Mar 23, 2010
During the Cold War, a group of Soviet hikers disappeared in the Ural mountains. When they were finally discovered, it was clear that something had killed them — but what, exactly?
The Dyatlov Pass incident resulted in the deaths of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural mountains on the night of February 2, 1959. It happened on the east shoulder of the mountain Kholat Syakhl (Холат-Сяхыл) (a Mansi name, meaning Mountain of the Dead). The mountain pass where the incident occurred has since been named Dyatlov Pass (Перевал Дятлова) after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov (Игорь Дятлов).
The lack of eyewitnesses has inspired much speculation. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling natural force” had caused the deaths. Access to the area was barred for skiers and other adventurers for three years after the incident.[better source needed] The chronology of the incident remains unclear because of the lack of survivors.
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 (−22 °F). Although the corpses showed no signs of struggle, two victims had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue.