May 5th, the bodies of Dubinina, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov were found by Askinadzi. Autopsies were conducted on May 9th with burials taking place on May 12th. Dubinina, Kolevatov and Thibeaux-Brignolle placed in Mihaylovskoe Cemetery; Zolotaryov in Ivanovskoe Cemetery.

May 27th the radiation analysis report on the clothes and tissue samples of Dubinina, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov was completed.

On May 28th the case was closed.

The official statement for closing the case was announced by Junior Counselor of Justice and Criminal Prosecutor of the Sverdlovsk region, Lev Ivanov.

"The deaths of the expedition members were due to a series of mistakes by Dyatlov. On 1 February he began the ascent to the summit at 3 PM, even though he knew about the difficulty of the terrain. Furthermore -- and this was Dyatlov's next mistake -- he chose a line 500 m to the left of the planned pass that lies between Peak 1079 and Peak 880. So the group found themselves on the eastern slope of Peak 1079. They used what was left of the daylight to ascend to the summit in strong winds (which are typical for this area) and low temperatures of minus 25 degrees centigrade. Dyatlov found himself in bad conditions for the night, so he decided to pitch his tent on the slope of 1079 so as to start in the morning without adding the distance from the forest ( -1km) to the remaining trek of about 10 km to the summit.

"Considering the absence of external injuries to the bodies or signs of a fight, the presence of all the valuables of the group, and also taking into account the conclusion of the medical examinations for the causes of the deaths of the tourists, it is concluded that the cause of their demise was overwhelming force, which the tourists were not able to overcome."




"I'll spark the thought; what you do with it is up to you."
 "Those that know, need no further proof. Those that don't, should not demand it from others, but seek it for themselves."

This Post By TCC Team Member Nancy Marietta. Nancy has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and cryptids. Nancy is also a published author and her book, The Price of war, has been met with great reviews.

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