We’ve read the story of Dyatlov’s Pass numerous times over the years. The story has expanded across the internet, sparking a deep interest, to the point that many researchers and investigators have become involved. Interestingly, more details are always emerging about the Incident at Dyatlov Pass. If you haven’t heard about The Incident at Dyatlov Pass, you’re in for a terrifying treat.
A Brief Summary of What Happened In the Incident of Dyatlov Pass
In 1959, in the mountains of Russia, 9 experienced ski-hikers, all university friends, died under very unusual circumstances. All died from hypothermia with the bodies scattered in the nearby woods, although the reason that they left the tent and had disfiguring injuries is unknown.
Igor Dyatlov (above) was the guide of the group. He perished as well. Dyatlov was known for keeping very meticulous records on his trips, although no records could be found for this incident. Additionally, these were all experienced outdoors men and women. There were 7 men and 2 women that died. Although they were University students, they had been on more than one trip like this together and they knew proper safety procedures. They planned the trip carefully and they were fully prepared.
The local weather conditions
In the remote mountain pass where the team of 9 had set up their tent, the snow was 6 feet deep (1.8 meters) and the temperature was well below freezing, about −25 to −30 °C (−13 to −22 °F). Leaving the tent was not an viable option to anyone, especially without proper protective clothing.
Findings at the scene
For starters, the group was all using one tent, which was common for these forms of expeditions at that time. However, when searchers discovered the tent, they noted that it was very clearly cut open from the inside out. The cuts on the tent were clean and straight, meaning that a knife or similar sharp object was used. This indicates that something happened inside of the tent that gave urgent reason to flee the tent. However, the footprints outside of the tent showed that they did not flee the area quickly, perhaps due to the freezing temperature. In seeking refuge, they walked slowly to the nearby woods.
Outside of the tent, the rest of their camp remained untouched. All of the clothes, food and gear was there, in its original place. When the investigation team searched the tent, there were 9 backpacks, 9 blankets, and 9 jackets. To the left of the entrance were piled 7 felt boots, 6 pairs of hiking boots plus 2 pairs of shoes. To the right of the entrance of the tent were 3 axes, and various cooking items. There was also a 6 pound piece of pork loin. So, it can be ruled out that food shortage wasn’t an issue.
Footprints surrounded the area, some from footprints of bare feet, some of feet with socks and some from snow boots, which is consistent with that mostly-undressed state of the bodies that were found. The bodies were all found laying down and facing the tent, which shows that they were probably waiting to return to the tent when conditions changed.
All 9 bodies were discovered
Nearby, in the wooded area to their camp, two of the bodies were found wearing only underwear. Three more bodies were found a little further into the woods. Originally, the bodies indicated signs of death by hypothermia…freezing to death. However, they had all been killed in different ways. Some were burned, some had blunt-force injuries, one person had been severely vomiting blood, another person had their tongue removed (although it’s unclear how) and one body was discovered missing it’s eyes.
The final 4 bodies were discovered later, when the bodies were visible after the snow thawed the following spring in May. There were more unusual things found. The bodies were missing clothes even though clothes were found immediately nearby. All but one person were wearing shoes. Three pieces of clothes had signs of radiation on it. One person had a skull fracture. They had firewood, but for an unknown reason the firewood wasn’t burned to keep warm. Three of the four bodies had internal injuries, as if they were hit by heavy objects.
There is still no explanation that made sense. These were friends, all university students, that were traveling together for a skiing adventure.
List of Possible Theories Of What Happened At Dyatlov Pass
People have speculated in many ways. There are hundreds of theories, but here are the most common:
- Maybe the KGB was involved.
- Maybe a large animal attacked the campsite.
- Maybe the local tribe attacked the camp.
- Maybe they were fearful of an avalanche and fled into the woods.
- Maybe there was a fire or smoke inside the tent and they needed to escape.
- Maybe a UFO was involved.
- Maybe there was romantic involvement. There were 7 men and 2 women on this expedition.
- Maybe infrasound played a role.
One theory is infrasound. This is essentially a perceptible humming sound, at a very low tone, that can be generated from wind passing over dunes, trees and even the face of a mountain. Infrasound is a fairly new scientific discovery in terms of how it affects humans. When Infrasound is played, it’s known to product feelings of anxiety and even vomiting.
It’s thought that its possible that this sound drove the group mad and led to irrational behavior, to the point of physically injuring each other and eventual hypothermia. However, that’s an extreme stretch of the imagination. Personally, I don’t buy that 9 friends killed each other because of a “hum”. If you’ve ever tried to hear “infrasound”, you’ll realize that it’s nearly impossible to hear. The effects of it on the travelers would be minimal at best, if it existed at all. I’ll believe that the KGB did this before I believe that.
There are many theories, but nothing checks-out. Nobody knows what happened.
Were drugs or intoxication a factor in the Dyatlov Pass Incident?
The information available online is unclear if drugs were a factor in any way. Only a few websites online even mention the possibility of drugs being involved, but most websites state that drugs were not present in any shape or form. Wikipedia claims that no drugs or alcohol were present, except for a medical flask with alcohol to treat injuries, which was full and intact. The group had even sworn off cigarettes before the expedition which tells us that they were aware of the potential dangerous consequences of any mind-altering substances being present.
It seems that the notion that drugs played a part was an idea that was more recently added by skeptics. You know how people are, people will say anything to find answers. Hell, even a Yeti was mentioned as the possible cause. Why not an intoxicated Yeti on LSD from a radiated UFO contracted by the Chinese government? The point is, let’s stick to the facts. There is no official information that points to drugs being involved in the incident. Furthermore, even if drugs were involved, it would have been impossible for a fight to have caused such significant injuries to so many of the victims.
Sure, perhaps one or two people could have been injured if drugs had played a role, but it’s extremely unlikely for the significant internal damage to have been caused by an intoxicated scuffle. Remember, a tongue was missing, eyes were torn out, a skull had been fractured, and multiple people suffered deep internal injuries as if they had been hit by a car. So, drugs were most-likely not involved in the situation.
What do we think happened?
Honestly, we’ve speculated so much ourselves about what could have happened. We seem to go in circles ourselves when discussing this. It’s fascinating and horrifying at the same time. This poor group of young adults suffered one hell of an experience.
Something clearly happened inside or outside of the tent that resulted in the entire team fleeing the tent. That is the biggest mystery and that is also the answer of what exactly happened. These were rational and educated people. We simply don’t know why they would have left the tent. We think there are three possible scenarios:
- There was smoke or a fire inside of the tent
- They thought an avalanche was coming
- The KGB was involved
We think that one of these three scenarios is the cause of this horrific accident. Something happened at Dyatlov Pass and we might never know.