The theory that a localized avalanche in the vicinity of the tent caused the serious injuries to some of the hikers is severely brought into question by the footprint evidence. It appears to be eight or nine people, mainly in bare feet, walking in an orderly single file procession down the slope at a steady pace. But Nicolas would have been unconscious, and Luda and Semyon would have needed help. Had someone been carrying Nicolas while other people were supporting Luda and Semyon, the footprints would have shown that. Another problem is that the medical examiner said Luda would have only lived for 20 minutes after sustaining the injuries. It would have taken longer than that for the group to get down to the cedar and then go and dig out the snow den and cut off branches to line the floor with. Luda would have already died. So why would they have taken her corpse and put it in the snow den instead of leaving it beside the campfire?
Of course, they hypothesized that the snow den collapsed on them, and that’s when they sustained their injuries. But there are problems with that theory as well. Most notably, what did they use to dig out the snow den? People have claimed it would have been possible to dig it out with their hands. Well, okay. But then why wouldn’t they have been able to do that with the tent? Wouldn’t the snow right after an avalanche have been loose, having crashed down from a ledge above? And the idea that they couldn’t have found the tent is ludicrous because they would have just had to follow their footprints back up the slope. Not only that, but Zina did try to get back to the tent. But why would that have been the last resort instead of the first one? Another question that’s never been answered is why they didn’t return to the place they stored their goods for the return trip? There were items there that would have greatly increased their chances of survival.