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The Dyatlov Pass Incident - Part 2
(WARNING : GRAPHIC CONTENT WITH PHOTOGRAPHS)

Officials were reluctant to sound an alarm when Dyatlov's group was overdue. They had received information that there had been a heavy snowstorm in the area in which the party was headed and assumed that the hikers had made a camp in a safe area to ride out the storm. The parents of Dubinina and Kolevatov were told by the head of the UPI sport club [Lev Semyonovich Gordo] that Dyatlov had sent a telegram explaining the delay as they felt the group was probably already on their way back. Due to these delays, the relatives of the hikers eventually organized their own search party. The head of the military department of the University [UPI] took charge of the rescue party. Many students volunteered to go with Colonel Georgiy Semyonovich Ortyukov.  Several parties entered the region on February 21st. Two of the groups were headed by Vizhay Blinov and Sogrin as their hiking groups had just returned from the region and knew the conditions. Another group of hikers led by Vladislav Karelin was nearby and joined the search effort. Planes from Ivdel Airport searched from the air.

The next day even more joined the search, including prison guards [Captain A.A. Chernyshov] and policemen [Lieutenant Potapov].  Another 3 groups of students formed under the leadership of Oleg Grebennik, Moises Akselrod and Boris Slobtsov. Local Mansi hunters volunteered to help and search for the students. Moscow sent people including E.P. Maslenikov, Baskin, Bardin and Shuleshko. 
On February 24th the group led by Boris Slobtzov were dropped off near Otorten, which was where Dyatlov and his group were headed. The search party determined that due to the lack of flags or any other evidence, that the hikers had never made it to their destination.

February 25th, Slobtzov found a ski trail which he assumed belonged to Dyatlov. A day later they came upon the tent on the Kholat Syakhi slope. He recognized the tent immediately as the one he had helped make three years earlier by joining two tents together to make it longer and larger.

Tent as found by search party
It was discovered that the sides of the tent appeared to have been cut from the inside and that the hikers chose this way of leaving the tent.  An official explanation of the tent was that vandals had surprised and attacked the hikers, cutting the tent in the process. However, while the tent was hanging in the Ivdel Department of Internal Affairs, a woman called in to mend Vladimir Korotaev's uniform took a look at the tent and told them that the cuts had been made from the inside. Forensic analysis confirmed her announcement and the investigation took another direction. [Examination at Sverdlovsk Forensic Laboratory April 3-16, 1959 by senior forensic expert Henrietta Eliseevna Churkina].


Tent hanging in office to be photographed

 A description of the campsite stated the tent was set up on a pad of flattened snow. On the bottom were stacked 8 pairs of skis [to support the tent and for insulation]. The tent was stretched on poles and fixed with ropes. On the floor of the tent were 9 backpacks filled with various personal items, jackets, rain coats, 9 pairs of shoes, men's pants, 3 pairs of boots, warm fur coats, socks, a hat, ski caps, utensils, buckets, a stove, an ax, a saw, blankets, food [2 bags of biscuits, condensed milk, sugar, concentrates], notebooks, itinerary and many other small items and documents, and a camera and accessories for it.

Although several photos were taken there appear to have some omissions in preserving its total condition in photos. The side of the tent that had been facing uphill was not photographed. There was at least one hole in the tent and Dyatlov's jacket was found tucked into it. The far right end of the tent is cut off in the photograph. They did not appear to have taken precise measurements of the holes in the tent. Instead, the sizes were all listed as approximate. There are no reasons listed by forensics on how they decided which cuts were important enough to be measured and mentioned along with being shown on her diagram of the tent. The placing of the number of cuts and their size were also inaccurate. Some of the cuts did not go all the way through.

The chair was found to be 40 cm wide [15.75 inches approx.]
and was used by Rakitin in his later measurements.

The yellow circle shows where Slobtzov made his cut 
when he first found the tent.

The following drawings and comments come mostly from Aleksey Rakitin.


This diagram above shows the different cuts made into the tent. Below is the drawing made showing placement of the discovered objects inside.

For better clarity, the 9 backpacks on the floor, the 9 blankets (2 spread out and 7 crumpled) and the jackets are not pictured. The figure of the man is provided to help show the height of the tent.

A : This area is at the left of the entrance. Here is where the footwear of the group was piled. 7 felt boots, and 6 pairs of boots.

B : This area to the right of the entrance contained the household inventory. 2 buckets, a flask with alcohol, 2 large axes, 1 small ax, cooking pots, a rasp in its sheath, a suspended stove, and some of the food.

C : In the center of the tent to the right of the entrance were 2 pairs of shoes.

D : The far end of the tent was where the food was stored. Cereals, cans, sugar, and wood for the stove.

[Note the differences in items catalogued from above.]

Everything seems in order and neatly in its place, except for the shoes in area A being piled on top of the others, and the shoes in area C.

1 : This is the loop at the top of the tent used for stretching the ropes to help keep the canvas from sagging.

2 : The tent was made from two 4-person tents. This shows the double seam that connected them together.

3 : Dyatlov designed the suspended stove. In the drawing, the chimney is shown assembled and the stove is shown suspended. However, the search party found these items on the floor of the tent.

Near the entrance of the tent was a leaflet the group had written.  An innocent comment in it is what is said to have started the Yeti theory on how they died.

This is a translated version, as the original is in Russian.  As you can see, the pamphlet appears to have been written as a fun way to pass the time.

The entrance of the tent faced south. The north part was covered in 6 to 8 inches of snow. This was most likely caused by blowing snow, not an avalanche. Near the tent was a pair of skis sticking out of the snow. An ice axe and Dyatlov's jacket were lying at the entrance. In the pockets of the jacket were a penknife and a wallet with Kolmogorova's photo inside it. At the side of the tent was Dyatlov's flashlight. It seemed odd that there was snow [about 3 inches] underneath it, but none on top of it.

Another mystery is whether or not the tent was fastened or open. No one seems to know for certain.

As there was no reason to suspect any sort of crime or tragedy, there was no move made to preserve or record the footprints in the area. No one knows precisely just how many people may have been in the area during that time. However, from testimony by the search party, there appeared to be 8 to 9 sets of footprints of people without shoes. Their feet pressed the snow and left characteristic "columns" of pressed snow with a  footprint on top. Members of the group appear to have walked single file with a tall man walking in the back as his footprints partially covered the footprints of those who walked in front of him. Overall, the path gave the impression of an organized and uneventful descent down the slope of the mountain. Several trails would leave the main track, but would rejoin it. Other footprints were discovered and photographed, but no one can tell if they were left by someone else or by the search/rescue party.

The first set of prints - 1 - [blue] are said to be a man, not making very large strides. The ones labeled 2 [yellow] were labeled as small female footprints. Number 3 [red] are overlapping  male footprints  and number 4 [green] are larger male prints that go on the same track as the girl's, appearing to be a person walking behind the group.

This photo shows the only footprint of a boot. The imprint is not complete. The heel is deeper, which is how a print would look when a person is going downhill putting most of his weight on his heels.

Some people claim that the footprints of the hikers started near the tent; others state that due to the group having dug down into the snow and piling it around the tent, the wind drifted the snow, covering tracks. The trail started further down the slope. The prints were of bare feet or in socks. They could tell the difference for in some of the prints they could see the toes of those who were barefoot. Some wore Valenki [shoes made of wool felt, very warm, sometimes worn for walking on dry snow.] Occasionally, they could see the imprint of a ski boot.  The prints were raised higher than the actual surface of the snow. They are preserved in this manner due to the way the wind blows because the snow under the print is left compacted and cannot be eroded by the wind, like the snow surrounding it. When the sun rises, the print area becomes firmer, and can save it for an entire winter.

Tracks were followed to where the hikers had crossed a stony ridge. Further down they were able to pick up the trail again and then the trail was again lost.

Students investigating the abandoned campsite removed three cameras, the group diary, some alcohol, and a few other minor items and took them to the rescuers campsite at the base of the mountain. They had found 710 rubles and the railroad tickets for Dyatlov's group. This was considered a good sign as they felt if the group was attacked by thieves that everything of value would have been stolen.

An inventory written up the next day [March 3] included these items : 9 parkas, 8 quilted jackets, 1 fur jacket, 2 fur sleeveless vests, 4 shell pants, 1 cotton pants, 4 scarves, 13 pairs of gloves [fur, cloth, and leather], 8 pairs of ski boots, 7 pieces of valenki, 2 pairs of slippers, 8 pairs of gaiters, 3 skating caps, 1 fur hat, 2 felt berets, 3 compasses, 1 pocket watch, 2 Finnish knives in parka pockets [Krivonischenko and Thibeaux-Brignolle], Kolevatov's Finnish knife in a black leather sheath, 3 axes (2 large and 1 small one in a leather case), 19 pieces of overboots, 2 buckets, 2 pots, 2 flasks, 1 first aid kit. There were a number of smaller items such as socks, masks, toothbrushes that had been removed from the backpacks and it was not known to whom they belonged.

So, Dyatlov's group left their camp without outer clothes, hats, gloves, shoes. It would be logical to assume they felt they were under some sort of serious threat for them to have left in such a state of urgency. Apparently, a retreat down the hill was an escape from some immediate peril. Although they left knives and axes behind, it can be assumed that they had other knives as they appear to have cut fir and birch trees later. So the danger they faced could not be reasonably confronted with axes and knives. When they left their camp, they headed downhill to the forest, not towards their storage site where they had left their extra provisions before climbing up the slope. [Cereals, sugar, wood, Krivonischenko's mandolin, 2 pairs of shoes, an ice axe, a cap, a mask, a shirt, and a pair of skis used to mark the location.

FINDING THE BODIES

On February 27 searchers found the first two bodies : Yuri Doroshenko and Yuri Krivonischenko.  While looking around the area, Mikhail Sharavin noticed something dark close to a cedar tree. He noticed a flat area next to the tree that contained the remains of a fire. Six to ten feet from the fire they discovered Doroshenko.  Although his face was covered with snow, the search team felt certain who he was due to the size of the body.

 A little to the side was Krivonischenko.

They felt that others had been around the fire as the snow around it was trampled. Near the fire were more than ten small fir tree branches, cut with a Finnish knife. There were various garments next to the fire, rather than on the bodies. A partially burned women's handkerchief and fragments of woolen clothes were there. [a cuff of a dark sweater, for example.] Also found were 8 rubles.There were no knives found with the bodies.

The tall cedar tree also held some clues. The lower branches were broken up to 6 1/2 feet. It was clear that at least one person had climbed the tree. The side of the tree facing the upward slope and their tent had been completely cleared of branches. It appeared that someone had created a space to look through in order to watch the camp. Or perhaps to hide.

The Cedar tree

 The photo below shows the bodies before the snow was removed. This is the photo that started the rumor that the bodies were covered with a blanket, burial style.


The next photos show the bodies with the snow removed. Doroshenko was face down, Krivonischenko face up. The scene looked orderly. Whoever was last in contact with the bodies showed respect and pity towards the two men. It was obviously the rest of the hikers trying to give their friends some dignity in death.

Doroshenko was found wearing a sleeveless cotton undershirt, a short sleeved checked shirt with all 6 buttons fastened, shorts and swimming trunks, blue cotton underpants fastened with two buttons which were badly ripped on the front of the right side and the inside of the thigh on the left side. He had a  mismatched pair on wool socks on and no shoes. Livor mortis spots were on the back of the neck, torso and extremities, which was not consistent with the position of the body when it was found. This indicated the body had been moved some time after the blood stopped circulating.

Doroshenko

Condition of the body: moss and pine needles were found in his hair; the hair was burned on the right side of his body. His upper lip was swollen and the ears, nose and lips were covered with blood. The right cheek soft tissue was covered with gray foam; gray liquid had come out of his open mouth. Indication of pulmonary edema. There were two abrasions with no indication of bleeding on the right shoulder. The right armpit had a bruise and there were brown-red bruises on the upper third of the right forearm. There was a bruise on the back of the right hand, with bleeding into the soft tissue. Swelling and small abrasions were on the right hand. All his fingers and toes were severely frostbitten. On the inner surface of the left shoulder - abrasion; left elbow - minor abrasions; left forearm - surface skin wound covered with dried blood. Shins of both legs had bruises. The amount of urine in the bladder was less than usually found in cases of hypothermia. The foamy grey fluid found on the right cheek started speculations that before death, someone or something was pressing down on the chest cavity. It could also have been caused by a fall from a tree. The bruises and abrasions could have been caused by hitting into rocks and ice. Death was said to have occurred 6 to 8 hours after his last meal.

Krivonischenko

Krivonischenko was dressed in an undershirt, a long sleeved checked shirt, swimming pants, long underpants, and a torn sock on his left foot. He was not wearing shoes. Injuries logged: bruises on his forehead; bleeding in the right temporal and occipital regions due to damage done to the temporalis muscle; bruise around the left temporal bone; the tip of the nose was missing, but no traces of blood were found indicating that it had most likely been bitten off by an animal after death as he was found face up. He had frost-bitten ears; a portion of skin from the right hand was found in his mouth; minor skin abrasions on right hand; jagged wound at base of thumb; wound with hard edges and charred surface on the fingers; detachment of skin on the back of his left hand; pale red colored abrasion on right side of chest; pale red abrasions along the middle clavicular line at edge of rib cage; dark red abrasions on left wrist, the back of the left hand was swollen. Bruise on left buttock; 3 linear skin lesions with straight edges, sharp corners on inner side of the upper third of the left thigh; three wounds with sharp corners on inner side of left hip;  abrasion on front of right femur and tibia; abrasions on front left thigh; edema on left leg and foot and burn on entire outer surface of the leg. Cause of death was hypothermia. The skin between his teeth might have indicated either that he tried to stay in the cedar tree as long as possible and bit himself to stimulate his hands to continue to hold on.

The state of undress on the bodies indicates that in an effort to survive, the remaining members of the party removed clothing from the dead bodies and divided the garments among themselves. Although a knife was probably used in some spots to help, there was no state of panic and they treated the bodies with respect.

Igor Dyatlov was found the same day as the first two hikers [Feb 27th]. He was found a little over 300 feet from the cedar tree, lying face up, head towards the tent. Only his clenched fists folded in front of his chest were visible above the snow.

Dyatlov was wearing an unbuttoned fur sleeveless vest, outer side blue cotton, inner side dark grey fur (Yudin later identified this vest as the one he had given Krivonishenko when he left the group). The unbuttoned jacket was unusual for someone that is freezing. He was also wearing a blue sweater, a long sleeve red cotton shirt (in the breast pocket were 4 Streptocide pills still in their blister pack)
[this shirt was identified by Yudin as one he gave to Doroshenko when he left], a blue sleeveless cotton singlet, ski pants over his pants, and no shoes. He had one cotton sock on his left foot and a woolen sock on his right foot. The watch on his wrist had stopped at 5:31.

Condition of body: minor abrasions on the forehead, upper eyelids, left cheek; brown-red abrasions on both cheeks and above left eyebrow; dried blood on lips; bruised knees ; brownish red abrasions on both ankles; single incision on lower right tibia; small scratches on right forearm and palm; discoloration on back of right hand, bruises on right hand (a common injury to the joints in hand to hand fights when making a fist); bruises on left hand; superficial wounds on fingers of left hand. No internal injuries. Cause of death was hypothermia.

Zinaida Kolmogorova was found almost 690 yards from the cedar tree. She was face down, head towards the tent. She was better dressed than the bodies under the tree. She wore two hats, a long sleeve undershirt, a sweater, a checked shirt, and another sweater with the right sleeve cuff torn off. The sweaters were inside out, which is not unusual for mountaineers when they try to dry clothes by wearing them. She also had on cotton sport pants, trousers, ski pants with three small holes at the bottom of the right trouser leg; and three pairs of socks. Two pairs were thin; the third were woolen with insoles inside. There were no shoes. In her pockets were found 5 rubles and a military style protective mask.

Her injuries included: a dark red abrasion on the right temple area; a pale grey area above her right eyebrow; a dark red abrasions on the upper eyelids; brown red graze on the bridge and tip of her nose; numerous abrasions on the left cheekbone; bruised skin on the right side of the face; abrasions on the backs of both hands; a wound with jagged edges and missing skin on the back of the right hand; frostbite; a bright red bruise in the lumbar region on right side of the torso, resembling one left by a baton. Cause of death given as hypothermia due to a violent accident. She had not been sexually attacked, which gave the officials reason to doubt that the hikers were attacked by escaped prisoners as they would not have left the women alone.


Next : The rest of the bodies found (Part 3)

[Drawings and photographs courtesy of dyatlovpass.com]

Nancy

"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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