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Dyatlov Pass Forum

Author Topic: Counting skis  (Read 1718 times)

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May 03, 2019, 08:03:52 AM
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In the University equipment inventory there is mentioning of one spare pair of skis.

University equipment inventory Case files sheet 203

Yudin returned on his skis. Ski professionals say that extra pairs of skis are essential for such a long route. Traditionally, the last person in the line drags them behind with a rope. In this photo we see Krivonischenko carrying skis on his back.

Unknown camera film 5 frame 18

It was probably this extra pair that was used to make Kolevatov's sledge mentioned in their satirical propaganda leaflet Evening Otorten, see the Technical News section.

Evening Otorten №1

The storage site where Dyatlov group left provisions for their way back and lighten their backpacks for the ascend is called "labaz". Mansi rise platforms to store their game to pick it up later. Dyatlov group labaz seems to be constructed in haste – in a snow pit, rather than in trees beyond the reach of animals, as it was more common. In last entry of the group diary on January 31 Dyatlov wrote "I can't even start thinking of setting up a storage". That can explain why the labaz was in this pitiful state.

The storage found by Slobtsov and Kurikov on Mar 2, 1959

One item in particular raises questions: Dyatlov’s boots. Why continue on ski without his boots? Yudin’s answer was that, with this particular straps over the ski boots it was possible to ski in valenki and, moreover, Krivonischenko, for one, preferred to ski in his felt boots as well. Then, presuming they will be on their skis the whole time an extra ski boots will make uncomfortable extra weight.

2 Mar - Slobtsov and Kurikov found Dyatlov’s depot 400 m from the rescue camp

Their cache was found marked with pair of skis propped in the snow and a gaiter slipped onto it. Here is sheet 8 from the Protocol inspection of the storage (labaz).

Protocol inspection of the storage (labaz)

In the case files we have 3 different counts of the skis found at the tent and the labaz:
  • Feb 28, 1959 The protocol of the hikers camp site mentions 8 pair of skis on the bottom of the tent, no mentioning of spare pair of skis. Signed by Templaov.
    "Camp site consists of a pad of flattened snow, on the bottom are stacked 8 pairs of skis. Tent is stretched on ski poles and fixed with ropes, at the bottom of the tent 9 backpacks were discovered with various personal items, jackets, rain coats, 9 pairs of shoes."

Protocol of the hikers camp site

  • Apr 15, 1959 Slobtsov who found the tent and the labaz, says "around the tent in the snow stood ski poles and spare skis - 1 pair" (sheet 298 back) and "a pair of spare skis" in the labaz (sheet 300).

Slobtsov testimony Case files sheet 298 back

Slobtsov testimony Case files sheet 300

  • Apr 18, 1959 Tempalov in his testimony says 9 pair of skis, all of them under the bottom of the tent and additional spare pair of skis in the tent.

Tempalov testimony Case files sheet 310 back

We can only more or less confidently assert that one pair of skis was left at the labaz and one pair of skis was stuck next to the tent at the time when Slobtsov and Sharavin found it on Feb 26th 1959.

The tent partly cleared of the snow, 27 Feb 1959 - Yuri Koptelov in the frame, photo by V. Brusnitsyn

Explanation why the number of pair of skis under the bottom of the tent differs in Tempalov and Slobtsov testimonies can be found in Atmanaki's testimony dated 7-8 Apr 1959.
“There was no point to continue the further dismantling of the things, and so they left everything into place before the investigator arrived, after raising the tent and pulling out three pairs of skis, because dog guides went on foot, and the rest of the skis were used by us to mark the places where the bodies of the dead were found.”

Atmanaki testimony Case files sheet 215

Atmanaki testimony Case files sheet 215 back

Tempalov and Maslennikov arrived at the pass after the skis have been pulled from under the tent. Inspection of the tent was in a day after the events Atmanaki is describing. By that time there were no longer any skis under the tent, so their number could be only circumstantial.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 08:09:21 AM by Teddy »

May 03, 2019, 08:57:15 AM
Reply #1


Teddy, its so interesting you posted this. It came up in the "light" thread....Nigel had posted something about a radiogram mentioning a broken ski....

"28 people continued to search all day long period No results in 450 meters under the tent found flashlight turned on comma 20 meters from the tent a piece of broken ski period Tomorrow March 8 is declared a day off period I think that the search must be stopped till the end of April period The weather is getting worse period Tomorrow with me fly three Muscovites, it is desirable to take off part of the civilians.

Which led to a discussion about how a ski could have snapped, just by the wind, when it was likely made from aluminum (Nigel mentioned it could have snapped because it was posted in the snow....however, the radiogram makes no mention of it being IN the snow):

Quote from: Clacon on March 29, 2019, 07:56:14 AM

From Wikipedia:
"In 1950 Howard Head introduced the Head Standard, constructed by sandwiching aluminum alloy around a plywood core. The design included steel edges (invented in 1928 in Austria,[52]) and the exterior surfaces were made of phenol formaldehyde resin which could hold wax. This hugely successful ski was unique at the time in having been designed for the recreational market, rather than for racing.[53] 1962: a fibreglass ski, Kneissl's White Star, was used by Karl Schranz to win two gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.[53] By the late '60s fibreglass had mostly replaced aluminum."

According to "A Short History of Skis" on the "International Skiing History Association" website: Before 1926 they were made mostly of wood. After that year, steel edges were introduced. In 1928, in France, a solid aluminum ski was prototyped. By 1945, they had sandwiched wood between aluminum laminate, by 1946, the wood was sandwiched by a plastic material. See above Wikipedia quote for 1950. In 1952, the first fiberglass enforced plastic ski is introduced, but is only popularized by 1959.

By the looks of the skis in the pictures they are really thin and I'm not sure you could get that curve upward with wood? We have to consider maybe too that they were students and probably couldn't afford the latest in ski technology; plus the fact that fiberglass skis were only popularized the year they died....I doubt they were fibreglass. The above picture appears to show ski poles that look almost like bamboo....note the notches in the wood.

So wooden ski poles....perhaps wooden skis?? But again, the skis just don't appear to be wooden to me. That leaves aluminum.
Although if a ski was "broken" as in the radiogram, I'm doubting it was aluminum, even the wood sandwiched by aluminum type. Unless it becomes brittle when frozen?? If a ski is broken it must have been wood or fiberglass.

Anyway....I am seriously doubting whether the wind could break either.

"Have made a few checks on aluminium and it is unlikely to suffer from failures as a result of fatigue or brittle fracture under the conditions on Kholat Syakhl, even it was left in high winds and cold temperatures for 3 weeks.

Aluminium doesn't have a fatigue limit like steel, and remains ductile down to very low temperatures.  Although I haven't made any calculations on this, I can't see that a ski would fail due to wind speed.  If it was stuck in the ground then highest force would be on the bottom of the ski.  An aluminium clad plywood ski would also be very strong and plyable.  Ths leads me to think that if there was a broken ski then it was not something that happened after the group died.  In other words it broke before the event or during the event.

Where is the info on this broken ski?   It might be important.


Star man"

Basically, if there was a spare set or a 9th pair and this pair was at the tent, not the Labaz, then it is likely that one of them was the broken ski reported in the radiogram (if we can believe this telegram).

The implications may be this: how did it break?? If not by the wind, was it broken while being used as a weapon? It could explain the bruise on Zina's side, and it could have been used to bash heads in (Rustem and Kolevatov). I don't know if it would explain the fractured ribs though of Dubinina and Semyon though.

May 04, 2019, 04:07:10 AM
Reply #2


This is what Dyatlov group skis looked like

Sogrin - scroll down to end of sheet 338 and read sheet 339 (text posted below)

About the equipment. the provision of the equipment was as for any other hiking group. And the equipment is disgusting. If they had better gear, good jackets, maybe

Sheet 339

they woulnd't freeze, and could have gone back to the tent. If we take our institute, other sections are not any better, then it is clear that tourism is viewed as a splurging - go, well, let them go - but how they go, and most importantly, in what they go we are not interested in. Tents are 4-5 years old. There are no decent clothes that protect from the wind and cold. There is no skis for hiking. The so-called hiking skis of Kirov Wood processing plant (Кировский Дерево Обрабатывающий Комбинат - ed. note) is issuing do not meet the sports requirements. They should be light skis, wide with metal edging.

My point is their skis were made of wood. I can't interpret the fact that a piece of ski was found so close to the tent. It is not missing from Dyatlov group skis.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 04:15:36 AM by Teddy »

May 06, 2019, 08:46:13 AM
Reply #3


Hmmm. Well if its not a piece from one of the 9 hiker's skis, then whose broken bit of ski was found?

Can this be considered another example of "foreign" evidence found at the scene ("foreign" meaning the material did not belong to the 9?)
What is the count now?
Besides that grey strap of material by the Cedar (or has this been accounted for?) and the partial boot print (by the Cedar), plus the knife in the Ravine.
Could these be easily explained away as perhaps belonging to the 9? Were these items incorrectly recorded? Are these proof enough of someone else being there?

The above directed to all forum contributors. :)

August 12, 2019, 01:24:48 AM
Reply #4


I've been wondering about the broken ski myself. But I think it must be part of one of the skis under the tent otherwise I think someone would have made a bigger deal of it. They also stated that no traces of other people was found.