I'm not following the objections y'all have.
Digging a snow den without shovels? I just figured they used their hands and sticks and stuff. And likely that's some of the reason for the scratches and cuts on their knuckles. If the snow hadn't melted and refrozen, then it wouldn't be too solid to dig through. In my experience, snow that falls in far northern climates is generally lighter and fluffier than snow that falls here in the south. And, out in the wilderness like that, it wouldn't have been packed down by feet.
A huge coincidence to place it in the ravine in the middle of the night? I didn't assume they were necessarily aiming for the ravine--though, if one is looking for protection, it makes sense to go downhill. As it turned out, the ravine didn't offer them the protection they needed, so it wasn't exactly a brilliant move on their part. Also, of course, a lot of the snow that the rescuers dug through fell after the fatal night, obscuring it even further than it would been have for the Dyatlov group.
I'm confused about the idea that the rescuers found them quickly and easily in the ravine, or that they seemed to know where to dig. The ones in the ravine were so well hidden that the rescuers didn't find them until three months later, after the snow began to melt. Of course they began by digging: the search crew knew that the bodies would be under at least a couple months' snowfall by that time.
"Immaculate seats"??? What do you mean?
And what sort of cover-up? By the government? By the search crews? I'm confused.
At this point, I'm convinced there was no organized governmental cover-up. First, my understanding is that the Soviet Government of the time generally only tried to cover up things that would make them look incompetent; not things that would make them look cruel or threatening. Second, that's a pretty shabby attempt at a cover-up; I'm absolutely certain the Soviet Government could have done better.
There's a distinct feel of uncertainty about the whole thing, though. Authorities seemed confused and edgy, unclear which information to suppress and which to allow. If they were determined to cover it up completely, they would have. They would have gotten in there before the amateur rescue crews arrived, wiped it clean, and invented a plausible story for the whole thing. At the very least, they would have prepared a reasonable explanation for the deaths and then stuck to it. But I can definitely see middle management getting scared that they might accidentally leak something that was supposed to be secret, and so just calling off the investigation or hushing things up in order to protect themselves.
It amuses me to imagine a conversation, much later, among officials:
"Why did you go to so much trouble to cover it up?"
"Well, if you'd done it, wouldn't you want it covered up?"
"But no one did it--it was just some kids on drugs [or lightning, or scary noises, etc.]"
"How was I to know that? I was just doing my job!"
Anyhow, I'm not trying to present and defend a position, here. I'm just inviting you to explore your thoughts on the den and help me understand them.