In 1970, a picture was taken of a typical looking UFO near Kholat Syakhl, a mountain in the Urals of Russia. There was nothing remarkable about the picture from a Ufological standpoint. Yes, it was a clear good photograph, but we have so many of those. However, it was taken in an area rich in UFO lore, and more importantly, Kholet Syakhl was where a most unusual event took place, eleven years earlier. An event which resulted in multipe deaths, and an event the police said was dues to the “invincible force of nature”

Kholat Syakhl means mountain of the dead. A name given by the Mansi people whom consider the moutain sacred, a place where spirits gather, in an area known for many strange things.


Whether Igor Dyatlov knew about the mountain’s reputation is unknown. What we do know is that he departed with nine others in early february of 1959, and soon they would all be dead, victim of that “invincible force of nature”.


The idea was to ski trek to Otorten mountain, and Dyatlov was an experienced guide. The others, students and former students of the Ral Polytechnical Institute were all experienced on the snow and mountains terrain as well, so when they failed to return after a reasonable amount of time, a search party was sent out.


This description here is entirely based on the official police report and the search party’s testimony. I haven’t personally spoken to anyone related to this case, so nothing I write here is based on first hand research. I tried to use the best sources available, and some of my hypotheses or speculation are also based on other sources of information, some directly given to me about the general area and other potentially relevant events, both mysterious and not so mysterious.

The group and the camp were easily located. The camp was found in disarray, tents torn and everyone dead. Some, died close to the camp, others further down the mountain. They were obviously running from something. All signs of panic were there.

One man was found to have died of exposure, but the others showed signs of severe internal trauma and the police stated that at least some of the victims rushed out of their tents and tried to flee. A tent was found ripped from the inside, and footprints leading away. The closest body to the tent was Zinaida Kolmorova, one of the two females in the group, lying face down in a pool of blood.

Next was Dyatlov’s body, found with a cracked skull, but no visible external damage to the head. Further away, three more bodies, also with broken skulls, broken ribs, and severe internal bleeding, but minimal damage to soft tissue. 

Dr Boris Vorozhdenny who conducted the autopsies, stated that the force necessary to induce this type of internal trauma was comparable to an automobile crash. He also, rather enigmatically stated that it was as if they had undergone some kind of high level pressure. He did not elaborate further on this point.

Perhaps, the most intriguing of the bodies was that of Lyudmila Dubinina. She was found a considerable distance from the camp site, kneeling against a boulder. Her eyes and tongue was missing, as well as a small section of skull bone. No theory was given for Dubinina’s mutilated state. Predators were not ruled out though for the missing organs.


The bodies all had an orange tint to them that the police could not explain. Yuri kuntsevich, head of the Dyatlov Foundation was 12 old when at the time. He was present at several of the funerals and he remembers how the bodies had a strange color to them. This, in fact, was what led Kuntsevich to later start the Foundation, with the goal in mind to convince the authorities to re-open the investigation, and get to the bottom of this mystery. 

Some of the clothing also contained levels of radiation, which has also never been explained. This was confirmed by forensic analysis. One of the officials on site also stated that some tree branches in the area were burnt. The branches were to high up for the burns to have been caused by fire it was determined, and officially the cause remains unknown. 

One of the earlier theories was that the hikers deaths were due to Soviet military tests, some type of weapon maybe. certainly a plausible hypothesis, but what caused the hikers to panic, run, going a far as cutting a hole in the tent and escaping barefooted still needs explaining in a less broad term.

What kind of experiment would leave no physical trace, aside from radiation? Yet, they was something physical since they ran from something undefined. All that said, I do believe this theory is worth exploring. We know of course that the Soviets did conduct nuclear weapons tests in various locales, and morality doesn’t often serve the need of the state. 



Police officer Lev Ivanov who led the investigation in 1959, claimed that high ranking officials told him to close the case and to keep quiet on the matter of flying spheres that were seen in the area. He revealed this in 1990 and went on to say that they had no explanation for the events, but he believed UFOs were involved.

Back in 1959, the police interviewed some of the local people in the area who claimed to have seen numerous orange spheres flying above the mountains, the night of the incident. The objects were completely silent. The search party also witnessed an object in the sky that they described as fiery. That sighting lasted for 20 minutes. But, the question is, was that related to what happened to the hikers?  And, furthermore, could it have been a natural phenomenon?

Looking at the UFO angle further, one cannot help but notice that from the Urals going east into Siberia and south into Kazakhstan, your looking at one of the most active UFO hot spot on the planet. The Urals specifically is an area that comes up time and time again in UFO lore and in research of various anomalous activities. The M zone for example, is but one example of many anomalous zones in this region of the world. Russians investigators consider it an area of intense UFO activity, with large orbs of light at ground level, and strange creatures sightings. These areas, including the M Zone are also spots of unusual geomagnetic anomalies, places where people experience missing time, unprovoked altered states and even healings. 

But again a warning. The data for these areas and mysteries isn’t overly large and many of the stories need to be further investigated and vetted, and more importantly, much more work needs to be done in this region before making any kind of theory. The later is really the point here. That this region deserves more field work, and that perhaps by taking a broader approach and investigating other mysterious phenomena in the region, both that appears related and ones that do not appear related, we can organically circle back to the Dyatlov mystery.


We also have to keep in mind natural phenomena, including wind and infrasound that can and have induced panic, mania and disorientation in the wild that have at times led to tragedies. In this case here, it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone in the Dyatlov party had to be affected in this scenario. One or two people afflicted then, theoretically turned on the rest of the party and at its more extreme speculative scenario could have been responsible for the deaths. Presumably, then the last person to die would be the culprit?


As is often the case with unsolved mysterious events, a mythology gets constructed around the main event. That mythology has some truths, but a great deal of it is speculation, fiction and confusion. Part of our job as investigators is to sort out truth from fiction, It’s not easy, and quite honestly there are many individuals in this field that don’t care what is true or worse don’t want it. It’s further complicated by television shows that pretend to be documentaries, but in reality are scripted and aren’t afraid to make up evidence. It used to be called hoaxing, now it’s called evidence. 

This case is no different, and this where the question of the Russian Yeti comes in. Nowwhere in the original report or in any subsequent interviews by the parties involved were there ever a mention of the Russian Yeti or Snowman. The first mention of the Snowman was in a docudrama on Discovery. The show put forward the theory that a Yeti may have been responsible for the death of the hikers. They told accounts, showed possible pictures, footprints, the whole deal. Except, none of it was true.

There were no evidence of any unusual large tracks anywhere near the campsite. The only tracks were those of the hikers themselves. There certainly were naked footprints, as well as footprints in socks, but all of those belonged to the hikers. All the tracks were human and all stopped where they should have, at the location where the individual died. And really, this where the true mystery lies, because no sign or physical trace of any kind were found on the ground that indicated what kind of danger they were running from. Whatever it was, it never touched the ground.

What is factual about the Russian Snowman or Yeti, is that it exists, and in these parts it’s called Almasty. Thousands of sightings dating back to antiquity exists in the region, and all over Russia and central Asia. Today, their range is very much reduced, and are mainly reported from the Caucasus mountains, the Pamir mountain range, Mongolia and in Siberia where they are also called Chuchunaa.

The Discovey show also mentioned a cave that was said to be the home of a Snowman. This was a hoax and an attempt to make money off tourists. For tourists to access a location, it can’t be that far from civilization, and in truth the Almasty lives deep in the forests, at least for most part. But, that’s something I’ll talk about and talk about a lot in future posts and articles, but not in ones related to the Dyatlov Pass Incident. 

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