The Dead Mountain Incident (also called Dyatlov Pass Incident) is the name given to the occurrence which resulted in the death of 9 ski hikers in the Ural Mountains in 1959. The portion of the mountains was located in the Soviet Union at the height of Soviet power, so there was a large amount of secrecy and censorship which occurred in the reporting of the incident. The lack of concrete information, combined with some odd aspects of the event, has raised the Dead Mountain Incident to legendary status in the realm of conspiracy theorists.
Almost sixty years have passed from the date of the event, however, even now there are aspects of the case which don't fit into the context of one another. As such, this list will count down 15 "Facts" About the Dead Mountain Incident That Don't Make Sense. Not only do these facts not fit into the official narrative put forth by the Soviet Union, but they also draw issue with any plausible theory which has been put forth concerning the event. All facts related in this article are from the first-hand knowledge of the author or are from the Associated Press.
15 Why Did The Soviet Union Censor The Reports?
As I discussed in the introduction, a major reason why the Dyatlov Pass Incident was so widely publicized is that the bodies were found within the boundaries of the Soviet Union. Handling the deaths in typical Soviet fashion, the official report of the incident was heavily censored and to this day key facts about the victims have been withheld. As such, one aspect of Dead Mountain incident which doesn't make sense is why the Soviet Union would feel the need to censor the incident at all. If the deaths were truly the result of an avalanche or simple hypothermia, then why wouldn't the Soviet government allow the report to be openly published without supervision? This fact alone is enough to raise suspicions about the government's culpability in these heinous deaths.
14 The Climbers' Twisted Faces
One reason why the Dead Mountain Incident gained so much notoriety in the press was the photographs that surfaced during the course of the investigation. The nature of the pictures was so horrific (specifically the pictures of the corpses), that the public couldn't help but become entranced by the ongoing investigation. One particular aspect of the pictures which gained a lot of attention was the twisted look of pain/fear on the faces of the victims. Those of you who watch a lot of crime shows know that this is a common result of rigor mortis, which sets in after a victim has been dead for a while. Still, the haunted look on the faces of the climbers adds a bit of creepiness to this tragic incident.
13 Climbers Fleeing The Campsite
There is one basic element of the Dead Mountain Incident which raises serious questions about what happened to those climbers. It is clear from the evidence that several of the victims were outside of the campsite area when they were killed. What is very much unclear is why the hikers had left their campsite. Given the state of the clothing many of the climbers were wearing at their death, it is unlikely that they would have left the warmth and comfort of the campsite by choice. Therefore, the primary question of anyone studying the Dyatlov Incident is what caused the climbers to flee into the wilderness. If it could be determined what caused the climbers to make such a perilous choice, it could help to unravel the mysteries surrounding this horrific event.
12 Female Climber With Missing Tongue
Easily the most disturbing aspect of the Dead Mountain Incident is the female climber whose tongue had been removed. The two most popular theories concerning the incident are that either an avalanche or hypothermia caused the death of the group. While there is significant evidence to support these theories, neither of them explain how Dubinina could have lost her tongue in the process. Some have hypothesized that an animal took the tongue from Dubinina's corpse after she was already dead, but it is odd that none of the other corpses had been rummaged by wildlife. As such, the missing tongue has led to several conspiracy theories about the incident; including claims of demonic or alien activity. No evidence of the missing tongue has ever been found.
11 The Climbers Cut Their Way Out Of The Tents
Due to the attention paid to the Dead Mountain incident, we have records of much of the evidence discovered after the event. One piece of the evidence which has been troublesome for investigators is the fact that the climbers' tents were cut/ripped open from the inside. This means that the climbers themselves cut a hole in their tents (thus making them useless), probably fleeing from some sort of peril. Officials have noted that this sort of evacuation is common for avalanche victims (when an avalanche occurs it is important to head upwards, which may not be the direction your tent flap opens), however, the fact that the climbers left their campsites skimpily clothed does not correspond with the avalanche theory.
10 Circle Of Fires
Not only are the circumstances of the Dead Mountain incident suspicious, but there are certain facts of the case which cast an ominous feeling over the entire affair. One such factor is that the campers created a ring of fires around their entire campsite. The reasoning behind this is unclear, but many conspiracy pundits have theorized that the ring of fires must have been created to prevent some entity from entering the campsite. What this entity would be in a remote mountain pass is anyone's guess, but the odd placement of these fires certainly adds to the mystery of the Dyatlov affair. To this day, an official comment has not been made as to what could have caused the climbers to organize their fires in such an unusual formation.
9 Signs Of Radiation
There is a large section of conspiracy theorists who have attributed the Dead Mountain Incident to either alien activity or the Soviet government. A large reason for this is that several of the corpses appeared to show varying levels of radiation exposure. I am not a mountain climbing expert, but radiation doesn't sound like it's a regular aspect of the climbing experience. Reporters on the scene of the incident cited a strange glow on the corpses of the climbers, and even at their funerals, several mourners cited an unnatural tan on many of the bodies. The official report has completely denied that the climbers were subjected to any radiation, but the odd appearance of the corpses has been fuel to the fire of many conspiracy theorists.
8 Climber With Brain Damage But No Skull Injury
Part of the reason why conspiracy theories concerning the Dead Mountain Incident have been so prevalent is the odd nature of several of the injuries sustained by the victims. If the climbers had perished as a result of an avalanche or hypothermia (the prevailing theories) there is no way that they would have suffered the types of injuries that they did. A particularly questionable injury is the brain damage found in the corpse of one of the victims; this despite the fact that there was no visible damage to the victim's skull. I'm not a doctor, but I would seriously question how this climber would have received such significant brain injuries (with no skull damage) if an avalanche were truly the cause of his death.
7 Yuri Yarovoi's Lost Documents
An underlying reason for the suspicion surrounding what happened at Dyatlov Pass is that the event happened in what was then the Soviet Union. This is the same Soviet Union that ruled for decades utilizing a system of propaganda and misinformation. As such, it is understandable that the world would be skeptical of the official story put out by Soviet officials. These suspicions were further fermented by the censorship imposed on Yuri Yarovoi, the reporter who initially investigated the Dead Mountain Incident. According to Yarovoi, his official report was heavily censored by the Soviet government. Once the Soviet Union fell, therefore, there was some expectation that additional facts about the incident would be released by Yarovoi. Such was not the case, however, as Yarovoi's papers were reportedly stolen sometime before the Soviet Union collapsed.
6 Naked Hikers
A disturbing aspect of the Dyatlov Pass incident is the fact that several of the climbers were found extremely underdressed. The group included several experienced mountain climbers, so it is impossible that the victims would have been outside in inappropriate clothing under ordinary circumstances. There are several theories of why the climbers would have been outside in minimal clothing, but none of them seem to exactly fit the other facts of the case. One such theory is that hypothermia altered the climber's brains to the point where they voluntarily took off their clothes. This is possible, but it would require all the climbers to have been in the same stages of hypothermia at around the same time, an unlikely circumstance. Another theory is that some force (either an avalanche or an animal) caused the climbers to leave their campsite in a hurry, thus abandoning their clothes. While possible, there is not enough evidence of such a force to prove this theory.
5 Tongue Never Found
One incredibly suspicious aspect of the Dyatlov Pass incident is the fact that the tongue removed from one of the female climbers was never found. Due to the publicity surrounding the incident, a number of agencies (albeit Soviet ones) combed the area surrounding where the corpses were found. This allowed them to publish a detailed report of what happened following the climbers' departure from the campsite. Nowhere in this detailed report, however, was there any explanation of how or when the female climber's tongue was removed. Therefore, it not only doesn't make sense that the tongue was removed, but it is even more suspicious that no evidence of how the tongue was removed has ever been found.
4 Sheltering Right Out In The Open
Once the facts were released concerning the Dyatlov Pass Incident, several experienced mountain climbers noted some discrepancies in the official story. For one thing, it is curious that such an experienced climber as Igor Dyatlov would decide to camp out in the open of the pass when there was shelter immediately available in a nearby grove of trees. If the climbers truly perished as a result of an avalanche or hypothermia (or a combination of the two), it is certainly suspicious that they didn't take advantage of the suitable shelter which was so close to them. This discrepancy has caused many to wonder if something unplanned for had happened prior to the climbers setting up camp the night before the incident. Just another aspect of this case which doesn't make sense.
3 Yeti Sightings In The Area
Aside from its being within the domain of the Soviet Union, there are aspects of the Dyatlov Pass which make the events which happened there even more suspicious. One such aspect of the Pass is that there have been several Yeti sightings in the area over the years. The Yeti is a sort of Asian bigfoot; a large, hairy, bipedal which has been unclassified by science. Many of the native groups in the area of the pass have claimed that this section of the Ural Mountains is a popular hunting ground for the creature. Combine these stories with the terrifying events that happened with the Dyatlov group, and it's easy to understand why the incident has inspired so much public interest and skepticism.
2 Reported Lights In The Sky During The Incident
Another aspect of the Dyatlov Pass itself which is pretty troubling was the strange lights that were seen flashing over the pass in the weeks prior to the climber's deaths. This, of course, has led to a plethora of theories about what strange occurrence could have led to the death of the climbers. The most popular of these theories is that the lights were caused by either aliens or some sort of government testing. When the climbers stumbled upon something in the path that they weren't supposed to see, whatever entity was causing the strange lights decided to end their lives. While I don't personally adhere to any theories about aliens, I do find it kind of strange that the flashing lights would begin around the same time that the climbers went missing.
1 Mystery Surrounding The Mansi
The presence of the Mansi in the area of the event adds another layer to the already suspicious circumstances of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The Mansi are a group of nomads that roam the area of the Ural Mountains. Due to their elusive and secretive nature, they were an easy target to which to attach blame for the death of the climbers. Despite this, there has been no evidence that they were involved in the incident. Additionally, there are no real recorded events of the Mansi being violent to other expeditionary groups in the past nor anyone else for that matter. Even so, their close proximity to the area certainly makes them a person of interest in such a strange incident as this.