Here is what I think happened:
The leader agreed to send a telegram to his sports club no later than the 12th of February.
This put a time pressure element to the expedition.
During the trek, the plan was to go through the pass and camp on the other side. They apparently got lost and deviated west. Close to the top of Kholat Syakhl.
To go down in elevation 1.5 km to the tree line would be a drain on the schedule. The leader decides to stay put to save time.
LEADER CHOOSES RISKY CAMP SITE TO OFFSET DELAY
Fully exposed to elements on the side of a mountain.
Look at the pictures where they made camp. Totally desolate.
No fuel for the stove.
Fully exposed to the elements.
No structures to break the windy conditions.
I checked the moon phase on the 2nd of February. They were just days away from a new moon. So illumination from moon light would have been very low.
TEAM DIGS TRENCH AS A WIND BREAKERhttps://dyatlovpass.com/resources/340/gallery/Unknown-origin-Dyatlov-photos-12.jpg
They are digging a trench. At the moment the photograph was taken, it appears they are waist deep. Also note that the famous tool stuck in the snow that others say offers proof that an avalanche did not occur. The tool is stuck in snow past the perimeter of the trench that was dug.
The trench creates a breech in the snow.
Physics begins to work as pressure builds
CONDITIONS THAT NIGHT
Complete darkness. Imagine sleeping in a tent in a room with no windows.
Again, I don’t think it’s been stressed enough how the lack of illumination played a role in this tragedy.
The team is sound asleep in a tent that is pitched in a pit.
Snow gives way, covering the tent. Partially collapsing it.
Team wake up in a stir with the feeling of being suffocated.
Team member takes out knife and randomly cuts tent open to escape.
First, cuts are made in the top. Now they can breathe.
Second, a large cut is made in the side to escape. No one is thinking of taking any belongings. They are fighting for their lives.
SAFE AT LAST
All team members are out of the tent. Calling out to each other in the darkness.
One flashlight is lost in the darkness due to confusion. Perhaps it lands on the snow that fell which explains how it ended up on top of a pile of snow. Whatever snow fell on top simply blew off from wind.
The other flashlight is barely working. Remember, it is found abandon half way down the mountain. With only possibly 10 minutes of juice left, it couldn’t have offered much help illuminating the camp site.
Due to conditions, darkness, wind and snow. It is impossible to assess the situation. Has their current location become unstable? Was there an avalanche? Will there be another episode if they attempt to enter the tent again? Total confusion.
The leader realizes they cannot light a fire in current conditions.
The tent is not habitable. If you look at the photos, it’s basically useless as a form of shelter.
The leader realizes that they have approximately 30 minutes to find shelter or light a fire before death. No fire is possible at the camp site with no fuel and high wind. There is simply not enough time to recover additional supplies. They are in a race for their lives.
Perhaps additional snow is falling on the tent intermittently. It is deemed too risky to enter the tent. Its complete darkness and they need whatever power that is still left in the flash light for the trek down.
THEY BEGIN THE TREK DOWN
Of course they do not run! It’s the side of a mountain. Cobble stones and crevasses could exist under the snow. They have no source of illumination. They must take their time even though time is of the essence. They gingerly go the only direction they can perceive in total darkness. Down. Down the mountain to where fuel is waiting. It is too treacherous to run. Even in such alarming conditions.
THEY FIND A SOURCE OF FUEL
The lone cedar tree is the first source of fuel they find.
They immediately build a fire.
THEY START TO PLAN
They must wait for sunup so they can see.
The better dressed of the team will go deeper into the forest and build a more suitable shelter. To survive until the search party arrives or they are able to repair the ten.
The poorly dressed will wait by the fire.
THE DEN BUILDING PARTY DEPART
Agree to be back at a predetermined time.
THE DEN BUILDING PARTY ARE KILLED
Unfamiliar with the terrain, they attempt to cross over a snow dome that actually covers a ravine that is 20 feet deep. The weight of the team causes the dome to collapse. Killing them all instantly.
THE DEN BUILDING PARTY NEVER RETURNS TO THE FIRE
Hours later, it becomes apparent that the den building party is not returning. The only chance the others have is to return to the tent during daylight and recover the tent and supplies. Those that are too weak or dead are left behind.
THE RETURNING PARTY ALL DIE OF HYPOTHERMIA
The conditions are too much. The three that make the attempt slowly fade away.
This seems a reasonable explanation to me.