The Dylatov Pass Incident


An infamously known case that has been left unsolved for roughly 60 years(and has recently been reopened by the Russian government). This particular case entails a group of experienced Russian hikers(eight men and two women) in which 23-year-old, Igor Dylatov, from Ural Polytechnical Institute assembled a group of ten students to trek the northern Ural mountains. Specifically, Kholat Syakhl mountain, which when directly translated from Russian means, “Dead Mountain.” The entirety of the group set out on the 25th of January 1959, in which they also brought no substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, etc. this group were heavily experienced as hikers and were simply on a mission.

January 25th- Yuri Yudin fell ill and decided to turn back home. The remaining nine members continued on(little did Yuri know that this saved his life).

When a winter storm came through, their course had changed which meant that they had to change their initial campsite location. Therefore, they had no choice but to set up camp on Kholat Syakhl, in between what searchers estimated was February 1st and or 2nd. This delayed their journey to Gora Otorten(when translated it means “Don’t Go There”). For whatever reason, they thought camping on Kholat Syakhl would be best, despite the exposure and the frigid temperatures plunging down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe the group didn’t want to lose any ground, maybe they thought the storm would blow over quickly, maybe they were just too tired, but regardless, this was their set up and unfortunately led to their deaths. After this point and time it’s very difficult to understand what transpired on the mountain.

February 26th- searchers found the destroyed camp along with implications of odd circumstances: the tent was covered with snow, and was torn open, but most of the shoes of the hikers were left behind. Some footprints indicated 9 people walking in the snow with bare feet or just one shoe on. A third of a mile away, a campfire was discovered with the bodies of two of the naked group members. And that’s not all, because within a few hundred feet of that same campfire, three more bodies were spotted frozen in positions that made it seem as if they were trying to run back to camp.

May 4th- The weather warmed and the searchers were finally able to go and try to locate the remaining bodies. It was found through an autopsy that six of the nine members died of hypothermia, no shock there. However, two months later, four of the remaining bodies were found at the bottom of a ravine(the men were dressed in only their undergarments) with evidence of seriously fatal injuries but none hinted at any foul play. This is all very odd considering that one of the woman’s eyes and tongue was missing, and one of the other four bodies suffered skull and chest fractures. Other than these injuries, there wasn’t even a mark on their skin. So, it begs the question, what else could have been at play here? Because, some of the clothing from the hiker’s was also found to be radioactive.

It was suggested by authorities that perhaps the Mansi, a tribal group nearby, were threatened by trespassers but it was concluded that there was no one else on the mountain during this incident. There were reports from eyewitnesses that they saw “balls of fire” in the night and it could have been the Soviets practicing with their missiles(this then would explain the radioactivity), but it really wouldn’t explain anything else.

The founder of DylatovPass.Com, Teodora Hadjiyska, created a coherent and online database for all of the documents, videos, theories, etc. regarding the incident that transpired. After her many years studying the case, her take is that the group of hikers were murdered, viciously at that. This does explain the nature of their injuries; however, this still does not explain the odd behavior and radioactive clothes. To that, she answers that she thinks the group was attacked on three separate occasions: the tent, the campfire, and before the ravine. This would explain the nature of them running away from the tent without any clothes, trying to set up a fire to keep warm(only to get attacked again), the remaining four who managed to get away would then be attacked a third time and brutally murdered(but without any foul play according to autopsy?). A more logical explanation, but who was on the mountain to murder them? And when does the radioactive clothes come into play?

All in all, no one truly knows what happened on that mountain 60 years ago and we most likely never will because new evidence probably won’t surface and if new evidence does surface it probably won’t explain all of the odd circumstances that transpired. So, with that said, this case remains unsolved.