Mountain of the Dead

Exhumation of Zolotaryov - forensic experts run preliminary examination. Photo Aleksey Bulatov
Exhumation of Zolotaryov

Who is buried in the Zolotaryov's grave?

12 April 2018 Komsomolskaya Pravda (aka KP, huge Russian periodical following and as we can see, reviving the case) exhumed the body of Semyon Zolotaryov at Ivanovskoe Cemetery in Yekaterinburg. In the following days KP will conduct an examination of the DNA of the person buried under Zolotaryov's obelisk to establish his kinship with the alleged nephews. And also KP will study together with experts fractures of the ribs of Semyon. It turned out that the autopsy reports don't quite match the injuries they found during the excavation. In 1959, going on that fateful journey through the Northern Urals, Semen Zolotaryov announced enigmatically to his students "this whole world will start talking about this trek." He did not say anything in particular, only that they will soon find out about everything. Keep reading →

Dytalov Pass: How many bodies were brought in Ivdel for autopsy 9 or 11
Medical personnel in Ivdel hospital 1959

How many bodies were brought in Ivdel for autopsy 9 or 11?

Nurse Pelageya Ivanovna Solter, to whom Vadim Chernobrov reached in his research, opened a whole new area for speculations. Testifying to the arrival of corpses in the morgue at the medical facility where she worked, she led many researchers to the idea that not one group of tourists, not only the Dyatlov group, but also another group perished in Kholat Syakhl mountain. Unfortunately, Solter's testimony and accompanying evidence didn't bear each other out. The work with the bodies of surgeon Prudkov and nurse Solter is very difficult to clearly put in a timeline - the testimonies are very confusing. During the interview, the well spoken Victor Solter, sincerely wishing to bring clarity, only confused his wife and led the conversation astray. Pelageya Solter is now a widow, and due to her very advanced age she is not to be bothered with questions. Keep reading →

Latest additions to the site. First time reading about Dyatlov Pass, please start from here.

Dyatlov Pass incident map

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Dyatlov Pass map

Name(Age) Found Clothing Injuries & cause of death
Yuri Doroshenko (21) under tree Underwear, shirt, no shoes; Dyatlov was wearing the knitted vest Yudin left Doroshenko before heading back HypothermiaAutopsy report
Yuri Krivonischenko (23) under tree Underwear, shirt, no shoes; Dubinina took his sweater and and tore a flap of his underpants to wrap her foot probably after his death HypothermiaAutopsy report
Igor Dyatlov (23) 300m Very lightly dressed, no shoes, he was wearing the knitted vest Yudin left to Doroshenko before going back. HypothermiaAutopsy report
Zinaida Kolmogorova (22) 630m Better dressed that the previously found hikers. No footwear. HypothermiaAutopsy report
Rustem Slobodin (23) 480m Better dressed that the previously found hikers, one felt boot (valenka) on his right foot. HypothermiaAutopsy report
Fractured skull, multiple areas of edema and abrasions on his face and his arms
Lyudmila Dubinina (20) ravine (75m) Her foot was wrapped in a piece of Krivonishenko's underpants and she was wearing Krivonishenko's brown sweater that tested radioactive.Radioactive Major chest fracturesAutopsy report
Missing her tongue, eyes, part of the lips, as well as facial tissue and a fragment of skullbone; tongue removed while she was still alive
Semyon Zolotaryov (38) ravine (75m) He was wearing Dubinina's faux fur coat and hat; camera on his neck. Zolotaryov and Thibeaux were almost fully clothed and wearing some kind of footwear.

Major chest fracturesAutopsy report ( 5 broken ribs)
Eye balls missing

Alexander Kolevatov (24) ravine (75m) The waistband of his sweater and lower part of his trousers tested radioactive. Radioactive HypothermiaAutopsy report
Exposed skull bones, broken nose
Nikolai Thibeaux-Brignolle (23) ravine (75m) Thibeaux like Zolotaryov was better clothed than the rest of the members of the group. On his feet he wore hand-knitted woolen socks a pair of felt boots (valenki). Major skull damageAutopsy report - multiple fractures to the side of his skull that would have made him unable to move
Graphic crime scene photos Proceed with caution, graphic crime scene photos, 18+
Radioactive The radiation on two sweaters and pants was substantial
Igor DyatlovIgor Dyatlov - the leader of the group

The Dyatlov Pass incident (Russian: Гибель тургруппы Дятлова) is the mysterious deaths of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains on February 2, 1959. The group consisted of eight men and two women. Most were students or graduates of Ural Polytechnical Institute. The goal of the 14 day expedition was to reach Otorten (1234.2m), a mountain 10 km (6 miles) north of the site of the incident. This route, at that season, was estimated as "Category III", the most difficult. All members were experienced in long ski tours and mountain expeditions. The group arrived by train at Ivdel, a city at the center of the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast on January 25. They then took a truck to Vizhay - the last inhabited settlement so far north. They started their march toward Otorten from Vizhay on January 27. The next day, one of the members - Yuri Yudin, was forced to go back because of illness. Diaries and cameras found around their last camp made it possible to track group's route up to the day preceding the incident.

The hike started out fairly late on February 1 and only traveled 4 km (2.5 miles) that day. Excess gear and food was stored on a platform in the forest called labaz, or camp base. Camp was set up around 5 pm on a slope of Kholat Syakhl just 16 km (10 miles) from Mount Otorten. They had their dinner around 6-7 pm and one or two members of the group went outside to relieve themselves, presumably Semyon Zolotaryov and Nikolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, since they were found to have been better dressed than the others. Then something went catastrophically wrong.

It had been agreed beforehand that Dyatlov would send a telegram to their sports club as soon as the group returned to Vizhay. It was expected that this would happen no later than February 12, but Dyatlov had told Yudin that he expected to be longer, and so when date passed and no message had been received there was no immediate reaction - delays of 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.

Yuri Yudin
Yuri Yudin *

* Yuri Yudin fell sick halfway and returned thus remaining alive. He didn't have the slightest idea of what might have happened to his comrades.

On February 26, the searchers found the abandoned and badly damaged tent on Kholat Syakhl. Mikhail Sharavin, the student who found the tent said: ..."the tent was half torn down and covered with snow. It was empty, and all the group's belongings and shoes had been left behind." Investigators said the tent had been cut open from inside and that skiers had fled in socks or barefoot. A chain of eight or nine sets of footprints, left by several people who were wearing socks, a single shoe or barefoot, could be followed and led down towards the edge of nearby woods (on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5 km north-east) but after 500 m they were covered with snow.

At the forest edge, under a large old cedar, the search party found the remains of a fire, along with the first two bodies, those of Yuri Krivoshenko and Yuri Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. The branches on the tree were broken up to five meters high suggesting that skiers had climbed up to look for something, perhaps the camp. Forensic tests later confirmed that traces of skin were found embedded in the bark indicating that the pair had frantically attempted to climb the tree snapping off branches until their hands were mass of pulpy flesh. The medical examiner recorded that some of the corpses had livor mortis on the front. Given that such marks always form on the side of a body that has been pressed against the ground, this indicated that someone had turned them over after death.

On February 27 between the cedar and the tent the searchers found Igor Dyatlov (300 m from the cedar) and Zinaida Kolmogorova (630 m from the cedar), and 6 days later on March 5 - Rustem Slobodin (480 m from the cedar). The three seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the tent. A medical examination found no injuries which might have led to their deaths, and it was concluded that they had died of hypothermia. Slobodin had a small crack in his skull, but it was not thought to be a fatal wound. A legal inquest started immediately after finding the first five bodies. Searching for the remaining four travelers took more than two months.

They were finally found on May 5 under four meters of snow in a ravine 75 m farther into the woods from the cedar tree. These four were better dressed than the others, and there were signs that those who had died first had apparently relinquished their clothes to the others. Zolotaryov was wearing Dubinina's faux fur coat and hat, while Dubinina's foot was wrapped in a piece of Krivonishenko's wool pants. An examination of the four bodies found in May changed the cource of the whole investigation. Three of them had fatal injuries: the body of Thibeaux-Brignolle had major skull damage, and both Dubinina and Zolotaryov had major chest fractures. According to Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny, the force required to cause such damage would have been extremely high. He compared 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. Dubinina was found to be missing her tongue. The group clearly realized their threats and did everything they could to preserve themselves. They had managed to dig out a den in the snow, lay it down with branches in an effort to keep themselves warm. But the things were about to get even more bizarre. Bodies were actually found few feet from their improvised shelter in the deep part of the ravine on the area of only 4 m2. Some of the hikers' clothing (2 sweaters and pants) were found to be radioactive. Also, some of the clothes taken from the bodies underneath the cedar tree were placed on the cedar branches, but apparently they were not used.


Jan 23 the group (10) takes train No.43 from Sverdlovsk to the city of Serov.
Jan 25 the group (10) arrives by train in Ivdel and takes the bus to Vizhay
Jan 26 truck takes the group to a logging community called 41st settlement (aka 41st district or quarter)
Jan 27 the group hires a sled for 24 km to North-2 mining settlement (abandoned)
Jan 28 Yuri Yudin goes back with the sled due to poor healt (sciatica), the group now consist of 9 members
they spend the night on the banks of Lozva river
Jan 29 the group on skis makes their way from Lozva to Auspiya river where they spend the night
Jan 30 the group pitches their tent on the banks of Auspiya river
Jan 31 the group spends the night on the banks of Auspiya river and leaves provisions on a raised platform (labaz) to lighten their backpacks for the ascent
Feb 1 the group starts late, goes 500m off their planned route and pitch their tent on the north slope of Kholat Syakhl
what is nowadays called Dyatlov Pass is not where they went but where they intended to go
Feb 2 all members of Dyatlov Group die in a mysterious way
Feb 12 the group was expected back in Vizhay
Feb 21 search parties are on their way
Feb 26 Slobtsov finds the tent
Prosecutor Vasily Tempalov opens an official investigation
Feb 27 bodies of Doroshenko, Krivonischenko (by Sharavin and Koptelov), Kolmogorova (by Moyseev rescue dog) and Dyatlov (mansi Kourikov group) are found
Mar 2 the cache (labaz) is found by Slobtsov and Kourikov
Mar 4 autopsy of Doroshenko, Krivonischenko, Dyatlov and Kolmogorova
Mar 5 body of Slobodin is found
Mar 8 autopsy of Slobodin
Mar 9 Doroshenko and Kolmogorova are buried in Mikhailovskoe cemetery
Krivonischenko is buried in Ivanovskoe Cemetery
Mar 10 Dyatlov and Slobodin are buried in Mikhailovskoe cemetery
Mar 17 Vladimir Korotaev is fired and Lev Ivanov is assigned as a lead investigator
May 5 den and bodies of Dubinina, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov are found (by Askinadzy)
May 9 autopsy of Dubinina, Kolevatov and Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov
May 12 Dubinina, Kolevatov and Thibeaux-Brignolle are buried in Mikhailovskoe cemetery
Zolotaryov is buried in Ivanovskoe cemetery
May 18 radiological test of clothes on Dubinina, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov
May 28 case closed

Official statement for closing the case given by Junior Counselor of Justice and Criminal Prosecutor of Sverdlovsk region, Lev Ivanov:

The deaths of the expedition members were due to a series of mistakes by Dyatlov. On 1 February he began the ascent to the summit at 3 PM, even though he knew about the difficulty of the terrain. Furthermore – and this was Dyatlov’s next mistake – he chose a line 500 m to the left of the planned pass that lies between Peak 1079 and Peak 880. So the group found themselves on the eastern slope of Peak 1079. They used what was left of the daylight to ascend to the summit in strong winds (which are typical for this area) and low temperatures of minus 25 degrees centigrade. Dyatlov found himself in bad conditions for the night, so he decided to pitch his tent on the slope of 1079 so as to start in the morning without adding the distance from the forest (~1 km) to the remaining trek of about 10 km to the summit.

Considering the absence of external injuries to the bodies or signs of a fight, as well as the abandonment of all the valuable resources, adding the conclusions of the medical examinations for the causes of the deaths, it has to be concluded that the cause of their deaths was calamity or overwhelming force.

Autopsy reports, proceed with caution - real crime scene photos »

Many theories have arisen about the event »


Dyatlov Pass: Open Discussion
Any thoughts on the matter?