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The Dyatlov Pass Incident



Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

The Dyatlov Pass Accident refers to an incident that resulted in the death of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural mountains. The incident happened on the night of February 2, 1959 on the east shoulder of the mountain Kholat Syakhl(a Mansi name, meaning Mountain of the Dead). The mountain pass where the accident occurred has been named Dyatlov Pass after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov.

The mysterious circumstances of the hikers’ deaths have inspired much speculation. Investigations of the deaths suggest that the hikers tore open their tent from within, departing barefoot in heavy snow; while the corpses show no signs of struggle, one victim had a fractured skull, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. The victims’ clothing contained high levels of radiation. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling unknown force” had caused the deaths, barring entry to the area for years thereafter. The causes of the accident remain unclear.

It had been agreed beforehand that Dyatlov would send a telegraph to their sports club as soon as the group returned to Vizhai. It was expected that this would happen no later than February 12, but when this date had passed and no messages had been received, there was no reaction, delays of a few days were common in such expeditions. Only after the relatives of the travelers demanded a rescue operation did the head of the institute send the first rescue groups, consisting of volunteer students and teachers, on February 20. Later, the army and police forces became involved, with planes and helicopters being ordered to join the rescue operation.

On February 26, the searchers found the abandoned camp on Kholat Syakhl. The tent was badly damaged. A chain of footsteps could be followed, leading down towards the edge of nearby woods (on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5km north-east), but after 500 meters they were covered with snow. At the forest edge, under a large old pine, the searchers found the remains of a fire, along with the first two dead bodies, those of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. Between the pine and the camp the searchers found three more corpses – Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Slobodin – who seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the camp. They were found separately at distances of 300, 480 and 630 meters from the pine 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 stream valley further into the wood from the pine tree.

An examination of the four bodies which were found in May changed the picture. Three of them had fatal injuries; the body of Thibeaux-Brignollel had major skull damage, and both Dubunina and Zolotarev had major chest fractures. The force required to cause such damage would have been extremely high, with one expert comparing it to the force of a car crash. Notably, the bodies had no external wounds, as if they were crippled by a high level of pressure. One woman was found to be missing her tongue. There had initially been some speculation that the indigenous Mansi people may have attacked and murdered the group, for encroaching upon their lands, but investigation indicated that the nature of their deaths did not support this thesis; the hikers’ footprints alone were visible, and they showed no sign of hand-to-hand struggle.

There was evidence that the team was forced to leave the camp during the night, as they were sleeping. Though the temperature was very low (around -25° to -30°C) with a storm blowing, the dead were dressed only partially, and certainly inadequately for the conditions. Some of them had only one shoe, while others had no shoes or wore only socks. Some were found wrapped in snips of ripped clothes which seemed to be cut from those who were already dead.

Journalists reporting on the available parts of the inquest files claim that it states:

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Six of the group members died of hypothermia and three of fatal injuries.

There were no indications of other people nearby apart from the nine travellers on Kholat Syakhl, nor anyone in the surrounding areas.

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The tent had been ripped open from within.

The victims had died 6 to 8 hours after their last meal.

Traces from the camp showed that all group members (including those who were found injured) left the camp of their own accord, by foot.

One doctor investigating the case suggested that the fatal injuries of the three bodies could not have been caused by another human being, owing to the extreme force to which they had been subjected.
Forensic radiation tests had shown high doses of radioactive contamination on the clothes of a few victims.
The final verdict was that the group members all died because of an “unknown compelling 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

Some researchers point out the following facts which were missed, perhaps ignored, by officials:

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After the funerals, relatives of the deceased claimed that the skin of the victims had a strange orange tan.

A former investigating officer said, in a private interview, that his dosimeter had shown a high radiation level on Kholat Syakhl, and that this was the reason for the radiation found on the bodies. However, the source of the contamination was not found.

Another group of hikers (about 50 kilometers south of the accident) reported that they saw strange orange spheres in the night sky to the north (likely the direction of in Kholat Syakhl) at the same date as the accident happened. Similar “spheres” were observed in Ivdel and adjacent areas continually during the period of February to March 1959, by various independent witnesses (including the meteorology service and the military).

Some reconstructions of the victims’ behavior suggest that they were blinded. The rescue team had seen that the victims broke damp and thick pine branches for the fire, even though there was good dry brushwood around.

Some reports suggested that much scrap metal was located in the area, leading to speculation that the military had utilized the area secretly and might be engaged in a cover-up.

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121 thoughts on “The Dyatlov Pass Incident”

  1. Tabby DanDeleon (Blue Skylark)

    This the kind of pasta that I like the best! It just goes to show that the real world can be just as scary as fiction

  2. It seems to me that it was an avalanche. An unknown force of pressure? 4 meters of snow? Come on. Those who escaped the avalanche died of hypothermia. Sun reflecting off snow could cause a strange tan on a dead body, I’m sure. Missing tongue? They weren’t found for a long time after they died, right? Scavenging animals probably went for the easiest bit of meat they could- the tongue. And shocking that communist era documentation of a group of dead hikers was so poorly handled and taken care of for a couple decades. Communists aren’t exactly known for their efficiency or bureaucracy, are they?

  3. Ronald McDonald

    Obviously there are plot holes, it’s based on a true story, which is still a mystery. Just google it!

  4. VampirePenguin98

    This was based on a movie, The Devils Pass, about the mountains in Russia hiding a vault containing the Russian sleep experiment.

  5. i love these kind of unexplained myseties, its just so puzzling to try and find out what happend. i also love how this is actually a true story, most of the creepypastas that have the true story tag are full bullshit

  6. Maybe the 6 who died naturally were irradiated and went crazy. They then murdered the other 3 and died trying to get back to camp. To me that makes most since seeing how the three with fatal injuries were found together.

  7. It is a real event that happened in 1959. Just because something is Creepy Pasta doesnt automatically make it fake. Thats like saying every women with nice boobs got a boobjob. And a lot less about radiation was known then. @ Foolish, how the hell do know what color irradiated things can glow at? Because if you’re a nuclear physicist, you could be doing a lot more important things than criticising people on this site.

  8. This could have been interesting, but you would need to focus on the actual deaths as opposed to the aftermath. If I wanted to hear about the dyatlov pass incident, I could just look on wikipedia.

    The incident is really interesting, though. I’m surprised it isn’t more well know, especially since it’s essentially a real life horror film. It even had one survivor, Who you didn’t mention in the pasta at all. He sadly died this april.

    Honestly, I think the incident should be left on its own, because we all enjoy a good mystery. to quote joker (Probably not the actual lines, but I can’t be arsed finding it.): Answers don’t give you everlasting satisfaction. Sometimes you need to brace yourself for disappointment.Imagine your favorite TV show. the ups, the downs, the crazy coincidences. Then, bam, they tell you what it’s all about.Would you be happy? does it make sense? why did it all end in a church?

  9. Great pasta! I have the nagging feeling I have read this before too… But I don’t rember where. Agh… Oh well. I guess sleep wasn’t necessary anywhale. :(

  10. Cracked debunked this. The crushing injuries? The mysterious force known as “A fuck ton of snow roaring down a mountain” The lack of clothes? Hypothermia does weird things to you, one of them making you feel really warm. Missing tongue? What part of a body do you think a scavenger would go for first? The thick, tough skin, or a soft, easily edible tongue? Tan? Sunlight reflects well off snow. Nuclear radiation. The result of hearsay. Interesting story, but a little research and common knowledge debunks it…

    1. Everything’s right on your comment, except for the tongue. Remember that scavengers have teeth and claws, that can easily damage skin tissue, if the body had already been touched by scavengers it would have been torn apart, and the reports say that no external damage was done. Besides the body of the girl who bit her tongue was found buried in the snow. My theory is that most likely she got caught by the avalanche and bit her tongue off by accident.

  11. It’s a real incident, that’s why the tag is “Based on a True Story”
    Loom up Dyaltov Pass Incident it pops up and Wikipedia has a more detailed summary of what the fuck happened. Or what they can scrounge from the evidence. It hasn’t been solved since.

  12. save from the orange spheres.. i’d say that the guy turned into an orange hulk, tearing off his clothes, tore open his tent from the inside.. explains the nonhuman force of the injuries.. hahaha.. hulk.. the first thing that came to mind..

  13. This is actually based on a true story. You can find all kinds of information on this. There are pictures and everything. Just Google the name of the pass.

  14. I know all the other comments are old, but I found this on Wikipedia:
    “Another group of hikers (about 50 kilometers south of the incident) reported that they saw strange orange spheres in the night sky to the north (likely in the direction of Kholat Syakhl) on the night of the incident.[1] Similar “spheres” were observed in Ivdel and adjacent areas continually during the period of February to March 1959, by various independent witnesses (including the meteorology service and the military).[1] These were later proven to be launches of R-7 intercontinental missiles by Eugene Buyanov.”
    The spheres are missiles, kay?
    Goodbye.

  15. comment leaver is a twit. They did mention the cut out tongue.. read it all before critisizing that stuff is missing

  16. This is fake. No mystery behind it. All that “unexplainable” shit were just made-up mumbo-jumbo. Go click on the cracked link somebody posted earlier (love that article btw).

  17. hasn’t the idea of the tent exploding went into anybody’s minds? the explosion could have caused the skiers to fly, hitting them into trees and cause heavy injuries. AND MAYBE THAT CHICK BIT HER TONGUE D: or someone sneaked something radio active in the tent. the floor could have exploded

  18. This is just flat-out boring. Real or not, it’s boring. If you’re trying to be eerie, you failed.

    I give it an F+.

  19. This story is real. The hikers were found, the radiation, missing tongue, etc. are all real except that this isn’t a very original story

  20. It’s always a bear. The bear hid in the tent, and when the hikers found the bear, they tried to run away. The bear obviously got angry, and killed them, taking one of the hiker’s tongues as a trophy. It also covered its tracks; bears are alot smarter than you think.

  21. maybe there was a radioactive explosion, and the force of it killed some of the people who were out by themselves, and the others were blinded but went looking for them? and the lady tore out her tongue because it had crazy radioactive growths on it or something. and maybe the government is covering it up because it was their radioactive test, and that’s why they wouldn’t let people go through the pass for a few years, until the radioactivity subsided.

  22. I found this story really interesting and weird, especially the part about the girl with the missing toungue its so strange, i think theres alot more too this story lol

  23. radioactive alien spheres

    Sorry,it wasnt alien radiactive yeti,it was us. and it wasnt our fault,they were calling us names,like,”glow-skin” and “creepy puff-ball” and they threw sticks at us.

  24. @6h0zt: yeah man, that’s definitely the right answer. I mean, I’m sure this case has been left unsolved for 50 years just so some kid on the internet could show off how smart he was.

    Seriously, moron, if it were that simple there wouldn’t be any mystery to this.

  25. I like the cold, analytical description of the horror that occurred, like reading a forensic investigation report. Bounced around a bit, but still makes you sit there and think, “What the FUCK happened here?!” Which, personally, is the best kind of horror. Said best in the book Heroes of Horror: no matter how big and scary you make your monster, nothing is quite as terrifying as knowing SOMETHING is picking off your friends, and not knowing what it is.

  26. I don’t think it’s beyond reason that biting on your tongue in stressful situations whilst being hit by a 200mph wall of snow would result in it being bitten off.

  27. The tent is then ripped open from the interior, with all of them in various stages of undress, and they flee to a safer spot. In returning to camp, 3 contract hypothermia, whilst the others are hit by the actual avalanche. The tan skin and white hair can be explained by 8 days of frostbite, and the levels of radiation from they type of lanterns used in said says. The end.

  28. The point of the story is that at some point during the night, with hills in what is now the Dyatlov Pass ranging upwards of 30 degrees, that avalanches were a very serious threat here. All of them, being experienced hikers, would have known this. My theory is someone heard and explosion or similar loud noise in the distance and saw it as an avalanche coming.

  29. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! this makes no sense what so ever….(I nearly tripped in every bit of this plot-hole fiel)

    1. The Dyatlov Pass Incident really happened you dickhead, and the reason why there are so many plot-holes is because it’s an UNSOLVED CASE!!!

  30. Ok, the point of the story is to get the point across that the big bad soviet government was responsible for their death. Via nuclear testing:
    1.Tounge cut out? She didnt go blind, they (the government) found her.
    2.Orange orb? EXPLOSIONS FOOLS. Nukes glow many vibrant colors.
    3.Scrap metal? Fragmentation.
    4.Fatal Wounds? They got hit by the shockwave and it threw them against trees

  31. This is just a wikipedia article. I’ll accept it that this is creepypasta, just because it appears in a lot of creepythreads but I hope we don’t end up just looking for articles of junk.

    Anyway, why did they even search for radiation? I mean, is that standard protocol? “Gee these guys died in the woods, I wonder if they are eradiated?”

    pretty much everything except the missing tongue and the radiation could be explained by a bear.

  32. @Sara

    Thanks for catching the spelling error.

    If I wasn’t so tired and was feeling more creative, I’d try and say something spooky about the fact that you felt like you’d seen this before, but all I could come up with was “I’M BLOGGING IN YOUR BRAIN” and that’s really, really awful, so…no…

  33. @life It wasn’t 4chan. I was so sure it was on here. I even went looking in the categories, but no. Idk, but the fact that I’ve read it before and don’t remember where creeps me out far more than the story did.

  34. @sara i read this on /x/ (my favorite part of 4chan). it creeped me out at first but i got over it! but still enticing jolly good.

  35. i just got defaulted to icecry0. i thought it was a glitch through the mobile phone browser i use, as it happens often to me.

    it never bothered me to begin with.

  36. So they got an orange tan… because the spheres were orange? I didn’t know radioactive light could emit orange. And why the tongue?

    Ookay. Well, It’s unnerving. However, it’s weird, in that it’s very detailed, yet vague and plot-holey. Melikes it, though.

  37. Thge Person Formerly known as 'Noneya'

    I lol’d at almost all of the comments.

    Oh, Vitrolic V, the name thing alwayts defaults to someone else. Right now I was defaulted as ‘r’, so I think its just the way the forum is set up.

  38. Ugh let me explain it further if I can…

    Ok, the people were all cozy in their tent, on a hiking expedition over the mountains, they were all experienced. Anyways, late in the night something scared them, still in their bed clothes out of the tent into the open and freezing wilderness and away from the tent. Some ran to the river, some to a tree. The were supposedly blinded and ripped their way out of the tent in a desperate attempt to escape. The were hit with the force of what was said to be comparable to an automobile accident.

    They also left out the part where one of the chicks tongues was missing. -_-

  39. @ Radioactive Alien Yeti: XD

    @ everyone else: This really did happen. I saw this story before it was posted. Go google it for more info.

    1. Im not saying this was paranormal, but it is based on a true story. It happened in Russia in 1959. There has always been alot of speculation as to what actually happened, but the people and place are definately factual. In fact there was a documentary created about it in 2000 called Dyatlov Pass.

  40. I like this one. Does it come from a book or what? I’d read something or watch something with this premise. It reminds me of the x-files. The only qualm I have is that it gets a tad repetative.

  41. Vitriolic V, the plot’s supposed to have holes, no explination is supposed to be logical, and the characters have to be idiots. That’s what makes it a creepasta.

  42. Weird, the name filled into the name field by default was meowmixkid.

    Anyway, I find the “forensic” conclusions here to be so iffy. The tent was ripped open from the inside? Who says? The tear pattern of the fibers? That’s all loose stuff. It won’t maintain any signs of which direction it was ripped. It’s not like glass, following the momentum of the bullet that hit it, falling outside. It’s cloth. Tethered at the top and bottom of the tent. Flapping in the wind. The fact that it’s used to draw what is re-iterated two or three times in the story as an important conclusion is so FABRICATED looking.

    Can we get some Russian speakers to verify that these are real Russian names? I mean, not all names are standard, but if NONE of them are, or if all of them are names taken from famous Russians, that’s iffy.

    The whole “this couldn’t have been done by humans” thing is stupid. We’re tool users. We have things like sledgehammers to cave chests in with.

    And the people went for a snowy walk “of their own volition?” Who says they weren’t taken at gunpoint by someone who covered his footprints somehow?

    How did we get from “scrap metal” to “obviously scrap metal means government cover-up?” And if there were a government cover-up, why would volunteer students be the first search party? That wouldn’t happen. It would have been a military operation immediately.

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