Dyatlov Pass incident

The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass – what really happened?

On the night of February 1-2, 1959, in the Urals, in the mountains, nine students participating in the mountain expedition died. It is not known what really happened, but the pass, the site of the tragedy, was called Dyatlov Pass, using the name of the person in charge of the expedition, Igor Dyatlov, then 23 years old. The most fortunate was Yuri Yudin, a student who, due to malaise, left the expedition at its starting point.

He was not aware that he was saying goodbye to his friends forever. The resignation from the trip saved his life. The purpose of the expedition was the Otorten peak (the name means “Don’t go there”, and the mountain enjoys an extremely bad reputation and its name is interpreted as a kind of warning addressed to daredevils). The expedition itself was a preparation for a trip to the Arctic. Unfortunately, its end was tragic: nine young people died, and the tragedy is still a source of assumptions, conjectures and hypotheses. Despite the passage of years, the interest in this expedition does not pass.

The Ural Mountains – The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass, the death of the Dyatlov group

What happened next?

The expedition was to return to base on February 12, 1959. When this did not happen, the relatives of the participants raised the alarm and began to explain the course of events, hoping that the young people were alive. It was not easy for them: there was a lack of maps, money, party leaders were against the search. It was all against them. However, they did not give up and fought bravely to explain the situation, they led to the preparation of an expedition to the site of the tragedy.

The expedition set off on February 23, found the first bodies on February 27, and the last four bodies of the expedition participants were found in May 1959. Probably the participants of the expedition left the tent half-naked at night. It is not known for what purpose. They put trees in the ravine, but they did not return to the tent.

The causes of their deaths were hypothermia, stab wounds, broken skulls, they were all battered and broken ribs, and one of the women was missing a tongue. They could not survive in the temperature of about -18 °C (0°F), they were sentenced to death, leaving the tent at night. Authorities commissioned an investigation, but withheld the results for 50 years, until 2009. Still, not all documents are available, it is not known what part is hidden in the archives.

The Ural Mountains – The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass, the death of the Dyatlov group

Why did they die?

It is impossible to explain the tragedy – the witnesses are dead and the last witnesses often signed a confidentiality clause, besides, too much time has passed, traces cannot be found, and the theses of the investigators about the action of an unknown force were too far-fetched.

Participants of Dyatlov’s expedition

What was the cause of the tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass?

Hurricane, animal attack, avalanche, a meteorite?

Events such as a hurricane, an attack by wild animals, an avalanche, a meteorite fall, an attack by the Mansi people (not tolerant of strangers) or military exercises, or the fall of a long-range rocket were possible.


Some have argued that the cause of the incident was the UFO landing, but the latter hypothesis is quite fantastic. They could also hear very low infrasound and panic.

The Ural Mountains – The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass, the death of the Dyatlov group

An unusual thesis on infrasound

Particularly interesting is the thesis about infrasound, i.e. very low sounds that are not audible to the human ear, and can cause anxiety and even panic. One of these assumes that it was infrasound that drove young people out of the tent and led to their premature death. It is only a thesis, but it is very interesting and often recurring.

Under the influence of infrasound, young people could panic, cut open the tent sheet with a knife, and run out in panic. They were allowed to run out in groups, bodies were found in various places. Nature literally killed them, because they had frozen to death.

How was infrasound created?

It was most likely the wind that was crashing and rubbing against the mountains, making sounds that caused a nervous disturbance. Such infrasound killed several people in Russia and the US. The scenario was always the same – under the influence of very low-frequency sounds, people escaped from tents at night or jumped from the 14th floor of the block, dying instantly.

The Ural Mountains – The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass, the death of the Dyatlov group

The strange color of the bodies?

The bodies were orange-brown in color, which in turn provoked theories about military experiments or contacts with UFOs. Meanwhile, it is the effect of freezing – in people who have frozen there is the so-called frosty erythema and its effect is changed skin color. Frost leads to the breakdown of red blood cells, the skin is initially raspberry red and later turns red-brown. Quite a normal phenomenon that has been and is interpreted in a different way.

However, these are only hypotheses that have not been confirmed and will probably never be confirmed again. The participants of the expedition took the secrets with them to the grave. Renny Harlin made the film “Dyatlov Pass Incident” (2013) about this event. It was a horror movie, rated fairly low, but considered “addictive”.

The Ural Mountains – The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass, the death of the Dyatlov group


In a year, it will be 60 years since the tragedy, but no one is expecting an explanation. Still, the events of many years ago stimulate the imagination of many people. This was not the only such case near the Mountain of Death, as entire expeditions in other years had died there for equally unexplained reasons.

The members of Dyatlov’s expedition took the secret to the grave and probably hid it there forever. In 2008, a conference was organized during which an attempt was made to finally clarify the mystery of this case. Unfortunately, the authorities have not released all information and the case is still a mystery.

The Ural Mountains – The tragedy at the Dyatlov Pass, the death of the Dyatlov group


Dinosaur Database

We are a group of biologists and paleontologists, creating articles and popular science publications that present the world of animals, plants and introduce the nuances of paleontology in an accessible way for readers. All our articles are based on the most valuable sources and scientific works. Articles are also based on our own research and paleontological excavations. Our Databases: The largest Dinosaur Database: and The largest Pterosaur Database:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button