November 29, 2023, 05:16:55 PM
Dyatlov Pass Forum

Author Topic: Snow depth at den and ravine  (Read 1412 times)

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September 22, 2023, 08:12:43 AM
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amashilu

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Many people have proposed that the Rav4 dug out a snow den and huddled inside, but it then collapsed on them, causing their injuries.
When looking at this famous photo (below), we can see many layers of tightly packed snow. Each layer is probably from a different snow event, i.e. blizzard or simple snowfall, but is there information on how much snow might have fallen and accumulated between Feb. 2 and Feb. 25? If there were, say, just three or four snow events in that time period, then a significant amount of this snow would have fallen after these people were already dead, meaning that there was not 10-12 ft of snow over the den at the time they were occupying it, and not enough to actually crush and kill them.
If this has already been discussed somewhere and I have missed it, I hope someone will post it. Thanks.


 

September 22, 2023, 09:16:07 AM
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Teddy

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This can't be determined since the snow in the ravine is collected not just from the sky but all the snow from the mountain face is blown down into the ravine. The slopes are bare at some spots while the snow in the ravine could be very deep. Even if we had data how much and how often did it snow on this slope January-February 1959 (which we don't) we still wouldn't know how much did it accumulate in the ravine. Better picture would be if we had measurements from this date on this spot for about 10 years, but things have changed a lot throughout the years. Shura Aleekseenkov was discussing if the snow accumulated at the den could have been heavy enough to cause the traumas with Karelin on our meeting after the expedition. I asked him for the drawing he was showing Karelin.  I believe Shura Aleekseenkov has been to the pass the most times in the winter, and he has a particular interest in the snow accumulation at the den. I will write here when I hear from him.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2023, 09:21:44 AM by Teddy »
 

September 22, 2023, 09:44:48 AM
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amashilu

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This can't be determined since the snow in the ravine is collected not just from the sky but all the snow from the mountain face is blown down into the ravine. The slopes are bare at some spots while the snow in the ravine could be very deep. Even if we had data how much and how often did it snow on this slope January-February 1959 (which we don't) we still wouldn't know how much did it accumulate in the ravine. Better picture would be if we had measurements from this date on this spot for about 10 years, but things have changed a lot throughout the years. Shura Aleekseenkov was discussing if the snow accumulated at the den could have been heavy enough to cause the traumas with Karelin on our meeting after the expedition. I asked him for the drawing he was showing Karelin.  I believe Shura Aleekseenkov has been to the pass the most times in the winter, and he has a particular interest in the snow accumulation at the den. I will write here when I hear from him.

Thank you, Teddy. I will be very interested in his response.
 

September 22, 2023, 02:33:41 PM
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Ziljoe


My interpretation of the proposed snow collapse are a bit different. There is the den which your photo shows. This is possiblity one snow hole for survival. I don't think they would have been able to make a snow hole big enough for 9 people without the obvious danger of it collapsing. A group of 4 and group of 5 in two snow holes would be a sensible option.

I wonder if it would be sensible for anyone to lay down the branches at the den if the snow was low or for any camping reason. The reason for that would be in case of water getting in to the camping area. Also I think it would be a bit pointless to make a flooring without a roof , perhaps a snow put with a fire in the middle?

I think it's proposed that the collapse happened where the ravine 4 were found , not at the den location as in your photo. The argument put forward is that may have been a natural formed cave by the forming of the snow over the ravine. This would form its own natural u shaped cave. It's is a possibility that they may have slightly dug it out or pushed the snow with their feet that made it unstable.

As teddy says, the snow , especially on the slope would have continually changed over three weeks, snow may have completey covered the tent at one point then blown away. It's why there are the raised foot prints. ( Whoever made them) , the snow was deeper  when they were made but the wind and snow errouded what was around the foot prints and  we are left raised foot prints.

The reason the snow gathers in the ravine is that it doesn't get blown away because it's protected to the most part buy it's shape.

I think it's the most plausible explanation if we rule out outsiders.
 

September 23, 2023, 09:00:27 AM
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Teddy

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I think it's proposed that the collapse happened where the ravine 4 were found, not at the den location as in your photo.
This is new to me.

The reason the snow gathers in the ravine is that it doesn't get blown away because it's protected to the most part buy it's shape.
In addition to this the snow from the mountain is blown on top of what comes down from the sky.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2023, 09:09:34 AM by Teddy »
 

September 23, 2023, 09:02:53 AM
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Teddy

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From Shura Alekseenkov: Major factors in the forming of the snow drift at the den are both snowfall and wind.


Possible collapse lines at the den


The snow at the den in March 2019
 
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September 23, 2023, 10:27:10 AM
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Ziljoe


I think it's proposed that the collapse happened where the ravine 4 were found, not at the den location as in your photo.
This is new to me.

The reason the snow gathers in the ravine is that it doesn't get blown away because it's protected to the most part buy it's shape.
In addition to this the snow from the mountain is blown on top of what comes down from the sky.

Just my understanding , I could be wrong. I suppose it depends on the proposed sequence of events which I'm sure has many variables. How did the ravine 4 get from the den flooring to where they were found?

I totally agree that the snow is blown from the  mountain and trees etc. I have no problems with that.
 

September 23, 2023, 10:41:58 AM
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Teddy

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Just my understanding, I could be wrong. I suppose it depends on the proposed sequence of events which I'm sure has many variables. How did the ravine 4 get from the den flooring to where they were found?

According to our theory they were dumped in the creek because the den was already covered with snow. This is one hard to explain detail that we cover.
 

September 24, 2023, 10:06:52 AM
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eurocentric


It's not actually all that deep, the man is stood in a trench he has dug up to his knees using spades, and using him as a 6ft tall scale the snow above the seating area is 8.5ft.

Rightly or wrongly I've always assumed that minus tools, cold and in the dark, and with the thermic clock against them, all the hikers could make was the simplest hole in the snow, not unlike the tent trench, and then effect a roof upon which snow from the spoil would be swept/pulled over.

So I would guestimate that the depth of hole they dug was 4ft, deep enough to cover 4 people sat on their behinds with their knees up to the level of their chests. Any deeper is just too much time and toil.

Through the subsequent 3 weeks, including the hurricane which would scour the mountain and blow snow as a drift towards the ravine, an extra 4.5ft has accumulated.

I don't think bodies would be dumped in a restaging scenario as this would fracture ribs and potentially be detected by the pathologist (accepting that the restagers may not be aware of this possibility), so they wouldn't be rolled or thrown into the ravine but placed there, their heads all to one side, if this theory was what happened.

Personally I have always believed the den was a triage made for 4 fading people, who died before its completion and were then respectfully placed in the ravine, or had been sheltering there during its construction. Then the surviving three, who wanted to make a safe haven for the 4 while they returned to the tent, spent time in the den, but by the time they tried to return to the tent hypothermia had taken its toll, they had descended below the recovery point and death was inevitable, all energy gone and all movement eventually physically impossible.

I don't think there was any snow collapse.
My DPI approach - logic, probability and reason.
 

September 25, 2023, 01:07:41 PM
Reply #9
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Ziljoe


It's not actually all that deep, the man is stood in a trench he has dug up to his knees using spades, and using him as a 6ft tall scale the snow above the seating area is 8.5ft.

Rightly or wrongly I've always assumed that minus tools, cold and in the dark, and with the thermic clock against them, all the hikers could make was the simplest hole in the snow, not unlike the tent trench, and then effect a roof upon which snow from the spoil would be swept/pulled over.

So I would guestimate that the depth of hole they dug was 4ft, deep enough to cover 4 people sat on their behinds with their knees up to the level of their chests. Any deeper is just too much time and toil.

Through the subsequent 3 weeks, including the hurricane which would scour the mountain and blow snow as a drift towards the ravine, an extra 4.5ft has accumulated.

I don't think bodies would be dumped in a restaging scenario as this would fracture ribs and potentially be detected by the pathologist (accepting that the restagers may not be aware of this possibility), so they wouldn't be rolled or thrown into the ravine but placed there, their heads all to one side, if this theory was what happened.

Personally I have always believed the den was a triage made for 4 fading people, who died before its completion and were then respectfully placed in the ravine, or had been sheltering there during its construction. Then the surviving three, who wanted to make a safe haven for the 4 while they returned to the tent, spent time in the den, but by the time they tried to return to the tent hypothermia had taken its toll, they had descended below the recovery point and death was inevitable, all energy gone and all movement eventually physically impossible.

I don't think there was any snow collapse.

Some interesting points made there Eurocentric.

The triage may have been to lay the injured under the snow cornice area and then build the den to place them in. Only a thought but I still hover my thoughts around they were trying to survive.

I can't ignore the ground level the ravine 4 are at and the amount of snow above them when they were found. It is a lot of snow mass, they are at ground level and I believe the snow and branches  at the den was about 300 mm from the ground.

My rambling point being , was there next to no snow in the ravine, from the den to the location of the ravine 4 ? Then 3-4 meters is deposited on top of them in the three weeks .

I also don't know we can take it for granted that it was night time,( just a thought).

I do struggle with the ravine 4 lying on snow with out for branches , if they found a snow cave hole that they may have been able to extend and make a place to shelter., But broken chests and that amount of snow above goes a little way towards explaining the injuries in a natural context.

Food for thought as always.