I spent time in dangerous avalanche country in Alaska for many years. The Inupiat and Athabaskans have at least 32 words for snow and ice and layers of snow and ice. Avalanche theory in Alaska is a science and an art form studied at the Universities. Many SAR and Health practitioners take avalanche courses out in the field. I respect the skills, history and experience of the Dyatlov hikers to choose a proper slope setting for their tent. All winter long, roads are closed temporarily, to blast unstable grades/mountains of snow. I trust the photos and the SAR (search and rescue) members at the time to adequately dispel any theories of avalanche.
It has been some years since I was into this subject but I was fairly interested and talked to many people from around the world. The avalanche theory is out. I always felt that the person who started and adhered to the avalanche theory as being a beginner.
My Swiss friends have a saying "If a cow can't stand up on the snow grade then a person shouldn't be there either". Makes a lot of sense. When you are on a slope with your eyes, your experience with the snow and your intelligence then you know if you belong there or not. I remember traveling with friends and seeing snowmobilers doing runs up a short hill by the roadway and we all thought they were idiots because of the steepness and the snow pack. The next day several were were killed in the same area from a small load but very heavy avalanche.
Thomas Spriggs in his book "Into Nowhere" in the last pages, performs an interesting test with the Dyatlov group and the SAR rescuer photos. Mr. Spriggs flips photos, and them lays them on top of each each other, using a double exposure technique. The tent, poles, skies and other Dyatlov hiker debris. They are exactly the same place and position from the building of the site to the rescue mission.
I have changed my critical thinking regarding the Dyatlol Pass deaths since I have been on this site (many great posts), such as, I now strongly believe the that Dyatlov knew his hikers would be safer above the treeline.
The hikers spent too much time fixing rips and tears in the tent each evening (ad nauseam) to not weigh the consequences of pitching the tent above the treeline, up a mountain versus below in the trees.
I keep seeing that darkened figure coming out behind the trees, what if, the Dyatlov hiker who took that photo just before climbing the pass, was the ONLY hiker to see that person, and wasn't sure what they saw, at least until the photos would be processed back in Yetaterinburg. The photographer was certainly the last in the line and the unknown man could quickly move back behind the trees easily. With 9 hikers on skis there would have been enough noise to drown out the unknown man's quick retreating sounds.
What if they told the group they had seen a non-Mansi or non-Khanty man behind the trees and the group made fun of them by writing about Sasquatch/Yeti in the Evening Otorton. Knowing the Evening Otorten may be reviewed by the University back home they tried to keep the subject light.
Looking at the map, they knew where the Lovza River was and where Mount Otorten was. I don't think Dyatlov was high on the side of the mountain for a better look in the morning, which may not offer a view in the morning because of the weather. If they were hiking purely for time, even though they went further than needed, they still would have stayed lower and further towards the opposite side of the tree line without the unnecessary climb high up. There was never any guarantee that the higher tent site would offer a better morning view of Mt. Otorten and this was probably discussed among the group. Living in Alaska makes you a "worst case scenario" kind of person. I would be "Hey Igor this makes no sense, why go higher, no guarantee for a better morning view". With all due respect.