Conspiracy Corner: Lost to The Snow

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Conspiracy Corner: Lost to The Snow

Barbara Grigg

Barbara Grigg

Barbara Grigg

Harmon Lanager, Staff writer

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Welcome back, fellow tin-hatters, to this week’s Conspiracy Corner. Today, we will be tackling one of the greatest mysteries of the modern age. In 1959, ten Russian hikers marched into the snowy mountains. Only one returned alive. The deaths of the other nine have baffled investigators for decades, leaving many questions but few answers for what happened at Dyatlov Pass. 

An expedition of ten experienced hikers led by one Igor Dyatlov, for whom the pass is named, set off for what was supposed to be a fourteen-day trip. They started in the city of Vizhay on January 27th and planned to walk to Otorten Mountain. From there, they would return to Vizhay and telegraph their sports club of their success. Early on, there was a setback. On January 28th, one of the hikers named Yuri Yudin had to give up the trip due to illness. He was the only survivor of the Dyatlov Expedition. 

The group set off for the mountain. And from then, nothing was heard. No telegram was sent. There was only a deathly silence. On February 20th, a search effort was coordinated to find the missing hikers; it wasn’t until the 26th that a discovery was made. Searchers discovered a tent belonging to the hikers. It was badly damaged, cut open from the inside, and, according to one searcher, “…the tent was half torn down and covered with snow. It was empty, and all the group’s belongings and shoes had been left behind.” 

Not far away, they discovered a trail of about nine sets of footprints. Whoever was running appeared to have been barefoot or missing one shoe. Eventually, the searchers found two bodies – both had no shoes and were stripped down to their underwear. It appeared to investigators that the two were attempting to climb a tree before they died. Another strange thing to note is that the clothes from the two corpses were hanging from the tree’s branches. Marks on the corpses also indicated that the bodies were turned over after death.  

Up until May 5th, the search party continued to come across bodies – accounting for all nine missing hikers. The conditions of the corpses brought about many questions; one had skull damage and two others had chest fractures, despite the lack of external wounds. Eerily enough, one was missing her tongue. Some attempted to build shelter to survive the elements – yet none of them died inside said shelter. And even stranger, their clothes were found with traces of radiation.  

So, what exactly happened on Dyatlov Pass? Theories abound. The Discovery Channel made a documentary entitled Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, a film examining the theory that the party was attacked by sasquatch-like creatures living in the area. That may explain the injuries sustained by some of the hikers, and an ambush from yetis would explain why the hikers fled from their own tent in such an unprepared state. The greatest evidence for this theory is a photo taken by one of the hikers, showing a dark figure watching the party from the trees. Of course, this could just be a photograph of another hiker but it is still a creepy image to see. 

Some speculate that UFOs are responsible for what happened due to the deaths of the hikers occurring at roughly the same time bright lights were seen in the sky. Although, others believe those lights to be from Russian military experiments. Both theories work as explanations for the radiation on their clothing. 

In 2018, the body of one of the hikers was exhumed for reexamination. As we await news of any new findings, we are left only with questions. Even then, unless a major breakthrough is made, it seems that the truth of what happened at Dyatlov Pass will remain lost in the snow. 

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