In 1959 Nine Hikers Mysteriously Perished In The Ural Mountains And Experts Still Can't Explain It

In 1959 a doomed group of university students hiked deep into the Russian mountains; the mystery of their gruesome deaths persists to this day. The horrifying condition of their bodies, as well as the Soviet Union’s shadowy handling of the case, led to many unnerving conspiracy theories being concocted over the years. While the true nature of what happened on that snowy clifftop will likely always remain out of reach, one thing has always been clear: something extraordinary occurred at Dyatlov Pass.

Igor Dyatlov

In 1959 Igor Dyatlov was a 23-year-old engineering student at the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI). He loved to use his technical expertise to invent his own equipment — or improve existing gizmos — to use on elaborate trips into the wilderness.

He had been planning a great adventure — a cross-country ski trek in the Urals mountain range which separated Russia from Siberia — since the previous year, and the UPI had happily approved it. After all, he was an experienced outdoorsman. What could possibly go wrong?

An unheeded warning

Despite this, Dyatlov’s mother didn’t want him going on the trip. According to his sister Tatyana Perminova, who had been 12 years old at the time of the expedition, “He pleaded with her. ‘Just one last time, mama! Just one last time!’ And indeed, it was his last time.”

Sadly, when her son met a grisly fate alongside eight other hikers from his expedition, Dyatlov’s mother “couldn’t ever come to terms with his loss — especially since it was such a terrible and incomprehensible death.”

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

The Dyatlov Pass Incident — as it became known — has now been baffling and fascinating locals, historians, and conspiracy theorists alike for over six decades. How did a group of nine young, fit sportsmen and women come to such a terrible end?

The way the group was scattered across the snowy mountain, bodies frozen and exhibiting horrifying injuries, has defied explanation at every turn. For Perminova, receiving a phone call saying that her big brother had died was simply the beginning of a 60-year nightmare that seemingly has no end.

An innocent start

In contrast to its grisly end, the trip had started out with a sense of optimism and fun. We can be sure of this because various members of the group kept diaries and took photographs in these early days.

On January 23 they got on a train from Sverdlovsk and set off for their destination — Mount Ortorten — which lay 350 miles to the north. The mountain slopes Dyatlov had chosen would give them 200 miles of untouched land to ski on: to their knowledge, no one had ever traversed them before.