What killed 9 ski hikers on the night of February 2, 1959 in the northern Ural Mountains? All members were experienced in long ski tours and mountain
expeditions. The official report listed the cause of death as hypothermia, but some of the injuries suggested an "other worldly" force was to
A group was formed for a ski trek across the northern Urals in Sverdlovsk Oblast (Свердло́вская о́бласть). The group, led by
Igor Dyatlov, consisted of eight men and two women. Most were students or graduates of Ural Polytechnical Institute (Уральский
Политехнический Институт, УПИ), now Ural State Technical University:
1. Igor Alekseievich Dyatlov (Игорь Алексеевич Дятлов), the group's leader, born January 13, 1936
2. Zinaida Alekseievna Kolmogorova (Зинаида Алексеевна Колмогорова), born January 12, 1937
3. Ludmila Alexandrovna Dubinina (Людмила Александровна Дубинина), born January 11, 1936
4. Alexander Sereievich Kolevatov (Александр Сергеевич Колеватов), born November 16, 1934
5. Rustem Vladimirovich Slobodin (Рустем Владимирович Слободин), born January 11, 1936
6. Yuri Alexeievich Krivonischenko (Юрий Алексеевич Кривонищенко), born February 7, 1935
7. Yuri Nikolaievich Doroshenko (Юрий Николаевич Дорошенко), born January 12, 1938
8. Nicolai Vasilievich (Vladimirovich?) Tibo-Briniolle (Николай Васильевич (Владимирович?) Тибо-Бриньоль),
born June 5, 1935
9. Alexander Alexandrovich Zolotariov (Александр Александрович Золотарёв), born February 2, 1921
10. Yuri Yefimovich Yudin (Юрий Ефимович Юдин), born 1937
Their goal was to reach Otorten, a mountain peak which at this time of the year was considered to be a Category III, the most difficult. On January
28, only one day into the expedition one of the hikers, Yuri Yudin, was forced to turn back due to illness, leaving only 9 hikers to make the
Yuri Yudin hugging Lyudmila Dubinina as he prepares to
leave the group due to illness, as Igor Dyatlov looks on
On February 1 the group encountered worsening weather and decided to set up camp instead of heading for the other side of Dyatlov Pass. For reasons
unknown, the group chose an open area, as opposed to the shelter of the woods, as the site of their camp.
Skiers setting up camp at about 5. p.m. on Feb. 2, 1959.
Diaries and cameras found around their last camp made it possible to track the group's route up to the day preceding the incident. On January 31,
the group arrived at the edge of a highland area and began to prepare for climbing. In a woody valley they cached surplus food and equipment which
would be used for the trip back. The following day (February 1), the hikers started to move through the pass. It seems they planned to get over the
pass and make camp for the next night on the opposite side, but because of worsening weather conditions, snowstorms and decreasing visibility, they
lost their direction and deviated west, upward towards the top of Kholat Syakhl. When they realized their mistake, the group decided to stop and set
up camp there on the slope of the mountain.
Photo taken from a roll of film found at the camp
It was agreed prior to the expedition that the group would send a telegraph on February 12 when they arrived back at Vizhai, the northernmost
settlement, and start of their expedition. No such telegraph arrived on the preplanned day, but no search was started because delays of a few days
were common during a trek such as this.
It was not until February 20, at the demands of the hikers families, that a rescue operation consisting of volunteer students and teachers, was
launched. On February 26 searchers located the camp site and the abandoned tent, which was badly damaged. The tent had been cut with a knife from the
inside. Rescuers found a trail of footprints leading away from the tent and were able to follow them. Several of the hikers had ran away from the site
in nothing but socks, some even in bare feet. No other human, or animal, tracks were found to be leading into the camp.
A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on Feb. 26, 1959.
The tent had been cut open from inside,
and most of the skiers had fled in socks or barefoot
On February 26, the searchers found the abandoned tent on Kholat Syakhl. The tent was badly damaged. A chain of footprints could be followed,
leading down towards the edge of nearby woods (on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5 km north-east), but after 500 meters they were covered with snow.
At the forest edge, under a large old cedar, the searchers found the remains of a fire, along with the first two bodies, those of Yuri Krivonischenko
and Yuri Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. Between the cedar and the camp the searchers found three more corpses—Dyatlov,
Zina Kolmogorova and Rustem Slobodin—who seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the tent. They were found
separately at distances of 300, 480 and 630 meters from the cedar tree.
Searching for the remaining four travelers took more than two months. They were finally found on May 4, under four meters of snow, in a ravine in a
stream valley further into the wood from the cedar tree.
After the first five bodies were found an inquest into the cause of their death was started. It was concluded that all five died of hypotermia. One
hiker was found to have a crack in his skull but it was determined that the wound was not fatal.
In May the other four bodies were found, and based on their injuries investigators began to question just what really happened that fateful night.
They were found to have extensive and traumatic internal injuries, though no external soft tissue damage was observed. Ribs were fractured, with some
of the bone fragments piercing the heart, and one of the hikers was found to be missing her tongue.
Further examination of the bodies revealed that the skin was discolored and testing of the clothing showed high levels of radiation contamination.
Investigators at the time determined that the hikers tore open their tent from within, departing barefoot into heavy snow and a temperature of
−30°C. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, two victims had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. Their
clothing, when tested, was found to be highly radioactive.
The final verdict was that the group members all died because of a "compelling unknown force". The inquest ceased officially in May 1959 due to
the "absence of a guilty party". The files were sent to a secret archive, and the photocopies of the case became available only in the 1990s, with
some parts missing.
What really happened that cold February night in 1959? Were they victims of foul play at the hands of the Mansi, the local indigenous people, or did
they meet their demise as a result of an animal attack? The lack of any footprints and external tissue damage can almost certainly rule out both of
Did these hikers have an encounter with extraterrestrial beings? I, for one, believe this is the more likely scenario here as many locals reported
seeing orange, glowing orbs in the sky that night.
edit on 24-1-2012 by IamAbeliever because: (no reason given)