- CASE FILES
In the University equipment inventory there is mentioning of one spare pair of skis.
Yudin returned on his skis. Ski professionals say that extra pairs of skis are essential for such a long route. Traditionally, the last person in the line drags them behind with a rope. In this photo we see Krivonischenko carrying skis on his back.
It was probably this extra pair that was used to make Kolevatov's sledge mentioned in their satirical propaganda leaflet Evening Otorten, see the Technical News section.
The storage site where Dyatlov group left provisions for their way back and lighten their backpacks for the ascend is called "labaz". Mansi rise platforms to store their game to pick it up later. Dyatlov group labaz seems to be constructed in haste – in a snow pit, rather than in trees beyond the reach of animals, as it was more common. In last entry of the group diary on January 31 Dyatlov wrote "I can't even start thinking of setting up a storage". That can explain why the labaz was in this pitiful state.
One item in particular raises questions: Dyatlov’s boots. Why continue on ski without his boots? Yudin’s answer was that, with this particular straps over the ski boots it was possible to ski in valenki and, moreover, Krivonischenko, for one, preferred to ski in his felt boots as well. Then, presuming they will be on their skis the whole time an extra ski boots will make uncomfortable extra weight.
Their cache was found marked with pair of skis propped in the snow and a gaiter slipped onto it. Here is sheet 8 from the Protocol inspection of the storage (labaz)
In the case files we have 3 different counts of the skis found at the tent and the labaz:
We can only more or less confidently assert that one pair of skis was left at the labaz and one pair of skis was stuck next to the tent at the time when Slobtsov and Sharavin found it on Feb 26th 1959.
Explanation why the number of pair of skis under the bottom of the tent differs in Tempalov and Slobtsov testimonies can be found in Atmanaki's testimony dated 7-8 Apr 1959.
“There was no point to continue the further dismantling of the things, and so they left everything into place before the investigator arrived, after raising the tent and pulling out three pairs of skis, because dog guides went on foot, and the rest of the skis were used by us to mark the places where the bodies of the dead were found.”
Tempalov and Maslennikov arrived at the pass after the skis have been pulled from under the tent. Inspection of the tent was in a day after the events Atmanaki is describing. By that time there were no longer any skis under the tent, so their number could be only circumstantial.