Grebennik group having checked the upper sources of Vishera river, passed to the eastern slope - moving south towards Mt Oykachakhl, so the next day they can ascend to its summit.
On their way to the top a plane flew above and dropped a canister with an order to retreat down along Toshemka river.
Grebennik rescue group
Atmanaki and Skutin flew to Otorten to observe the area of Lozva river and the slopes of the mountain for landing sites.
Karelin rescue group
Despite the bad weather Akselrod rescue group was dropped off at 16-00 8 km east of the peak Otorten.
Yaburov, Akselrod and Tipikin, photo by Sergey Sogrin
Captain Alexey Chernyshov rescue group took off from Ivdel at 13-00, landed in the designated area in the upper sources of the Purma river, about 25 km from the Peak 1079.
They were to cover the passes of Auspya-Purma and Purma-Vishera
Kourikov, Anyamov, Slobtsov, Cheglakov, Sharavin, Sogrin, Akselrod, Brusnitsin, Halizov, Lebedev, down - Tipikin, Atmanaki, Koptelov
Captain Alexey Chernyshov Captain Vlasov
Petty Officer Sidorov
Staff Sergeant Verhovsky Yablonskiy
Egor Semenovich Nevolin
2 more members of Kourikov family
Michail Sharavin, Vladimir Lebedev, Boris Slobtsov, Vyacheslav Halizov (with the map), photo by Vadim Brusnitsin 25 Feb 1959
Slobtsov group split into three divisions.
The first one went south where Dyatlov group could have gone after their descent from Otorten, the second division examined Auspiya river for tracks and in the search for the storage site (labaz) of Dyatlov group.
The third division followed the trajectory of the Dyatlov group ski trail up Kholat Syakhl where they found the torn Dyatlov group tent.
Boris Slobtsov and Mihail Sharavin, together with Ivan Pashin the Mansi forester, noticed the dark shape of a tent covered by snow and a protruding stovepipe on the slope of the Kholat Syakhl.
Pashin was hesitant to approach the tent, so the two students went on alone.
Upon encountering the scene, they noted:
“The tent was situated on the northeast slope of the Kholat Syakhl Mountain.
It was about 300 meters from the summit and was pitched on a special flat area dug into the snow, with some snow walls around it for protection from the wind.
One end of the tent faced southeast towards the Auspiya river, the other faced northwest towards the Lozva river.”
Another rescue team described the slope as ‘uneven and descending, and crossed by three stony ridges parallel to one another before passing into a hollow’.
“As we approached the tent, we discovered the entrance was out of the snow, but the rest was buried.
In the snow around the tent, there were ski poles and one pair of skis.
The snow on the tent was 15-20 cm deep.
The snow had obviously drifted there and was very firm.
At the side of the tent there was a Chinese flashlight, which we later found belonged to Dyatlov.
But we couldn’t understand why the snow under the flashlight was ten centimeters thick, yet there wasn’t any on the flashlight itself.
I put the flashlight down and saw it was switched off.
I switched it on and there was light.
I didn’t notice it at the time, but I was later told that close to the side of the tent was a mark where someone had urinated, and next to the entrance of the tent was an ice axe.”
There were no bodies near the tent or inside it.
The students took the diaries and a flask of alcohol from the tent before returning to join the rest of the group. Around 4PM that day, they met another group with a radio set and sent a message with the coordinates of the tent.
Understanding what happened at the tent is a very important node in the chain of events.
This is where the tragedy started to unfold.
For reasons that were never answered, the sides of the tent were cut from inside and it looks like the hikers chose this strange exit for leaving the tent completely ignoring the entrance, or did they?
The tent hung in the largest room in Ivdel Department of Internal Affairs to be photographed.
The prevailing opinion was that some vandals surprised and attacked the hikers cutting the tent in the process.
Vladimir Korotaev, who in 1959 was young investigator, recalling the events of that time, said that major break in the case was made almost by accident.
A woman was called to help mending his uniform.
She took one look at the tent and spoke with confidence that the cuts were made from inside.
This changed the course of the investigation entirely.
Forensic analysis confirmed the cuts were indeed made from inside.
The examination was conducted in Sverdlovsk Forensic Laboratory 3-16 April 1959 by senior forensic expert Henrietta Eliseevna Churkina.
Official protocol report on Dyatlov group tent:
Camp site is located on the northeast slope of mountain 1079 (Kholat Syakhl , red) at the source of Auspiya river.
Camp site is located 300 meters from the top of the mountain 1079 on a slope of 30°.
Camp site consists of a pad by flattened snow, on the bottom of which are stacked 8 pairs of skis (for tent support and insulation, red).
Tent is stretched on poles and fixed with ropes, at the bottom of the tent 9 backpacks were discovered with various personal items, jackets, rain coats, 9 pairs of shoes.
There were also found men's pants, and three pairs of boots, warm fur coats, socks, hat, ski caps, utensils, buckets, stove, ax, saw, blankets, food: biscuits in two bags, condensed milk, sugar, concentrates, notebooks, itinerary and many other small items and documents, camera and accessories to a camera.
The nature and form of all (...) cuts suggest that they were formed by contact with the canvas inside of the tent with the blade of some weapon (presumably a knife).
The tent was suspended on a rope.
Two photos were made that consequently didn't fit together very well, but the problems didn't end there:
- The side of the tent facing uphill is not photographed. We know there was at least one hole in the tent and Dyatlov jacket was found tucked in it.
- The far right end of the tent is left out of the photos.
- Part of the torn material on right side is covering a hole that is not measured.
- The sizes of the holes are not precise but approximate. Why couldn't they be measured with precision?
- How did Churkina decide which cuts were important and worth mentioning, measuring and showing on her scheme?
- On the photos there is no ruler or something else to be used for a scale to measure the cuts. Rakitin found out what model is the chair that is in the left photo my chance, and made his measurements comparing with the size of the back 40 cm.
- Churkina's drawing is not only overly schematic but also the positioning, sizes and number of cuts are not accurate.
Some of the cuts from inside didn't make it all the way through.
The back of the chair is used as a measurement ruler.
The cut made by Slobtzov when he found the tent
The piece of the tent material is covering at least one big hole that can not be measured.
This is how Henrietta Churkina saw the tent. This drawing is part of the official file case.
This scheme depicts the state of the groups last minutes quiet routine.
Everything seems orderly and normal except the pile of shoes in area A.
Even if there some shoes there left for the night the chaos of the footwear piled on top is uncharacteristic for the scene.
The following shows the construction of Dyatlov's group tent:
- loop at the top of the tent for stretching ropes to avoid the sagging of the canvas
- Dyatlov's group tent was made from two 4-person tents and this is the double seam that connects them
- Igor Dyatlov created this suspended stove, on the drawing the chimney is assembled and the stove is showing suspended but the search party found them on the floor of the tent.
This drawing and most of the observations (but not all) on this page belong to Alexey Rakitin
Reconstruction of the general form of the tent with the stuff inside on their places the way they were found.
Not to clutter the scheme are omitted hikers 9 backpacks lying on the floor, 9 blankets (2 spread and 7 crumpled) and jackets.
For a scale is shown a man with the size of Yuri Doroshenko (height - 180 cm, shoulders - 55 cm).
A. to the left of the entrance, this is where almost all the footwear of the hikers was piled up - 7 felt boots (valenki
) and 6 pair of boots
B. to the left of the entrance, household inventory - 2 buckets, flask with alcohol, 2 large axes, 1 small ax, cooking pots, rasp in its sheath, suspended stove, bags of biscuits, as well as a piece of loin approx. 3 kg
C. in the center of the tent to the right of the entrance were found 2 pair of shoes
D. in the far part of the tent where stored the food - cereals, cans, sugar, and wood for the stove
Near the entrance of the tent was found the satirical propaganda leaflet Dyatlov Group put together at the night of the incident "Evening Otorten".
The content of this document is indicative of the mood inside the group and the fact they had the time to write it.
Later on, an innocent reference from this flyer will become the sand grain that grew the pearl of the Yeti theory of their demise.
The entrance of the tent was looking south.
The north part was covered with 15-20 cm of snow.
It was concluded from general appearance and density that it was not a result of an avalanche but blown by the wind. Near the tent, a pair of skis were sticking out from the snow (they couldn't remain like this if there was an avalanche), and at the entrance of the tent in the snow was an ice axe
Near the ice axe was lying Dyatlov's jacket.
In the pockets was a pocket knife on a carabiner and a pocketbook with Zina Kolmogorova's photo inside.
The objects didn't shed any light about what happened, but it was strange that Dyatlov took off his jacket outside the tent.
On the side of the tent on top of 10 cm of snow laid Dyatlov's flashlight (made in China).
Boris Slobtzov picked it up and turned it on - the flashlight was in working condition.
One of the rescuers remembers "we couldn’t understand why the snow under the flashlight was 10 cm thick, yet there wasn’t any on the flashlight itself.
Unfortunately no one expected to find the tourists dead so there was no attempt to preserve or record the footprints of people around the Dyatlov Pass.
To this day there has been a discussion of exactly how many people were in this pass on that fateful day.
However judging by words of the people involved in the search and who took the lower right picture there were definitely 8-9 tracks of footprints left by tourists who wore almost no footwear.
Their feet pressed the snow and this left a characteristic "columns" of pressed snow with a footprint on top.
Members of the group walked in a single file with a tall men walking in the back.
His footprints partially covered the footprints of his friends who walked in front of him.
Overall the path gave an impression of organized and uneventful descent down the slope of the mountain.
Several trails would deviate from the general direction, but then rejoin the group.
Other footprints were also discovered and photographed.
It is hard to say if these were left by someone else or rescuers themselves.
( 1) male footprints with not very big steps
(2) small female footprints
(3) two overlapping male footprints, and
(4) larger male footprints that go on same track as the girl's as if this person was covering or walking behind the group.
The only footprint of a boot, you can clearly see the heel of a shoe.
The imprint is not complete, the heel is deeper, the sole - to the middle, this is how a footprint looks like when a person is going downhill putting most of his weight on the heels.
Pertinent testimonies from the criminal case files:
“When we finished taking inventory of the tent’s contents, we moved it to the helicopter pad, about 600- 700 m away.
” Radiogram: “We managed to identify footprints of eight or nine people starting from the tent and going about 1 km down the slope, and then they were lost.
One person was in boots, the others were only in socks and barefoot.”
Some members of the rescue team claimed these footprints started from right outside the tent, and others that they started a little to the side of the tent.
”There were no footprints right around the tent because when the Dyatlov group dug they had stacked the snow all around, and later this snow was drifted by the wind, thus covering all the tracks.
But thirty or 40 m down there was a file of very well preserved footprints.”
”There were footprints of bare feet, but in socks. Some were from valenki, and occasionally we could make out the tread of a ski boot.
All of these prints were raised higher than the actual wind-scoured surface of the slope.
We followed these prints from the tent in the direction of a spreading cedar, which was clearly prominent on the hill.
First we lost, and then we found, the tracks again.
They appeared again in the birch-tree undergrowth, and then they went down along the ravine which led to the Lozva River.”
”Footprints can be preserved in the mountains because of the way the wind works there.
You see the prints not as lowered imprints, but rather as raised columns, because the snow under the print is left compacted and cannot be eroded by the wind, but the area around it is scoured by the wind.
Then the sunrise makes the print area become even firmer, and in this way it can be preserved for the entire winter.”
”When they crossed a stony ridge where the tracks disappeared, but further down they appeared again, and then they were lost.
The prints were very distinct.
In some of the prints one could see whether the person was barefoot or in socks because you could see the toes.”
Second flashlight was found switched off and battery discharged 400m down the slope
Students took three photo cameras from the tent, group diary, some alcohol and few minor things, and hurried down the mountain to the campsite that was already established at the base of the mountain.
Several Mansi natives joined the group.
Additionally Egor Semenovich Nevolin, a radioman, joined the search party.
At 6 pm they radioed back about their discovery on the last campsite of the Dyatlov group.
UPI informed them that a large search group with will be delivered by a helicopter to their location.
They would also deliver two large military tents for better comfort and security.
A detective would join the search and rescue effort with Colonel Ortyukov as well.
Several members started cooking dinner while everyone else was looking for clues how to continue the search.
They found 710 rubles and railroad tickets for the whole group.
Most took this as a good omen.
They assumed that criminals were not involved since they would steal everything of value.
During dinner Boris Slobtzov raised a toast for the health of his friends and expressed hope that they will be found soon.
Local forester, Ivan Pashin, was less optimistic about finding everyone alive and suggested that they should probably drink for the dead rather than the living.
Students found his words offensive and almost beat him up.
The thought of their friends simply perish like that in Siberian Taiga couldn't sink into their minds yet.
The next day - March 3, 1959 at Ivdel airport all things from the location where the tent was found were spread out and protocoled: 9 parka, 8 quilted jackets (vatnik
), 1 fur jacket, 2 fur sleeveless vests, 4 shell pants, 1 cotton pants, 4 Scarf, 13 pairs of gloves (fur, cloth and leather), 8 pairs of ski boots, 7 pcs. boots (valenki
), 2 pairs of slippers, 8 pairs of gaiters, 3 skating caps, 1 fur hat, 2 felt beret, 3 compass, 1 pocket watch, 2 Finnish knives (Tibo's and Krivo's) in their parkas, Kolevatov's Finnish knife in black leather sheath, 3 axes (2 large and 1 small in a leather case), 19 pcs overboots, 2 buckets, 2 pot, 2 flasks, 1 first aid kit.
There was also a significant number of small items (socks, foot clothes, masks, toothbrushes) taken out of the backpacks, making it difficult to determine who did they belong to.
Conclusions: They left without outer clothes, hats, gloves and shoes.
Only exceptionally serious threat might motivate a group of 9 young and physically fit people urgently leave their shelter in the winter evening in a completely uninhabited forest.
The question apparently was: a retreat down the hill, or the immediate and imminent death at the camp.
This is not to say that the group was completely unarmed - hikers left in the tent three axes and three Finnish knives, and likely they had more knives
with them since they cut the fir and birch trees later in the night.
The danger they faced in the camp was not such that could be confronted with axes and knives.
When the group was chased out of their tent they went down the slope to the forest, not to the storage site where they had left provisions before climbing Kholat Syakhl.
19 items (total weight of 55 kg) among them cereals, sugar, wood, Krivonischenko's mandolin, pair of skis used to mark the location, 2 pair of shoes (ski and warm), an ice axe (which is strange
), a cap, mask and a shirt.