I have been talking with some Russian people about the Dyatlov Pass Incident and hiking in general.
One common theme about the Urals is the beauty of the Yugyd Va national park. This is further to the north, and many say they would chose that area for hiking instead of the unremarkable Dyatlov Pass. That there is "nothing to see there", in the area the Dyatlov Group chose.
But then another theme is the urban legends about gold in the Northern Urals. I heard that it wasn't uncommon for amateurs to try to find gold nuggets in rivers and streams in the area.
Did the Dyatlov Group take any colanders or similar equipment that could be used for filtering silt? Is it possible that their motivation for choosing the area of the hike were these urban legends about gold? Was it legal at the time to try to find gold this way? Or is this all nonsense?