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Original title: "Live" avalanche

Aleksander Konstantinov
What hit the tent in the night seems
to be very similar to an avalanche.
But there was not even a trace,
not to mention a slide.
M.A. Akselrod

In early February 1959, a group of nine hikers led by I.A. Dyatlov perished in the mountains of the Northern Urals. The investigation ended with the cause of the death being "an elemental force, which hikers were not able to overcome". This formulation did not explain the specific causes of death and left the door open for many speculations over the past more than 50 years. Although none of theories has become generally accepted, certain aspects of this story have been studied quite well, with the use of which a new version of the tragic events has been developed.

Events before the accident

On February 1, after leaving surplus supplies in a cache located in the upper reaches of the Auspiya river, a group of hikers led by I.A. Dyatlov made a short hike (about 2 km) and stopped for a "cold overnight stay" near the top of Kholatchakhl. The hikers set up their tent, perhaps without knowing it, on the trail (or in close proximity to it), which is used by reindeer and people (mainly Mansi reindeer herders and hunters). The tent made by the hikers from two standard four-seat tents, was set up according to the storm method, with a deepening in the snow on the moderate and treeless eastern slope of Mount Kholatchakhl.

The hikers could have pitched their tent at a kind of crossroads of several trails [1]. In addition to the above-mentioned path, near the place where the tent was set up, there are optimal routes for climbing the Main Ural Range from the valley of the Auspiya river and from the Charkanur ridge (along the watershed of the Lozva and Auspiya rivers) along the northeastern and northern slopes of Kholatchakhl. The forested Syarkyn-Ur ridge (which has the erroneous topographic name Charkanur) is located in close proximity to the site of the tragedy. This is a ridge of a meridian direction between the Lozva and Auspiya rivers and translated from the Mansi language means "Mountain with traces of a deer herd", or "Mountain with a deer pasture" (A.K. Matveev "The peaks of the stone belt" 1990).

About reindeer

It is known that in the middle of the last century, in addition to a small population of wild reindeer (Geptner et al. "Mammals of the Soviet Union" 1961), thousands of herds of domestic reindeer, as well as escaped domestic deer, grazed in the Northern Urals. The wintering of the reindeer took place in the snowless forests and swamps of the Trans-Urals, the wild deer also wintered in the bald mountains and in the forest near its upper border (and in bad weather, the deer hid in the forest). wild deer were joined by escaped domestic deer (Geptner et al. "Mammals of the Soviet Union" 1961). It is known from the Dyatlov group case files that in the winter of 1958-59, in the Northern Urals, many domestic deer died mainly due to the "kopytka" [2] disease, and also because of predators (wolves and wolverines), which population that winter was relatively large.

The weight load on the deer footprint is relatively small and amounts to 140–180 g/cm2, more than that of the musk deer, but less than that of other ungulates of the Russian fauna. Reindeer hooves are very wide and rounded, especially on the front legs - they can be widely moved apart; lateral fingers (legs) are well developed and they provide additional support when walking. By winter, the supporting area of ​​the legs increases, as the horny substance of the hooves grows back. The surface of the hoof is somewhat concave, its front edge is sharp. The joints of the legs are extremely mobile; a deer can raise its legs high and bend them at an acute angle. The hoofprints of the two middle fingers are kidney-shaped and strongly rounded. The length of the track in a large male with marigolds is 15 cm long, in an adult female it is 11 cm (Geptner et al. "Mammals of the Soviet Union" 1961), the width of the track of a large male is 12.5 cm (A.N. Formozov "Satellite Pathfinder" 2006). The length of the main hooves in adult deer is 7–8 cm, and the approximate dimensions of the "half" (one finger) of the hoof are 7–8 cm long and about 4 cm wide.

The accident

After having dinner and writing the wall newspaper "Evening Otorten", the hikers went to bed relatively early (about 10 pm), since there was no fire and the stove was not lit, there was practically no time spent on cooking (dry rations). The group was behind the schedule and tried to make up for lost time by starting the trek earlier. At that particular time, a small group of reindeer (or one deer), pursued by predators [3] (a pack of wolves or a wolverine) or fleeing from impending bad weather in the forest, runs down the path from the slope north-eastern spur of Kholatchakhl and runs into the tent. The dark time of the day, a snowy veil, and a tail wind (or side in relation to the direction of their movement) did not allow the animals to notice in time the obstacle in the form of the tent standing in a snow pit and covered with snow. A kind of "live" avalanche falls on top of the hikers in the tent, injuring them.

All the most severe injuries on the hikers (in an unheated tent they lay close to each other) could have been caused by one deer, which, having stumbled into a snow pit and (or) tripped over stretchers, fell on S.A. Zolotaryov and L.A. Dubinina, who lay at the end (northern) wall of the tent, across its long axis (like the rest of the hikers), with their heads in the direction to the east (this is exactly how, according to M.A. Akselrod, the hikers were lying in the tent). As a result, S.A. Zolotaryov, who was lying on his left side, had 5 broken ribs on his right side, and L.A. Dubinina, who was lying on her back, - 4 right and 6 left ribs (the asymmetry of the fractures is explained by the fact that part of the blow fell on A.S. Zolotaryov, who was to the right of her). Apparently, the deer fell, bending its legs, which made the blow more rigid. After the fall due to inertia and as a result of its own movement, while rising to its feet, it carries over the lying Z.A. Kolmogorova. She may have been crushed by the body of a deer, but she was not seriously injured, but it is possible that she received an injury that later caused a nosebleed [4]. Further, the deer begins to quickly rise to its feet (at the same time, the pressure on the support increases significantly as a result of the transfer of the main weight of the body to the supporting leg) and causes craniocerebral injuries to R.V. Slobodin (a fracture in the frontal bone [5] 6 cm long and hemorrhages in the right and left temporal muscles [6]) and then N.V. Thibeaux-Brignolle (fracture of the skull measuring 9 by 7 cm, with a depressed area of ​​the temporal bone 3 cm long, 2.5 cm wide and 2 cm deep). Moreover, the depressed fracture of the skull was caused by the "half" of the supporting hoof of the deer [7], trying to maintain balance on an unstable support.

The deer that has risen to its feet (at the same time, the weight load on the support is significantly lower than when the animal was raised) continues its movement to the south-southeast (if the tent was located with the entrance to the south) and steps on the heads of A.S. Kolevatov and G.A. Krivonischenko. As a result of this the hoof of the deer injured A.S. Kolevatov's right cheek and nose, and the nail of the same leg inflicts a wound behind his right ear measuring 3 by 1.5 cm and a depth of 0.5 cm, while also deforming his neck in the area of ​​​​the thyroid cartilage. Another consequence was G.A. Krivonischenko's hemorrhage in the right temporal and occipital region with impregnation of the right temporal muscle. It is possible that G.A. Krivonischenko received this injury later as a result, for example, of a fall from the cedar. Y.N. Doroshenko and I.A. Dyatlov, who were sleeping at the southern end of the tent, near the entrance, apparently did not get injured. This assumption is supported by the fact that the southern pole of the tent was found by the searchers standing up, while the northern pole was fallen down, and the tent stretchers on the north side were torn off (or torn). The above described allocation of the hikers in a tent does not contradict the known facts from the diaries. It is known that the two girls were sleeping in the farthest from the entrance end of the tent. The two pairs on duty were also known, R.V. Slobodin with Z.A. Kolmogorova and N.V. Thibeaux-Brignolle with A.S. Kolevatov. Most likely, the hikers on duty settled down in a tent for the night nearby so they can wake each other up in the morning before the general rise of the group.

This deer (or other) may have inflicted other wounds on the hikers. For example, a bruise measuring 10 by 5 cm on the left thigh of L.A. Dubinina could have been formed as a result of a strong blow with the hoof of the hind leg, a deer that fell on it (and somewhat collapsed on its left side), on the thigh, which was in a vertical position; her nose could have been damaged by the body of a deer. A bruise measuring 10 by 12 cm on Thibeaux-Brignolle's right forearm could have been caused by compression or a blow from a hoof, or a 3 by 4 cm hoof wound on his upper lip. It is possible that some others (but not all ), smaller wounds on hikers were inflicted by deer or deer. The absence of traces of blood in the tent can be explained by the nature of some injuries (closed fractures and internal bleeding), also by the fact that the hikers slept in clothes and the presence of curtains (made of sheets) in the tent that covered the wounded when a deer fell. Later, these canopies could be used by hikers for various purposes (when transporting the wounded, lighting a fire). It should be noted that the sheets are not listed in the protocols of the inspection of the scene of the incident.

If deer ran into the tent, then why weren't their tracks found in the snow, while the footprints of the hikers were preserved? Firstly, it is possible that the traces of deer were found by searchers, but they were not given any importance, since these are typical ordinary "peaceful" animals characteristic of those places, and everyone was set to search for something unusual, hostile (the very first versions were criminal, man-made). So, for example, in the diary it is mentioned that they walk along the path of deer in the upper reaches of the Auspiya river, but this path is not mentioned in the case files. Secondly, three zones with different snow conditions can be distinguished near the tent: 1) at the place where the tent was set up, where no footprints were preserved, and where there was rather loose snow during the setting up of the tent; 2) down the slope, where traces of the hikers have been preserved in a fairly unique condition (the "blowing" zone); 3) the watershed of the rivers Lozva and Auspiya, the state of the snow cover (crust) described by I.A. Dyatlov in the group's diary entry dated January 31. The route of the deer could run through zones 1 and 3 (the direction of the above described trajectory of the movement of the deer that ran into the tent is also within these zones), so their tracks were not found.

After the deer (one or more) crushed the tent, injuring people, several hikers tried to get out of the tent as quickly as possible, because they were in a very vulnerable position (trapped), while instantly realizing that the unknown danger is very serious, in a matter of seconds, several people were injured. They heard the groans and cries of their comrades, and the movements of a large animal outside. This all took place after the release of the wall newspaper "Evening Otorten", in which they, albeit jokingly, described the mysterious Bigfoot living in the vicinity of the Mt. Otorten [8]. Getting out of the tent through the entrance in this situation is not fast enough, especially considering that the entrance is carefully closed, nevertheless, someone manages to get out through the entrance of the tent, partially opening it and pulling out the curtain [9]. Some of the hikers spontaneously choose the option used in case of a fire in a tent: "through the walls", cutting the tarpaulin with a knife. It is very likely that this was Y.N. Doroshenko, who, in a similar situation that occurred on another trek, quickly made an independent decision and rushed with a hammer at a bear that had come out into a clearing to feast on berries. Having got out and losing hats and slippers along the way (which were trampled into the snow during the turmoil and evacuation), they (2-3 people were the first to leave the tent - these are I.A. Dyatlov, Y.N. Doroshenko and, possibly, G.A. Krivonischenko) found out from the tracks that a deer ran into the tent (or deer, several deer could run past the tent). The fear of an unknown animal is gone, but cries for help and the groans of their comrades are heard from the tent they just left.

The weather

It is necessary to pause here in order to describe the weather conditions in late January and early February 1959. According to weather maps, from January 29 to February 1, cyclones dominated the area where the ski route passed, which caused relatively warm weather. On January 30, the cyclone centered over the Barents Sea began to move to the southeast. On January 31, the center of this cyclone was located over the southern tip of Novaya Zemlya, and on February 1 - over the northwestern part of Western Siberia. On February 2, an area of ​​increased pressure appeared in the Northern Urals in the rear of the outgoing Baltic cyclone (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Fragments of maps of pressure at sea level and geopotential height at the level of 500 hPa in Europe and adjacent territories from January 30 to February 2, 1959 (all data at 00 UTC). Source: Notes: Geopotential values are shown in different colors (the legend is on the right, values are in decameters), sea level pressure (in hPa) is shown by isobars (white lines). T is the center of the cyclone, H is the center of the anticyclone. The red circle indicates the location of the accident.

Average, minimum and maximum temperatures on the eve, during and after the tragic events in settlements [10], forming a quadrilateral within which the region of events is located, is shown in Fig. 2. In all four points, the average and maximum temperatures on January 31 and February 1 have a slight variation: within 10–20°C. Taking into account the fact that on January 31 and February 1 in all these settlements the air temperature was determined by the same extensive cyclone, and also taking into account the possible influence of the foehn [11] on the air temperature on the leeward slope of the MCU, it can be assumed with sufficient confidence that on February 1, the average, maximum, and minimum temperatures on the eastern slope of the MCU in the area of ​​the accident were at least -10°C, -6°C, and -16°C, respectively. By the way, the foehn on the eastern slope of the Main Ural Range is mentioned in the group's diary in an entry dated January 31, made by I.A. Dyatlov: "Wind is western, warm, piercing, with speed like the draft from airplanes at takeoff."

Fig. 2. Maximum, average and minimum air temperature (in degrees, C) in settlements located near the accident site, from January 30 to February 2, 1959. Data source

On the last photos taken by the hikers, made during the installation of the tent on February 1, 1959, at the end of daylight hours (and somewhat earlier on the watershed of the Auspiya and Lozva rivers), a snowstorm is visible (possibly a low one, given the influence of the foehn on precipitation). It is known (for example, P.D. Astapenko "Questions about the weather" 1982) that a snowstorm usually occurs during the passage of atmospheric fronts, and prolonged protracted snowstorms most often occur on warm fronts. There are interesting observations on the tracks of deer "on pedestals" made in the mountain tundra of the Kola Peninsula (article by O.I. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky in the collection "Methods for Accounting for the Number and Geographical Distribution of Terrestrial Vertebrates" 1952), which appeared if the animals left traces before a blizzard or during a blizzard. Based on this and taking into account the fact that similar footprints were preserved below the tent, it can be assumed that in the area of ​​​​the accident the snowstorm continued at least from the second half of the day (February 1), when the hikers climbed the pass and until the hikers descended down the slope (late evening of the same day). Thus, on February 1, during the emergency at the tent, the weather was not very cold with a blowing (or general) snowstorm [12]; which was determined by the Baltic cyclone, judging by the fact that the traces were well imprinted in the snow, the air temperature was close to the maximum (-6°C) or even slightly higher. The wind was northwesterly (or westerly) because it is known that in cyclones the wind blows counterclockwise around the center of low pressure, and the center of the Baltic cyclone on February 1 was located northeast of the accident site.

It is also necessary to note the following, on the evening of February 1, the accident area turned out to be in the rear of the outgoing Baltic cyclone. In mountainous conditions, with a similar synoptic situation in winter conditions, a cold, sharp, as a rule, very strong wind, bora, can occur (earlier, the possibility of bora occurrence was discussed in the version of a sheet avalanche). Bora usually occurs when an anticyclone formed in a cold air mass or its crest approaches a low mountain range or ridge from the north. Rapidly descending down a low mountain slope, cold air displaces the warmer air below, very strong turbulence arises, generating many eddies, the wind near the earth's surface is squally in nature, with a sharp change in direction and speed. Classical examples of bora are Novorossiysk bora (wind speed can reach 60 m/s) and sarma, which occurs at the mouth of the Sarma river, which flows into the lake. Baikal (wind speed from 15 to 40 m / s; Astapenko P.D. "Questions about the weather" 1982). On January 25, 1959, the forester of the Vizhay forestry I.D. Rempel, having familiarized himself with the route of the group, warned them that "in winter, it is dangerous to walk along the Ural ridge, because it is dangerous. there are large gorges, pits into which you can fall, and besides, strong winds rage there, demolish people" (from the case files). The locals knew that "if a snow gale begins to spin on the ridge, storm is coming, run down into the forest" (G.K. Grigoriev notebooks).

Events after the accident

After the accident, a decision was made to go down to the cache site (for the first time this assumption was made by M.A. Akselrod), which is located in a quieter place and not very far away, where there is food, a first aid kit, spare shoes (two pairs), a pair of skis and harvested firewood. From where it will be possible to send messengers for help and where it will be possible to create the most comfortable conditions for the wounded (it did not make sense to stay at the tent due to the lack of shelter from strong winds and a source of heat).

Hikers decide to go down without shoes, because ski boots and felt boots on a snowy slope did not provide a safe descent (any fall could aggravate the situation of the wounded). For the same reason, they could refuse outerwear, since it could hamper movement, for example, windbreaker jackets could freeze after setting up a tent during a snowstorm. In addition, they had to work hard with increased heat dissipation, which could lead to wet clothes as a result of sweating, and the hikers understood that on this sleepless night they (the most capable) would have to do a lot of work related to arranging the camp, preparing firewood, moving things from the scene of the accident to the cache site, and, besides, some of them in the near future had to go on a two or three day ski trip for help, and for this it was necessary to try to keep their clothes dry. When making this decision, weather conditions were also taken into account, which made it possible to evacuate the wounded to the cache site in the equipment chosen by the hikers without much harm to health (some disregard for one's own safety in this emergency is understandable).

After one and a half to two hours, some of the hikers planned to return to the tent, and if necessary, they could put on the shoes that were in the cache site and (or) use the shoes of the seriously wounded. Also, if necessary, they could borrow some of the clothes of the hikers who stayed by the fire for a while. The only thing that the hikers did not take into account (and could not take into account) is that in the near future the weather conditions will change dramatically.

R.V. Slobodin, who had a head injury, did not participate in the descent of the seriously wounded (or took part in transportation (dragging [13] in the snow on a blanket or canopy), for example, N.V. Thibeaux-Brignolle) and therefore could afford to wear one felt boot; at the same time, a kind of compromise was reached between safety during the descent and protection of the feet from the cold (one unshod foot provided stability, and a felt boot, alternately worn on one or the other foot, protected from the cold). As a result of such an original use of the boots, apparently, the formation of skin maceration on the soles of his feet occurred, which was recorded by the investigation. For safe descents, shoes are not worn by L.A. Dubininа and A.S. Kolevatov. A.S. Zolotaryov descended the slope in shoes, since the burki that only he had, apparently, made it possible to make a safe descent with the help of other tourists, however, it is possible that at the beginning of the descent he also walked in socks, and put on the burki later, when the most dangerous section of the slope was passed. N.V. Thibeaux-Brignolle, who most likely could not move independently, was transported (carried or dragged on a blanket or canopy) in felt boots. Why did the tourists descend into the valley of Lozva, and not in the valley of Auspiya, where was their cache site located? The author of the avalanche version is M.A. Akselrod believes that the hikers were mistaken. Let's try to analyze this situation in more detail. On February 1, 1959, the Dyatlov group scaled the slope from Auspiya river and moved in the direction of Mt. Otorten, in conditions of limited visibility due to a snowstorm. Even under these conditions, to maintain the desired direction of movement, it was enough to navigate along the terrain (higher and higher towards the ridge, choosing the most convenient route for ascending), possible deviations from the route were not critical, since the length of the route was insignificant. With such a movement and in conditions of limited visibility, the watershed of the Lozva and Auspiya rivers was passed and remained unnoticed, since it is barely noticeable near the top of the Kholatchakhl mountain. Besides, to reach the final destination, Mt Otorten, it was not necessary to follow the ridge. It is also necessary to take into account the discrepancy between the subject matter and (or) the scale of the maps that the hikers had for the purpose of identification the terrain of the watershed of Lozva and Auspiya rivers (forest management scheme). Therefore, the leader of the group I.A. Dyatlov believed that the tent was set up (in the evening of February 1) on the slope of the Auspiya river, although in fact the tent was set up on the slope of the Lozva river valley. It is possible that the north-eastern spur of Mt. Kholatchakhl, near which the tent was set up and which is well expressed in this place, was mistaken by the hikers for the watershed of the Lozva and Auspiya rivers. And after the accident occurred, and the ski track coming from the Auspiya river was swept up by snow and (or) trampled down by deer, I.A. Dyatlov considered the slope as a sufficient reference point, moving down which the group would reach the cache site.

"It remains an open question how the participants with their injuries could move from the tent to the place of their discovery" (theories - document is in Russian). The authors of the snow slab avalanche E.V. Buyanov and B.E. Slobtsov note the following: "Vozrozhdenniy’s conclusion that Dubinina with a heart injury could live no more than 10-20 minutes seemed to rule out the possibility of injury in the tent area… it seemed obvious that Thibeaux, Dubinina and Zolotaryov could not go down with such injuries. And no traces of dragging or other signs of carrying the wounded were found either." (source). Further, these authors, with the involvement of specialists, analyze the injuries of the hikers in sufficient detail and decide that the conclusion of B.A. Vozrozhdenniy about 10–20 minutes life span with the injuries of L.A. Dubinina is incorrect, same as for some of his other conclusions. In their opinion, L.A. Dubinin and S.A. Zolotaryov, with the help of his comrades, could go down the slope. "As for Thibeaux-Brignolle… he could retain his moving capacity, but he could be unconscious. He could have come to his senses and not lose the ability to go down with the rest, especially with support. There is uncertainty here…" (source).

Most likely, S.A. Zolotaryov, with the help of his comrades, was able to go down the slope, because in addition to the above arguments, this can be confirmed by a heel mark that could be left by A.S. Zolotaryov (as some authors of versions pointed out), who was the only hiker in the group who had shoes with heels (burki) when descending the slope on the evening of February 1. Regarding N.V. Thibeaux-Brignolle, one can also agree with the arguments of E.V. Buyanov and B.E. Slobtsov, taking into account the fact that he could still be transported by dragging on a blanket or canopy. Regarding the injuries of L.A. Dubinina, if B.A. Vozrozhdenniy is right, that she died 10-20 minutes after receiving the injuries, then it is possible that Dubinina breake her ribs at the den as a result of a fall (conscious or unconscious) on a stone in the stream, where her body was found. According to experts L.A. Dubinina did not come from hypothermia (even her fingers and toes were not frostbitten), but from injuries.

As the group of hikers descended lower and lower down the slope, doubts began to arise they were on the right course, since they could not find their ski track. Everything became clear at the "spreading cedar", near which the stream turns sharply to the left and flows north: this could not be on the northern slope of the Auspiya river valley. This was, of course, a blow to the authority of I.A. Dyatlov, but, nevertheless, the group remains organized. A decision was made to build a temporary snow cave with flooring for the wounded and light a fire near the cedar, which they needed for orientation in unfamiliar terrain and in the dark, especially after they got lost. All this was done simultaneously.

The construction of the temporary flooring was done by I.A. Dyatlov, who then went to the tent to fetch things. Since it was difficult to find firewood in the young growth surrounding the hikers and in the dark, they used dry lower branches of the large cedar growing nearby which was probably visible against the sky. It is possible that by this time the blizzard had weakened or stopped. To harvest the branches, it was necessary to climb the cedar and break them off, so this work is entrusted to the strongest and healthiest hiker Y.N. Doroshchenko, who was assisted by the apparently wounded G.A. Krivonischenko. They counted on a fairly quick return of their comrades and quite logically considered that cedar branches would be sufficient for a temporary fire, and there was no need to search for additional firewood without outerwear, shoes and in the dark. R.V. Slobodin and Z.A. Kolmogorova together went to the tent for итемс of first necessity.

There was no camp fire near the temporary den, because for this it was necessary to find firewood and a place for the fire, building a base for it in the form of a log or digging a hole in the snow. This could be done with greater efficiency and safety for the health of the most able-bodied hikers, since the time of their stay in adverse conditions increased, after the necessary tools and a flashlight are brought from the tent, and they themselves dress in outerwear and shoes. In addition, having warmed up after the crossing and in a place better protected from the wind, the wounded were able to wait for the return of the tourists, who had gone to the tent for the first aid kit, without making a fire. It is not excluded that the construction of a fire at the temporary floor was planned (if necessary). In that case  Y.N. Doroshenko or G.A. Krivonischenko must have been reposnible for it, after they lit a fire at the cedar.

At about third of the way to the tent, R.V. Slobodin sucumbs to his head trauma. It is not excluded that the change in weather conditions contributed to this. He lies down in the snow, huddled together, waiting for the pain to subside. Z.A. Kolmogovora continues her ascent to the tent for the items they so badly need, hoping on the way back to help Rustem get down. At this time or a little later, a storm suddenly begins, which is characteristic of this type of wind. Perhaps, this is a north-northwest wind blowing along the pass between the town of Otorten and the town of Vot-Tartan-Syakhyl in the valley of the Lozva River in the direction of the town of Kholatchahl [14]. By this time or a little earlier I.A. Dyatlov finished setting up the temporary flooring, consisting of a dozen and a half small trees, and headed for the tent. Very strong or gale-force winds with a speed of at least 15–20 m/s and no more than 25–30 m/s [15] combined with a low temperature that could reach -15°C to -25°C, did not allow three hikers to climb to the tent. At the cedar tree Y.N. Doroshenko and G.A. Krivonischenko, shedding his skin and burning himself in the fire, tried until the last minutes of their lives not to let the wind blow out the fire, thereby ensuring the safe return of his comrades. At the end the five hikers, who were on the upper slopes exposed to the wind, died from freezing, because the effective air temperature (P.D. Astapenko "Questions about the weather" 1982) even at the minimum values ​​of wind speed and air temperature indicated above (15 m/s and -15°C), is -40°C, and at wind speeds of 15 m/s and a temperature of -20°C to -50°C. After the most able-bodied hikers died, and when the frost intensified, the hope of salvation disappeared among the rest of the traumatized hikers, who were saved from hypothermia during the storm by a sufficiently deep ravine.

* * *
"An elemental force that people were not able to overcome" manifested itself in the mountains with the speaking names given to them by observant Mansi. "Very interesting and unique people... and forest serifs and special signs are of particular interest... This is a kind of forest story. These signs speak of the sighted animals, of camps, various symbols, and reading or unraveling them is of particular interest to both tourists and historians." This diary entry was made by the hikers two days before the tragedy, when they no longer had time to figure out the mysteries of the Mansi and the Ural mountains.


My gratitude goes to the participants of the forum "Dyatlov Pass: a forum for the study of the death of the hiking group of I. Dyatlov", who took part in the discussion of the theory called "Live" avalanche under the nicknames: Dantera, Элис Купер, NordSerg, ZSM-5, netreader, Hawkeye, Alina, Pepper, Inga, ilya, iz Komi and others.

[1] The width of these paths, depending on the conditions, could be different: from a narrow, well-marked path to a wide strip, where the state of the ground vegetation cover (during the snowless period) differed little from neighboring areas.

[2] Necrobacteriosis

[3] When fleeing reindeer prefers to run along a path (L.P. Sabaneev "Animal hunting in the Ural Mountains", magazine "Conversation", book 7, 1872).

[4] Or this could be due to her possible fall on the stone run (as many researchers believe), when skin deposits were received on the right side and back, and when, perhaps, she lost her flashlight, which was found by the searchers switched on, but this does not mean that it burned after the fall, since the contacts on the battery could be misplaced from the impact.

[5] It is possible that the formation of this fracture occurred both as a result of an injury received in the tent, and as a result of freezing (postmortem).

[6] Bilateral hemorrhage can be explained by the "hammer and anvil" effect: the hoof being the hammer, and any hard object that was used as a pillow played the role of the anvil.

[7] The weight of an adult deer is 100–200 kg.

[8] The name Vot-Tartan-Syakhyl was mistakenly and in a distorted form transferred to the neighboring more significant peak Lunt-Khusap and fixed in the form of Otorten. Mansi call Otorten in a completely different way: Lunt-Khusap - "Goose's nest", or Lunt-Khusap-Syahyl - "Mountain of the goose's nest". Vot-Tartan-Syakhyl, a mountain 5 km northeast of the Otorten mountain junction in Mansi means "Mountain that blows the wind" or "Mountain from which the wind blows". The Mansi emphasize that the winds very often blow from the side of this mountain (A.K. Matveev "The Peaks of the Stone Belt" 1990).

[9] About the sheet (in the tent, most likely, there were several sheets), covering the entrance of the tent, it is said in the book of A.I. Gushchin "The price of state secrets is nine lives" 1999. In the famous photograph with a tent found by the searchers, the curtain could not be seen from the snowdrift at the entrance.

[10] The western settlements are located approximately 200-220 km, and the eastern ones - 100-120 km from the site of the accident.

[11] According to the classical foehn scheme, the air passing over a mountain obstacle first cools, rising along the windward slope, and then heats up, descending along the leeward slope. Since the change in air temperature during ascent and descent occurs at different rates, the air that has descended may turn out to be warmer than it was before it began to rise. This is the thermal effect of the foehn. On the leeward slopes of ridges, the foehn can erode the cloudiness of atmospheric fronts and contribute to the cessation or weakening of precipitation. For the occurrence of a foehn, favorable synoptic conditions must be formed that contribute to the direction of the air flow through a mountain obstacle at an angle close to a straight line with respect to the direction of the ridge (P.D. Astapenko "Questions about the weather" 1982). For every 100 m lowered, the air heats up by about 10°C. Usually the foehn lasts less than a day, but sometimes the duration reaches 5 days.

[12] From the testimony of several witnesses in the criminal case about the death of tourists, it is known that a few dozen kilometers southeast of the accident site in late January - early February 1959 there was an exceptionally strong snowstorm (some witnesses spoke of a strong snowstorm from February 1 to February 2), after which the air temperature dropped to -30°C and below (see, for example, the testimony of a witness M.T. Dryahlyh and V.A. Popov.

[13] The trail from dragging might not be preserved in a strong wind because the density of snow in the trail might not be strong enough. It is possible that one of the photos taken during the search shows the remains of a trace left during the transportation of someone - or from the wounded on a blanket in the form of a narrow furrow.

[14] Kholat-Syakhyl, a mountain (1079 m) on the watershed ridge between the upper reaches of the Lozva and its tributary, the Auspiya, 15 km south-southeast of Mt. Otorten. Mansi Kholat means "dead", that is, Kholat-Syahyl - "Mountain of the Dead". There is no more severe and gloomy mountain in this part of the Northern Urals (from the upper reaches of the Nyais River to the Prayer Stone Ridge). V.A. Varsanofyeva believes that such a gloomy name was given to this peak because there is no vegetation on its slopes - only scree and stones covered with lichens (Matveev A.K. "Peaks of the stone belt" 1990).

[15] The minimum wind speed is determined based on the fact that the movement of a person against the wind requires great efforts at wind speeds from 15 m/s to 18 m/s. The maximum wind speed - based on the fact that at speeds of 25–30 m/s the wind breaks tree trunks, and since the "spreading cedar", which grew in an open place under conditions of strong winds, has been preserved, it can therefore be assumed that the wind speed was not more than specified.

Read the article in Russian →

Ural Stalker, January 2013

It's a compelling theory. The only thing that comes to mind going against it is that there were 8 pairs of footprints leading down found below the tent, implying only one person was carried. But, it could be the case that the injured were supported from both sides and could have walked down that way.

Вісім несли одного на ковдрі, як пожежники..? Марення сивої кобили! Ти коли небудь бачив родео, іноді бик так шматує ковбоя, що оленю стада не вистачить, причому найпотужніші удари об його спину. При стрибках на конях траплялося нога застрягла в стремені і кінь трохи тупцював задніми ногами на швидкості 50 км/ч. І ніколи таких травм не було! У коней задні ноги не як у оленів, у оленя роги, а кінь захищається від хижаків ударами задніх ніг, таким ударом він може навіть вбити вовка. Олені забили ногами??? Іржа повний!!! Коли прийдеш на іподром, захопи моркву для єврейської страви цимес і не цитуй їх.

I did put that through Google Translate but cowboys? Haircuts? Roman catabombs? What? explode1

Принять решение уходить от палатки, когда уже ничего не угрожает ?
Неужели туристы могли принять такое глупейшее решение ?
Тут любой здравомыслящий человек даже не догадается принять такое решение.
Make a decision to leave the tent when nothing threatens anymore?
Could tourists really make such a stupid decision?
Here, any sane person would not even guess to make such a decision.


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