I agree, Star Man. If at least one of them cut where the seams were, that would be consistent with my explanation (though remember, even experts, as opposed to a local seamstress, can be wrong!). The way it likely "went down" is that the tent started coming apart again (as we read in the diaries, that was a major complaint: the group didn't want to do the sewing and Igor thought it was their responsibility and demanded they do it; Zina in particular was apparently very upset with Igor, and that would dovetail with the possibility that she was fleeing back to the tent after seeing one or both Yuris die; she had had enough of it and blamed Igor). Then, they realized the cold would likely be fatal (and much of their heavy clothing/footwear had gotten frozen by then, or Igor had a "brave" plan that turned out to be a bad idea), so one or more decided to open it up there and get down to the trees to start a fire or build a "den" ASAP, but they also realized they had to secure the tent so that they would have their equipment, clothing, etc. to come back to in the morning. Nigel raised the question of why most weren't wearing the light shoes, designed to be worn in the tent. As he said, one was wearing one of these shoes, which likely means that whatever they were doing led to the shoes coming off. Seven of the blankets appeared to have been used that night, so they would have put those shoes on before getting the blankets out (the other two blankets may have belonged to the two who were better dressed and doing guard duty). Another possibility is that, assuming the heavy footwear was frozen, they thought they might need the lighter footwear in the morning and so did not want to wear them that night because they thought starting a fire and sittitng on a bed of cedar branches would be fine and taking a chance getting those wet might be a huge problem the next day (there were burn marks on some socks, which suggests and attempt to try them off), but with this scenario, there's the one person who was wearing one of these light shoes, which is quite odd, but could be explained easily if the matching one was found outside the tent (anyone know for sure about where it was found?). Of course, it makes little sense to get distracted by such a little detail if the "big picture" is obvious. If this occurred during criminal trials, there would hardly ever be a conviction! Still, as I said before, a recreation would likely be very revealing!