On the pass with Slobtsov group 23.02-4.03
© NGO "INTERNET CENTER of the Dyatlov group tragedy", 2007
Text of the conversation between representatives of the "CENTER for Civil Investigation of the Dyatlov Tragedy" Elder (KA), "Dyatlov Foundation" Yuri Kuntsevich (YK) with Vadim Brusnitsyn (VB) May 2007. The copyright for the sound recording and this text belongs to: NGO CENTER for Civil Investigation of the Dyatlov Tragedy, NGO Dyatlov Foundation, and Vadim Brusnitsyn. The text was recorded from the audio recording of the conversation and edited by Verden, NAVIG, Alessio, and Elder.
VB: I have photographs... I, of course, wanted to take them... plus the album. There, in general, I’ve already written down the numbers exactly, that’s what’s valuable... what happened during the rescue operation.
VB: ... This is a photo of when they are walking, photos of the route and when they set up a tent. For the last time.
KA: Well, this photo has gone viral all over the air... right? Is this the one?
VB: Well, I don’t know which one... specifically...
KA: There’s a blizzard and twilight...
VB: Yes yes yes yes
I still have another photograph in my album, which is of them digging a hole for a tent. Have you seen this?
VB: Here it is preserved. True, it is no longer of very good quality, because it was already getting dark. There was wind, a snowstorm, but still...
VB: ... So, well, as for me, you probably know me, I studied at UPI, at that time I was finishing the winter session, I had just finished. I myself became interested in hiking back in school, i.e. I had good treks, my brother kept pushing me into this matter, pushing me further, in general, I got obsessed with it for the rest of my life. .... At the institute he organized a group for us, we still get in touch, we all know each other, etc. And this group was tempered already in the very first event, I don’t say - here in the Urals, in winter, etc. We went to the Sayans, for two years in a row we had large expeditions of one and a half months to the Sayans. This group went through school on their own... We were young guys. 18 years old.
YK: Then it was held in high esteem...
VB: So, approximately, this is the group that we continued on, and from this group, Boris Slobtsov was in our rescue group. The rest... this group gathered very quickly... time had already passed. It was already February 20-21, the control dates had all passed. And I remember from my notes that on February 22 we finally flew to Ivdel. From Uktus airport. There were about 7 of us, I think.
KA: Don’t remember their last names?
VB: By name? Well, we have Slobtsov, the leader.
YK: He had a lot of experience by that time... was he older than you?
VB: No, we are the same age, we went on all these hikes, as they say, we got used to all these times, after these events we got used to mountaineering, I went mountain climbing. First we were going trekking, and then we switched to mountaineering. Well, here I am with him all the time.
KA: And so, you flew out with Slobtsov, Sharavin was most likely there...
VB: Sharavin, yes.
KA: Perhaps Koptelov, no?
VB: The group there was already motley, there were people older than us, we didn’t know them well. We didn't go with them. So to speak, we went on this mission for the first time with such a composition. That's why I don't remember everyone now.
KA: Did anyone meet you there in Ivdel?
VB: Yes, we were met in Ivdel. We believed that we would be immediately transferred to helicopters and sent further, but due to perhaps bad weather or organizational difficulties, we were able to fly only the next day, and we flew in 2 batches... they split us... there were helicopters... maybe 4... the carrying capacity was small, in general there were difficulties, there were also problems during landing, I don’t remember everything now... The first task that we were given: "We will drop you off on Otorten. Please, explore it, examine its slopes and try to find traces. We are giving you local trackers, hunters, guides" - two people, one I remember was called Ivan...
- 2 -
YK: Did he prove himself to be a tracker?
VB: You know... Imagine a person who knows the taiga, knows where everything is there and how, knows the taiga, knows the signs there, and then he was dropped off by helicopter, and even on some kind of... then the peak where he had never walked, never tried to find out there... because he was afraid of them (these places), he did not know them. Everything is complete confusion, he doesn’t know anything anymore - where is he? Where to go? What to do? - Well, I had to take all the reins into my own hands.
KA: Wasn’t he a boy?
VB: No, no. This means that the pilots did not land us on Otorten...
KA: Can you show us approximately?
VB: To the eastern peak of Otorten, Otorten consists of 3 peaks - correct?
VB: The eastern one, the central and main one - the western one. (shows on the map) Here it is - Otorten, Lozva. Here are the peaks, this height is 1017, they dropped us off somewhere here.
KA: On a flat area.
VB: Yes, there was some kind of platform there... We also thought... we didn’t talk to the pilots... they dropped us off, spun around... flew out out and that’s it... We We didn’t even think that they dropped us off somewhere else, we thought that we were on Otorten...
YK: But did you get your bearings? Do you understand where you were?
VB: Yes, we later got our bearings, because we went up here right away... And in general, not everything was visible, because the clouds covered Otorten and our hill... then it became clearer and we saw that we were not where we were supposed to be... We had these maps 1:1,000,000,000 issued to us in Ivdel. We were guided by them... Can you imagine? So we examined this peak, climbed it - there were no traces, no signs that anyone had gone there. We went back down and made a decision. What is the solution? – we go down to Lozva into the valley and look for traces there.
YK: Yes. Most likely.
VB: In general, there is forest all around here, these traces should be preserved in the forest. Why exactly to Lozva? Reasoning logically, we thought that Dyatlov and his group would climb along Lozva, which is the closest, but we never thought that he would go along Auspiya. And so we went down that same day to Lozva, searched and searched...
VB: Down, straight down.
VB: Yes, there is deep snow there, i.e. we went straight down, without thinking twice, we still thought we would cross the ski track before the end of the day... When we didn’t find it... These searches, ascents, movements, floundering, by the way, they were waiting for the second group, which was delayed, we waited for about two hours, time passed and we spent the night here. This was the first day.
KA: Who was in your group?
YK: Here are three people?
VB: No, our group, here it is... in my opinion - 7 people, with guides...
KA: This is Slobtsov's group...
VB: Slotsov, this is the first group that was dropped here. I don't remember the how many.
YK: That is. Were you dropped off in two places?
VB: No, we were dropped off... Our group was divided into 2 parts and dropped here in parts.
KA: And you gathered here, spent the night here.
VB: We spent the night here. On the same day, a plane flew to us here, and since we were in the snow and in the forest, the plane circled for a long time to see us, Maslennikov and I had some appropriate signals, lie down in a square, lie down with the letter T, and also lie down with a pole , i.e. every signal meant something. Well, of course we tried... the plane was circling, we somehow managed to lie down - we were lying down, but he didn’t see us - pine trees and so on, and then we said: "Guys, as soon as you see the plane, run straight to the clearing" - good advice "How will you get there? because waist-deep snow in these forests and no one knows where this clearing is - to the left or to the right?", these were the difficulties. Here, for the night, the first canister was dropped down to us, with these instructions: Ortyukov's note
In these instructions we were even told that the Mansi had discovered a trace of the group on Auspiya river. Found somewhere there and some days ago. I don’t know, well, maybe a week, or even more, in my opinion, on the ninth, on the ninth they discovered... as a result, they discovered an overnight stay. That means then... since we have the information... then we move to Auspiya.
- 3 -
YK: You obviously crossed over like this?
VB: Well, we went to the South, of course. That's right, this is where we came...
YK: Is this 20 km?
VB: In general, yes, I think it’s quite normal for moving through the taiga... In general, we passed normally... So... We went out to Auspiya and immediately left... we found next
KA: Ski, right?
VB: A ski trail, and we came to one that was barely visible, how did we even notice it?
YK: Well, noticed.
VB: That’s it, here we immediately warmed up, it was already evening. They quickly divided into two groups of three. My group and I went down to the river. The ski track disappeared in open areas, in the forest it was well preserved and after about five kilometers we reached the camp site. Our task was to find where they had the supply cache depot, because everyone understood that when they ascend to the peak, they leave everything unnecessary at the bottom, making it as easy as possible, so they believed that this was the first and most important thing to find. There was nothing at this overnight canp; the site that the Mansi found was apparently still further down the river. And Slobtsov and Halizov were still there, with Sharavin and Ivan, they went up.
YK: Along this ski track...
VB: When the ski track went down the slope, open area, everything disappeared there... it was already getting dark in the evening, we didn’t go any further... we spent the night here. But the next day, we thought - there was nothing to do at the bottom - the ski track goes up there, then we divide the group into three and since Slobtsov was going there, he already knows, Slobtsov - we tell him: "You are on the ski trail, which is visible, get your bearings, take the azimuth and walk along the azimuth without paying attention to anything." The remaining two groups began to search... we went down the tracks... we split up and began to search below. In addition, we were also looking for a food supply and clothing etc. cache depot. We found nothing. But! When Slobtsov went out to the pass, through binoculars, as he writes later, he noticed something resembling a tent on the slope of the Lozva river valley. They reached the pass. They walked along the slope, traversing without losing altitude, and from this point, apparently, they saw the tent.
VB: They approached it (the tent).
KA: Is this your photo?
VB: Another shot, this is when the prosecutor is already standing.
KA: Is this the prosecutor?
VB: No, no – You know... from the pictures that the group took, there was big...(snow). They were forced to prepare a place for the tent, prepare a place - dig a hole.
VB: The snow was blown away and therefore the tent seemed to remain on the surface, all the snow was blown off the tent. There were some things lying on it, as Slobtsov writes - a Chinese lantern... something else, an ice ax stuck...
KA: When Slobtsov and Sharavin discovered the tent, the snow had already been blown away from it?
VB: Blown away.
KA: The tent was dug in by the Dyatlov group themselves.
VB: Yes, by the Dyatlovites group.
VB: Yeah, during this time the winds blew everything down... for three weeks.
KA: Is this the prosecutor?
VB: Yes, it looks like this is the prosecutor... This is Ivanov...
KA: Ivanov already? Has Korotaev been removed yet?
VB: Wait, Ivanov was there at that time. Korotaev? - I don’t know, but we worked with Ivanov all the time. Ivanov was present at our base camp all the time, Ivanov took part in all search operations. We worked there for about a month and then we left, well, we left after we found everything that was there on the surface. We knew: "that's all guys, this a dead end", for now we have nothing to do here and since we are the first, our nerves were all at the limit, we were very tired - we changed.
KA: During the time that Ivanov was present, were there other investigators or prosecutors with him, any of the employees of the prosecutor's office - a photographer, for example?
VB: I don’t know, I don’t remember.
KA: Did anyone take pictures of the locations? Maybe during excavations?
VB: They may have taken photographs during the excavations..
KA: And the bodies?
VB: But at that time, no, and even I didn’t photograph the bodies. Somehow my hand didn’t rise.
KA: Did they make references to the terrain, were there any outlines, measurements for ridges, for peaks?
VB: Well, okay, we found a tent, took from there all the most valuable things that were on the surface, as Slobtsov writes: "Dyatlov's storm jacket, alcohol, cameras" and with this load we went down to our camp where we lived. We were already there, the whole group had gathered and just at that time the radio operator arrived with the mushers (drivers of a dogsled - ed.), I think it was February 25th. We take the coordinates of this place and send it over the radio, and after that the next day everything started spinning and spinning, and the groups were already dropped everywhere, there was no need for search panic, but without any preliminary information, the management panicked and dropped search groups at a different places, and now everyone had to be picked up and transported to the base camp.
- 4 -
KA: Is your camp on this map?
VB: Our camp, which later became a search camp, we were where I showed - a bit far away, the next day we were given the command: "Look for a place for a base camp for 50 or some people and prepare a platform for the helicopter."
KA: And where was it?
VB: It was somewhere here... this area.
KA: Is this the base camp?
VB: Yes, base camp.
KA: What about the helipad?
VB: First, the helicopter pad, we lost a lot of time and did it near the base camp, but of course we couldn’t do it, we had to remove dead wood and a lot of snow there. Well, in the end they decided that it would be no big deal to land the helicopters here.
KA: On the hard snow...
VB: So... the radio operators transmitted... we were preparing the base camp...
YK: And on the 26th they found the bodies?
VB: And on
KA: So when they made the inventory, they did it on pieces of paper in pencil, and then the protocols were then written, probably indoors?
VB: Of course. So, what caught my eye: of course, it was panic, it was a panic that was impossible to predict, well, you probably know very well, you were probably told how they left the tent. These are people getting ready for bed, they have almost all undressed, maybe they were already lying down, sleeping, at least they had already laid down... - they are warm, they have a team, there is an ascent ahead - everything is fine, everyone is healthy, no reason to panic, but, nevertheless, it all happened. So, what I noticed was a ski pole inside the tent, I don’t know whether someone talked about it or didn’t? Cut into several parts.
KA: They talked about a broken pole, there was some kind of broken stick
YK: And now you clarify that it was divided.
VB: It was divided into several parts - this is what I have written in my notes.
YK: Was it bamboo...
VB: At that time the sticks were wooden... It seemed very strange to me then, because why cut a pole? It’s hard to think of what this would be for, especially since no one takes poles in reserve - sometimes they take skis with them, but they don’t have poles. This is such a peculiarity.
KA: Inside the tent?
VB: Yes, inside the tent.
KA: Was the stove there... in what condition?
VB: The stove was fine, with a supply of firewood - everything was done as it should be.
KA: They say that even the combat leaflet was pinned up and was still hanging on the wall. No?
VB: I don’t remember it, no, I’m unlikely to remember it. But there was complete order, everything was laid out correctly there, skis under the tent, backpacks, some things, boots in one place.
YK: So, you think the stove has either already cooled down or has not been used?
KA: No. It was warm, it was cooked.
VB: You see, of course, they had to start the stove, I don’t know, they had to start it.
KA: Were the boots towards the heads, in the backpacks, or lined up at the entrance to the tent?
VB: I think they were lower.
VB: Under the feet, I’ll clarify further, I think I had it written down.
VB: Well, the fact that they had dinner - this also says the same thing, there was food throughout the tent, sugar, crackers, maybe they were finishing dinner, or finished, or just started - they were eating loin.
YK: They were even accused of scattering it, but how can you not scatter it... in the dark?
VB: Maybe I don’t know at what point they did it, why the products were scattered is unclear to me. Maybe when you panic. ... And before eating or later, they had food at hand - they scattered it. The same loin was found in the labaz. This, of course, was their most valuable product, which they saved for the ascent, that is. For the most difficult...
YK: Calorie reserve...
VB: The most calorie reserve... They didn’t eat it, in my opinion, even on the route...
YK: We saved it for dry lunches... If they planned an ascend and return to Otorten, then it was right...
VB: Everyone always does this... Why did they stand there? - I think that Dyatlov was in a hurry - they lost a lot of time below and they had a lost day, they were already one day behind schedule and then they still lost a lot of time in that camp, it took a long time to make the labaz, it took a long time to get ready, they started off, as we believe, almost in the afternoon, i.e. their way is short... But since it was already in the evening, it is clear that when they set up the tent it was already getting dark - so they decided since they left late, to spend the night there, i.e. they were preparing for this...
VB: Another thing I noticed, I don’t think it appeared anywhere, when they left the tent, they didn’t come out, but ran. Well, healthy guys - Doroshenko, Krivonischenko... You can see the trail, i.e. he walks downhill and makes a trail with his whole body - tramples down the snow - a trail, the next trail, etc. as I told you, the wind blew away the snow during these three weeks - but the traces remained, the columns remained, the snow became so compacted, that not only did they leave in a panic - they ran down in a panic, and then further on they gather, there was no way out.
YK: Only up to the heat source...
VB: What is the heat source there? They knew very well that there was a forest there, and the forest consisted of bushes, bushes, bushes and the first tree they came across - a cedar...
YK: How did they find it in the dark...
VB: Yes, of course, in this state - barefoot, in socks...
YK: Question of questions...
VB: For me, in general, this is not a question, if you want, I’ll tell you the version.
YK: Let's hear it...
VB: There are so many of them, I don’t even read some of them... I know that there is a lot of nonsense there, etc. Well, at least it’s not an avalanche - the slope is not steep, avalanches on a slope like that don't come off...
VB: My version, well, at least it's not an avalanche. The slope is not steep. There could be no avalanche on such a slope. And an avalanche cannot reach from neighboring peaks either. I think they took some kind of psychotropic drug and poisoned themselves with it. They all got excited and panicked. I think that a psychiatrist or someone else, if asked, could explain the behavior of this group. I can no longer explain their behavior, because I know such people very well. Let's take Doroshenko, such a phlegmatic, such a balanced person, and he also panics. I can’t imagine what could make him jump out of a warm tent into the darkness. It's just something internal. They had some kind of common mental disorder.
YK: We know that they ate something inside, there is a loin and something else.
VB: I, um, go to the brisket. Because I imagine that they dried the crackers themselves, the condensed milk that was there was also standard, factory-made, the sugar was the same, but they had nothing else.
KA: Sharavin drank the alcohol later...
YK: Maybe they took some vitamins, maybe something pharmacological?
VB: I don’t know, you should have asked Yudin, he took part in the training camp. He may know some details. You need to read the diaries.
KA: Since he is the group's medic, he collected the first aid kit and knows what was in there.
VB: I think that their first aid kit was standard, healthy people don’t take anything overly complicated. The kit is there, bandages, something for fever and other simple medications.
YK: Maybe they had something Dyatlov had in store there for this occasion?
VB: No. At that time there were no such means that they simply did not know. The vitality is there...
KA: Komsomol members did not use drugs.
VB: Therefore, I still still have my eye on the loin. Everyone ate it and everyone got poisoned. Everyone went crazy at the same time and all at once.
KA: Let's return to the search activities.
KA: After they found the three, on the way to the tent, there was a statement by Atmanaki that you were not allowed onto the neighboring slope. Somebody. Men in Black. Were there any? Wasn't it?
VB: No, everything was ordinary. The whole group (hikers, NAVIG note) was below, no one harassed them, did not force them to go there, they went there themselves. Maybe these psychotropic drugs were already being developed at that time. We know that they are being developed now. A person can be turned into a zombie, etc. At that time, their use may have been truly an experiment, or it could have been an accident.
KA: How long were you there?
VB: Month, from February to March 22.
KA: Did you walk along the slopes with probes?
VB: We probed with ski poles, the probes had not yet been delivered. We tried to find something near the tent. Then the probes arrived. We tried to search the slope, but we went in the wrong place.
- 6 -
KA: Did you see the fire under a cedar, where they found the two bodies, Doroshenko and Krivonischenko lying on the ground, there was no blanket on top?
VB: No, they wasn’t. They were half naked. What is characteristic is that cedar is the tallest tree there. They broke branches... I said that the guys were strong... the branches were about 8 cm in diameter. Damp branches, very thick branches, I was amazed, I couldn’t break them.
KA: They weren’t chopped off or were they sawed off?
VB: No, they were all broken off. They probably had one knife and nothing more.
KA: At what height were the branches broken?
VB: Height is human height and above, about one and a half human height. I remember that they broke the first branches, the lower branches.
KA: Was there any dead wood?
VB: There was no dead wood. It wasn't visible. It was a pitiful fire, not covered with snow, no branches were placed in the fire.
KA: Was there a saw when inventorying the tent?
VB: There was no saw. There was an ax, there was an ice ax, but they didn't need a saw.
KA: Were the skis standing next to the tent and what was propping up the corners of the tent?
VB: All the skis were under the tent. The tent was pitched using ski poles. I don't remember what was under the visor.
KA: (looks at the photo, writes notes the photo) This is the prosecutor, and who is this?
VB: I don’t remember his last name, but I know his face and I remember him.
KA: Did Ivanov bring with him instruments to measure the level of radioactive contamination of the area in your presence?
VB: In our time there were no radio devices. They were brought later, I have been told.
Geologist: Did geologists move the corpses in front of you?
VB: What do you mean moved? We carried them. We carried the corpses up to the pass.
Geologist: I was in the hospital with a geologist and he said that he was dragging corpses.
VB: Until May, people were sitting there and search work was going on there and the people there were changing all the time. I don’t know when geologists were there. But when we were there, there were no geologists. They brought all the groups that were dropped off at Otorten... and other places. Sogrin's group was one of them... They were here. Here, all the hikers are UPI. They worked. Soldiers came after. Someone else arrived there. From the camps, in my opinion. As for geologists, I don’t remember there being any. It was probably later.
Geologist: Regarding the radiation... geologists have a...
VB: That’s when we went to the Sayan Mountains in ’57. We contacted the geologists there, the locals.
- Give us something. We will do the work for you. We are in remote places where there is no one. There is nothing there for hundreds of kilometers. Maybe something interests you there?
- Yes, we are interested. Here's a counter, see where there is radiation, write it on the map and pass it on to us.
KA: (shows photo) Is this the same cedar?
VB: Yes, it could be that cedar. Well, you see the stumps, there were a few broken branches, maybe three at most.
KA: (shows photo) Here in the photo is Ivan in Akselrod’s group, Ivan Tipikin.
VB: This is not my photo, I don’t know who it is, I knew Ivan Tipikin, he was in Akselrod’s group and in my opinion this is not him.
YK: He doesn’t seem to be dressed like a hiker. Look at his shoes...
VB: Maybe. I'll show you his photo. Monya Axelrod took photographs there, but Monya also appeared there later, his group was dropped off in some other place and he appeared there a few days later... But, yes. Ivan Tipikin was there. Was in Akselrod's group.
KA: When did Ivanov appear at the scene of the tragedy?
VB: Ivanov appeared almost with the first helicopter when they set up a camp (tent), not the first camp, but a large one. We were given a command to find a place for the base camp, here (map) we go down, we had a walkie-talkie, they sent us coordinates. We found a more or less normal site. Then helicopters and cargo appeared. We pulled it off. This was our job.
KA: When did the Mansi appear?
VB: The Mansi found a ski track 9 days before our landing, somewhere completely below... The first Mansi appeared in the camp... a musher (dogsled driver - ed.), with dogs and a walkie-talkie.
YK: It wasn’t Mansi with the walkie-talkie.
VB: I have a picture, we are standing and the radio operator. (photo) I have a photo of one Mansi.
KA: We also have a photo of Mansi, presumably Kurikov.
VB: Yes, he was a character...
- 7 -
YK: Do you have a photo of Vladimir Korotaev?
VB: Must have of course
YK: We wanted to restore the presence of hikers groups in the area.
VB: There were no hikers groups there.
YK: Somewhere in the subpolar Urals, in very similar conditions, Zinovyev says that their tent burned down, they are all alive, healthy, and have returned.
KA: You went on a parallel hike? The groups of Blinov, Karelin, Slobtsov, apparently Sogrin and Dyatlov.
VB: We just finished the session and we haven’t gone anywhere yet, Sogrin was there on a hike. He was a senior and they were released earlier.
YK: And the statement that Dyatlov tried for the party congress...
VB: We didn’t pay attention to politics, we didn’t have time for politics.
KA: Why could the Dyatlov group be injured
VB: This is all explainable, I tried to simulate their movement, albeit in appropriate shoes and clothes.
KA: What year?
VB: At the same time. I tried to run down from the tent. But this is a slope. there was a slippery firn. And to the left and right there are bastions of rocks. The closer to Lozva, the more stones there are. (approx. KA - this was when all the loose snow was blown away from the slope). And on this slope you can gain such a speed that from any fall you can break all your ribs, especially crack your head - no problem.
KA: (photo by Sharavin 2001) In general, you mean this ridges...?
VB: Well, yes, something like this…. In general, it looked like this...
YK: Well, if you accelerate down it's easy to slow down here.
VB: You see, it’s slippery in socks. How can you slow down in socks? (KA's note. This applies to the end of February, when everything blew away).
KA: (shows a summer photo) Where could the tent be?
VB: Well, somewhere there.
KA: Sharavin also indicated. He walked in the spring... and was already a little on top. In May 2001.
YK: We must write without conclusions, give facts. And then everyone is free to themselves...
VB: I am only for it to be documented, without any fantasies. And the first fantasy is Yarovoy. And after that it began...
YK: He says, Yarovoy, that he was forced, he was not allowed to print this.
VB: Maybe. There was such a time.
Geologist: His name was "Beard"...
KA: Now, if it’s not difficult for you to approach... (to the computer). This is the mountain, this is the rock with the outlier, this is the pass, here or here? (panorama of Shelemetyev with 2 tent installation sites)
VB: Well, it seems correct, but not at the top. On the wrong slopes. (shows Shelemetyev's version).
KA: One of the searchers wrote that in the common tent at the base camp, in addition to the students and Ivdellag soldiers, there were about 15 people in black sheepskin coats with pistols. Did you see anything like that?
VB: Why come if the search was unsuccessful? To work, to pierce the snow... They had nothing to do there with black pistols. Illogical. This, in my opinion, was invented.
KA: Let's not discard it yet. And so, Akselrod wrote that he was not allowed onto the neighboring slope. And the strange thing is that there it seems like there shouldn’t be any traces there.
VB: Maybe there is another reason? They said there is no point in climbing the mountains there...
YK: It’s state money... maybe that’s why. But let there be an option. Akselrod also told me that there were moments when it seemed to him that he was not allowed to go.
VB: No one controlled me, I went wherever I wanted to.
KA: Sharavin said that the searchers had cameras, and the "guides" definitely had also. The "guides" took pictures everywhere, and the searchers had to do it all secretly.
VB: Well, I heard that too. But this was not the case. Firstly, the guides, the two guides who were with us, they were not capable to use cameras, they were intellectually... These are hunters, local residents who know the area very well. They wouldn't know the first thing about a camera, they didn't need it...
KA: The guides of the Slobtsov and Brusnitsin groups were qualitatively different. Sharavin said that theirs did not know how to read tracks, walked behind the group, were not interested in anything, and had cameras, that is, these are people of a different category.
YK: Not from the university, what about the security... guys from the village...
VB: No, as I said, they were guides. These are not soldiers. The soldiers there knew nothing at all. They only worked there on orders and that’s it, and didn’t wander around. In principle, I could also take photographs, whatever I needed. Nobody stopped me. But I just couldn’t, morally or something.
- 8 -
KA: About the tent. We never saw a list of what was in the tent. Moreover, at first, there seemed to be a mention of the number of felt boots, number of ski boots, something else, and then Ivanov crunches all in the protocols to "a certain number"... That is, the specific figure disappears. This also raises some concerns about falsification. Or they began to simplify things in the case files. The fact is that among the footprints they found a mark from a shoe heel. On the slope. Among the tracks of those descending was a footprint with a heel.
VB: These pillars had such a deformed shape, how did it blow out... from which side... It was clear that it was a pillar, just a trace, but it was impossible to determine what size it was there? What type of shoes does it belong to? – An ordinary column, even at the top it is somehow smoothed out. And, of course, there are not many of these columns, because not all the people fled. The rest - they probably tumbled down when they fled from the tent.
KA: A question that has been asked a lot is about the official registration. In Ivdel, Vizhay and other villages. Was it necessary to go somewhere, to some authorities and register? That is, put a stamp.
VB: This is how we usually did it. We stamped the route sheet in places where we passed a settlement.
VB: There is a special place where they keep a stamp and this practise was common.
AK: Who usually put these stamps?
VB: Anyone who had the stamp or seal could make it.
AK: Post office, executive committee, something else?
VB: All of them.
AK: His work was with the Mansi... (Korotaev)
YK: That's why he remembers so keenly. Good.
AK: They said that he protected them from torture.
VB: Forceful methods, because who else besides Mansi is there? The prisoners were all accounted for, here in the camp.
Mansi, this is their mountain of the dead, a sacred place.
AK: That’s why they started pestering them at first.
VB: Well, they stopped because there was a woman who said that the tent was cut up from the inside.
AK: Ivanov has this in the protocol. Order for the tent to be sent for examination.
VB: ...and the knife they used to cut is also in place... it was with them, they cut it and took it with them.
AK: And those big knives?
YK: Well, everyone had one, but not everyone took it...
AK: Sharavin says that he remembers only one big knife that of Krivonischenko...
VB: I don't remember. I remember there was one below. It seemed to me that it belonged to Slobodin, but maybe I’m wrong.
YK: But it is impossible to cut off such things with two or any other number of knives. And there the den was made when they were found - from 2 to 3 fingers wide branches from a pine tree.
You have no doubt that they did it themselves. But when my guys spent the night there... scouts, they couldn’t walk further than 5 meters in their socks. The guys were strong.
VB: Summer or winter?
YK: In winter, in winter. On February 2nd there every year “Romantic” repeats these trips. It was Sheremet who filmed everything there. Its representatives. Well, they tried it and that's it. Straightaway. Because it's moisture. And moisture increases heat transfer 20 times. If the legs are warm - everything melts. Blizzard.
VB: Their heads were turned off. They had no control over anything.
VB: Let me tell you what and how it happened according to the dates of the events:
We flew to Ivdel on
They dropped off two groups. While the second group was flying, we explored the Eastern Peak. And only in the afternoon we began to descend into the valley of Lozva river.
Our task was to establish whether there was a group at the top and, if not, to descend south into the Lozva valley. That’s what we did.
KA: Did you go all together and no radial ascents?
VB: No, we didn’t. There was a lot of snow and we couldn’t make any tracks other than the main one. On the same day, February 24, we crossed the watershed between Auspiya and Lozva into the valley of Auspiya river and on the 24th, when we crossed, we immediately found the trail. The trail followed a straight line along the river. We often went into the forest and through clearings. After finding the ski track, we split into two parts, one part went down and the other went up. Those who went down found an overnight camp, about 5 kilometers from this place. But therte was nothing there. This was an overnight stay before the camp with the labaz. The upper group immediately lost track when they reached the slope of the ridge and were forced to return back. This is Slobtsov, Sharavin, and the guide.
- 9 -
KA: According to Sharavin, they cut through the tent with an ice ax to see what was inside.
VB: Why cut it down if the snow from the tent was blown away. There was more snow inside the tent, so they shoveled it away, and on the canvas itself, which lay on the surface, the snow was blown away. It (tent, NAVIG) was open. They told us and I have this written down, there was a flashlight lying on top.
KA: How could it be lying on a slant?
VB: The entire tent lay on the snow, except for one ridge, the front one, where the entrance is. Everything else lay in the snow. And on this flat tarpaulin lay a flashlight. When they looked into the cut tent, they found Dyatlov’s storm jacket. They checked his pockets and found a box of candy, documents and money. Immediately here everything became clear that it was not a robbery but something else that had happened. On the same day, Kurikov’s group with a walkie-talkie caught up with us. Here we took the coordinates from the map scale 1:1,000,000,000 and transmitted it. Maslennikov's canister was dropped on February 24. And in the evening, over the radio, we received an order the next day to choose a place to set up a camp for 50 people. The next day, Sharavin went up and found the corpses near the cedar tree. Here I have it written: Sharavin.
KA: Sharavin said that when he discovered the corpses, they were covered with a brown blanket, which the next day ended up in the tent.
VB: He made a mistake, I was there the next day too and didn’t see any blanket. The corpses were covered with snow. It didn’t snow that day and there was no wind. The snow was blown before.
KA: Was there deer skin underneath?
VB: No, there wasn’t. I have it written: while searching for a place for the camp, Sharavin discovered two corpses covered with snow. Helicopters began to arrive and our job was to carry equipment down to the camp site. And we didn’t search anymore. They brought dogs that examined the tent, but they couldn’t do anything, but then the dog found my Z. Kolmogorova. At that moment, Karelin and Chernyshev's groups landed on the pass.
KA: Here are the two lying, face up...
YK: No animals gnawed them.
VB: There was something there, the face was bitten a little, but I could be wrong. The next morning,
KA: Did you describe them? And was Ivanov there?
VB: At first we didn’t think about it and got scolded for it. Then we began to make approximate inventories, not major ones. There was a sawn pole in the tent, which indicates that they (the Dyatlov group) did not understand what they were doing. The pole was cut, not sawn.
YK: It was made of wood, not bamboo?
VB: It was wooden. Here I have some sketches. The tent was located on the slope of mountain 1079, entrance to the south, the steepness of the slope by eye was 20-25 degrees.
KA: Were there any stone ridges there?
VB: No, there were no stone ridges at the top. The steepness, as I remember, further down behind the tent the steepness increased. The tent stood on almost level ground (horizontal, NAVIG) and then the slope was about 20 degrees. Further, I wrote down "for setting up the tent horizontally, a hole was dug, 8 pairs of skis were placed under the tent, with the bindings down, thanks to the dense snow..." I can’t figure it out... The photo was taken later, the next day or the day after. My notes are as follows: "The whole tent was covered with snow, both inside and outside. Only the southern ridge of the tent was sticking out, there was no stick under the northern ridge. The snow was cleared away with the help of skis and poles."
KA: But were the side stretch ropes on the poles all in place?
VB: I don’t remember. Due to the fact that there were about 15 of us working, there was no system for how to clear the tent free of snow. This is exactly what we got a scolding for. First, we took out several blankets that had frozen into a ball, then buckets, a stove, two or three bags of crackers, boots, etc. Things inside the tent were laid out in the following position: backpacks, two or three blankets were laid on the bottom, followed by padded jackets and personal belongings of the hikers. Buckets, a stove, and an ax lay at the entrance on the right. Some of the products were also found here: loin, crackers, sugar. The rest of the products were in the far right corner. Most of the boots were on the left edge of the tent from the entrance
KA: Where did they lay their heads?
VB: I don't know. There were two pairs on the right (shoes). To the left, near the edge, were most of the warm clothes. There were felt boots at the left edge of the exit. Many things were scattered around the tent: fur stockings, chuni (same as valenki - ed.), some warm clothes... Several crusts of loin were found in the nearest half of the tent. Rusks are scattered around the tent. In addition, on top of all the things lay a ski pole cut into several pieces
KA: Did they leave spare skis in the labaz?
VB: I didn’t disassemble the labaz, so I can’t say anything.
YK: Cutting a ski pole, that's... maybe they used that stick to light the stove?
VB: They had firewood, good firewood, biscuits, a knife and an ax... They are experienced guys, and if they had firewood there was no problem with lighting the stove. Further it is written "apparently the northern ridge of the tent was attached on a cut pole. It is possible to decide to damage the pole, given that there was no spare one in the group, only under special circumstances." In my opinion, the reason for this was precisely the fact that their heads did not work.
- 10 -
YK: Here we cannot discount that outsiders could have been present. Maybe after that more strangers came into the tent.
YK: There wasn't trampled. In three weeks, any trace will be blown away.
VB: If there were outsiders, they would come for some purpose, they would take something with them. In my opinion, everything there is in its original form. So what next? My assumptions are written. On January 31, the group reached the pass from their overnight stay and even managed to climb it. That's what we assumed. The Dyatlov Pass was supposed to be chosen as a base for the ascent on Otorten. But bad weather prevented it and the group had to go down to the river valley of Auspiya river. That day the group was very tired. Because from that overnight stay, they immediately went up to the pass with all their belongings, and Dyatlov, seeing that there were no conditions for the base, decided to go down. This descent is small. They had no strength. It was already too late to dig a fire pit and they cooked dinner on poles, which is what we saw at this overnight stay. There was constant rising and deep snow in the area. Tired, they woke up late, the weather was not very good, Dyatlov, apparently, hesitated whether to go or not... But due to the lag, the decision was made to go for the ascent. The packing of food began, the organization of the labaz, they left late and only managed to cross the pass and set up a tent
KA: How did they go around peak 880?
VB: No traces were found. We walked only in azimuth. I don’t think that Dyatlov meandered there, he also followed the compass. And we also followed the compass, which is why we went straight to the tent. That's all I have written down.
These are 4 random photos. They will change every time you visit this page. Click on a photo to go to the full album. If you are wondering how all these loose photos without a negative surface in the public domain, this is how. They are kept in private albums for 65 years now. There is only a print. No information when the photo was taken, who is in it, we need to investigate, like pieces of a puzzle, before placing it with the Dyatlov case. You can try it yourself, see of you will find a familiar face, and then go to the treks record and see if you can guess what year (trek) is the photo from. This is new for me too. I see a couple of photos that I still haven't put in their appropriate trek albums. Will do in time.