Interesting article by Richard Holmgren, and remarkable feat camping out at minus 50 C. First time I heard of that 1978 incident in Sweden, another sad tragedy. However, Holmgren’s theory that the Dyatlov group fled the tent because of a hurricane wind does not make sense at all. First, there is no evidence of hurricane winds. Photos of the tent when it was found show it was still attached to 2 skis, and the skis were still standing straight.
A hurricane wind would have torn that tent off the ski and/or snapped the ski, or pushed down the skis. Also, there was a flashlight found on the tent. A hurricane wind would have blown that away.
Holmgren points at 1959 photos showing wind-sculpted snow on the mountain slope near the tent. But that’s how alpine areas look like most of the time after an ordinary wind. In fact, I’ve seen slopes that were blown completely dry of snow after really severe winds . Doesn’t seem to have been the case at the Dyatlov Pass in February 1959, judging from the photos.
I’ve once been in a tent on a mountain slope that had been collapsed by severe wind. Even thought it was summer, the last thing to do would have been to flee from the tent. Much better to stay IN the collapsed tent, which is still a shelter of some kind, and stay warm under the blankets, and hold it down by one’s own body weight. It is only a matter of grabbing the loose ends of the tent from inside, and tucks them under one’s body as much as possible.
That would be even more the case for the Dyatlov group. If a hurricane wind suddenly came up, perhaps they would have purposedly collapsed the tent to remove as much grip from the wind as possible, but they certainly would have crawled back into the collapsed tent and stayed warm under blankets until the storm abated. The weight of nine people would be enough to hold the tent down.
The last thing to do would be to leave the tent and flee half-dressed in minus 30 C, into hurricane winds, which would be physically impossible. So, the evidence is that there was no hurricane wind. There had to have been something else, something completely unbearable that happened AT the tent that forced them to flee.
Holmgren’s thought about the snow den collapsing reminds me of another incident that happened to me at a small alpine creek in very deep snow high in the mountains. With such a creek sometimes there are sections that don’t freeze until late, which creates some cavities under the snow not visible from above. I once got stuck down such a spot, i.e. down this 2 metres chimney of snow and into the shallow water, and had great difficulties extricating myself. Perhaps the 4 people found in the creek in May 1959 had been looking for more branches for bedding and fell down into this kind of hidden ‘cave’ at the creek, and were too exhausted and cold by then to get themselves out, or were smothered by the snow collapsing on them from above.