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Dyatlov pass incident
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 14:12    Post subject: Re: stove Reply with quote

philomath wrote:
Even if they had installed the stove and had good wood to burn that night I believe would have been very difficult (and dangerous) to keep it in operation if it is true that the stove pipe was oriented to west against the strong wind....


Agreed ...

If there'd been any thought of using the stove that night they'd have erected the tent oriented (longitudinally) in the opposite direction. On the other hand, this reversed orientation would have positioned the tent entrance into the wind. This may have seemed an even worse option at the time.
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feinmanOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 14:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again EnolaGaia, for your work and analysis; I'm not sure I've ever seen this level of research on this mystery before.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 15:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maviself wrote:

... So could the build up of CO in their systems have been the trigger for unusual behaviour?


It's conceivable, but ...

One would have to specify how the hikers would have had significant CO levels at the time of the last encampment.

They hadn't used the stove (or any fire) on the preceding night. They didn't set up the stove or make any fire on the last known night (at the tent site). They had spent the past 2 days without any CO exposure, and they'd been engaging in strenuous aerobic activity both days (i.e., massively ventilating in fresh air).

On the other hand ...

The final wheeled transport leg of their trip was a ride in the open back of a heavy truck from Ivdel to Vizhay on 26 January. A quick Google Maps check indicates the straight-line distance between those two locations is on the order of 60 km.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 16:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

feinman wrote:
Thanks again EnolaGaia, for your work and analysis; I'm not sure I've ever seen this level of research on this mystery before.


Thanks ...

... But there's a wealth of information, discussion, (and flame wars ...) on the subject available online. Unfortunately for us in the West, it's effectively obscured by an 'Iron Curtain for Dyatlov Info' (i.e., the language / translation situation).

The sad fact is that most of what makes it through the language barrier are pre-digested, cherry-picked, 'spin-doctored', and sensationalized accounts slanted to fit in with some other topic or belief (e.g., UFO's, yeti, etc.). These all seem to start with a very simplistic version of possible events - i.e., 'unnatural event X panicked the party, who cut their way out of the tent and dashed into the valley'. After all, that's the version that maximizes the 'oooh - weird' factor.

Save for the quite daunting level of effort necessary to access deeper data, my biggest problem has been finding that the deeper I went into the presumably reliable facts (of which there are, and will always be, too few) the more it appeared the fortean-style factors attributed to the incident (UFO's, etc.) were post-hoc intrusions into or encrustations overlaying what the (currently and forever scant ...) evidence supports only as a purely human tragedy.

Except for some detailed analyses in specialist (e.g., mountaineering / skiing) forums and sites, there's little 'straight talk' to be found in Western (e.g., English language) resources.

Life would be much easier if I were to stop getting obsessed with mysteries (Dyatlov; the Siberian 'cauldrons') that entail wrestling with the Russian language barrier. Very Happy
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feinmanOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 17:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, thanks for going down that rabbit hole! And actually looking for a rabbit and not an alien. Laughing
<edit> Though I hope there is one down there somewhere, wih long fluffy ears!
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philomathOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 17:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

HenryFort wrote:
philomath are you the erstwhile OP and threadstarter philo_T ?

nope...I might be teh erstwhile polymath, but i swapped to the more humble philomath
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MaviselfOffline
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PostPosted: 13-02-2014 22:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnolaGaia wrote:
Maviself wrote:

... So could the build up of CO in their systems have been the trigger for unusual behaviour?


It's conceivable, but ...

One would have to specify how the hikers would have had significant CO levels at the time of the last encampment.

They hadn't used the stove (or any fire) on the preceding night. They didn't set up the stove or make any fire on the last known night (at the tent site). They had spent the past 2 days without any CO exposure, and they'd been engaging in strenuous aerobic activity both days (i.e., massively ventilating in fresh air).

On the other hand ...

The final wheeled transport leg of their trip was a ride in the open back of a heavy truck from Ivdel to Vizhay on 26 January. A quick Google Maps check indicates the straight-line distance between those two locations is on the order of 60 km.



As I understand it, CO poisoning can lead to brain damage and subsequent neurological disorders which present themselves days, weeks or months after exposure and apparent recovery.
What I should have said was, that the effects of CO from previous exposures could have lead to some changes in behaviour and cognition. I don't think for a moment that it was the sole cause, but it could well have been a contributary factor to events.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 14-02-2014 00:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maviself wrote:
As I understand it, CO poisoning can lead to brain damage and subsequent neurological disorders which present themselves days, weeks or months after exposure and apparent recovery.

What I should have said was, that the effects of CO from previous exposures could have lead to some changes in behaviour and cognition. I don't think for a moment that it was the sole cause, but it could well have been a contributary factor to events.


Yes ... It's conceivable some long-term / historical influence might have contributed to the apparently poor manner in which the party reacted to whatever-it-was-that-happened on the pass.

With specific regard to long-term CO exposure ... I suspect most all the people had spent their lives wintering with combustion (coal; wood; etc.) based heating.

If I recall correctly, everyone except Zolotarev was (or had been ...) studying at the Ural Polytechnic Institute. One of the early photos on the recovered film shows the institute's grounds with a plume of coal smoke from their heating plant. This photo is available at:

http://deadmountainbook.com/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_large/public/DM3-copy_0.jpg?itok=_ANaa3du

One of the alleged advantages of the horizontally-suspended stove arrangement seems to be that it burns fuel slowly, providing extended modest heat rather than short-term intense heat. In other words, it tends to 'smolder'. My understanding is that such slow combustion is more likely to be a CO risk than an equivalent faster- or hotter-burning fire.

However ... Once one opens up the subject of prior exposures to some influence, all sorts of things suggest themselves.

For example, there's the journal entry I cited earlier noting that multiple group members had "pierced" their hands on nails some days before - just enough days to cover the minimum claimed incubation period for tetanus.

(NOTE: I'm not pushing a tetanus angle; I just thought it was another interesting tangent ...)

The 10th member to turned back (Lubin) is variously described as having long-term issues with rheumatism, back pain, or sciatica. Maybe he was sick in some other way that might offer a clue.

There's always the possibility of contamination in the food or water they shared on that trip.

As I've noted before, I suspect the circumstances of the previous encampment might indicate something wasn't quite right. On January 31 they set up the tent among trees, but didn't bother with installing the stove. They didn't even make a fire. Maybe it was because they were pre-occupied with building their cache, maybe not ... They also got a late start on the 1st. Was this delay indicative of more work on the cache, or were they somehow 'dragging' already?

Multiple of the accounts I read years ago mentioned their ascent to the pass on 1 February wasn't their first attempt to move up the mountain. There were cryptic references to them having turned back to camp in the valley on 31 January. I don't know where this claim came from, and I haven't seen any more recent accounts that mention this.

They were definitely carrying alcohol with them (recovered at the tent site), and some accounts refer to it as being 'moonshine' (i.e., homemade liquor). I don't know if there's any substance to such allusions; I'm just noting the allusions were made. Homemade liquor carries a high risk of physical / behavioral issues caused by contaminants.

EDIT: I forgot to mention above ...

The photo link cited above is one image within a gallery associated with Eichar's book website. The gallery provides a nice collection of photos with English captions. If you hadn't already been digging into the photo documentation, this would be a good place to start ...

http://deadmountainbook.com/gallery/hikers-photo-gallery

What's strange about this gallery is that it includes only 1 of the known 'party ascending the pass' photos and _neither_ of the final (digging a place for the tent) photos. It seems weird someone would assemble a pretty substantial gallery and not include at least one of the final photos.
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Human_84Offline
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PostPosted: 14-02-2014 16:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnolaGaia wrote:
The photo link cited above is one image within a gallery associated with Eichar's book website. The gallery provides a nice collection of photos with English captions. If you hadn't already been digging into the photo documentation, this would be a good place to start ...

http://deadmountainbook.com/gallery/hikers-photo-gallery


Two things really strike me as being unusual:

#1 I've taken international trips with groups of friends that aren't this well documented. Photos of them parting with friends? Boarding a truck? Come on.
#2 What's with the lighthearted smiles, and happy-go-lucky aura? It almost seems like the opening to B horror movie (typically featuring a few 20-somethings) where the screenwriters predictably make a point to demonstrate how happy everyone is together to ensure a more powerful climax.

I'm not questioning whether or not the event took place, yet, but the photos feel really bizarre. Even in 1950s Soviet Union where a mid-winter hiking trip might have been one of the few times they were able to get away with friends. Weird.
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feinmanOffline
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PostPosted: 14-02-2014 18:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Human_84 wrote:
EnolaGaia wrote:
The photo link cited above is one image within a gallery associated with Eichar's book website. The gallery provides a nice collection of photos with English captions. If you hadn't already been digging into the photo documentation, this would be a good place to start ...

http://deadmountainbook.com/gallery/hikers-photo-gallery


Two things really strike me as being unusual:

#1 I've taken international trips with groups of friends that aren't this well documented. Photos of them parting with friends? Boarding a truck? Come on.
#2 What's with the lighthearted smiles, and happy-go-lucky aura? It almost seems like the opening to B horror movie (typically featuring a few 20-somethings) where the screenwriters predictably make a point to demonstrate how happy everyone is together to ensure a more powerful climax.

I'm not questioning whether or not the event took place, yet, but the photos feel really bizarre. Even in 1950s Soviet Union where a mid-winter hiking trip might have been one of the few times they were able to get away with friends. Weird.


That is weird! Perhaps personal cameras were an exciting thing at that time, as EnolaGaia mentioned before. Heck I'd like to see a similar party of skiers with comparable gear and circumstances that got hypothermia, behaved so oddly, managed to get such traumatic and weird injuries without falling down a cliff, and then dying. The guy I helped with hypothermia was perfectly rational and didn't do anything weird, and he had to drag his useless legs through the snow for .5 miles! The similar extremely traumatic injuries with no surface contusions, or broken wrists or arms, bothers me.
<edit> I mean, I might think something like this could happen if they were all unkowingly dosed with LSD and had a cliff or something nearby..
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 15-02-2014 18:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Human_84 wrote:


Two things really strike me as being unusual:

#1 I've taken international trips with groups of friends that aren't this well documented. Photos of them parting with friends? Boarding a truck? Come on.
#2 What's with the lighthearted smiles, and happy-go-lucky aura? It almost seems like the opening to B horror movie (typically featuring a few 20-somethings) where the screenwriters predictably make a point to demonstrate how happy everyone is together to ensure a more powerful climax.

I'm not questioning whether or not the event took place, yet, but the photos feel really bizarre. Even in 1950s Soviet Union where a mid-winter hiking trip might have been one of the few times they were able to get away with friends. Weird.


The photo sets from Dyatlov's other (earlier) expeditions also include a number of 'holiday-style' photos (group shots; people mugging for the camera; etc.). This doesn't seem to have been unusual for that time and place.

Your point about hikes being a chance to "get away" is quite relevant in this context. From what I gather, such group getaways were one of the few activities in which a self-selected set of people could interact among themselves without worrying about prying eyes and ears - a persistent concern in Soviet-era Russia.

I've noticed multiple allusions to this on the Russian forums discussing the Dyatlov incident.

Another thing to point out is that the set of photos from that last expedition represent shots taken over the space of about a week. No one's every claimed all the photos recovered came from a single camera, and there are a few 'let's photograph each other' shots that demonstrate more than one camera was in use at a given location. Unless there are a lot of additional photos no one's ever posted or cited, I don't think the number of shots is excessive for 3 cameras (one was ruined) over the space of a week.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 15-02-2014 18:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some miscellaneous points relating to the photos most often seen from the last expedition ...

- The two people most commonly seen as appearing 'serious' in the photos are Dyatlov (the nominal group leader) and Zolotarev (much older; very much the 'outsider' among the group members). Both of them smile and even mug for the camera sometimes, but both are also caught seeming to be pondering something.

- I have yet to see a detailed inventory of the cameras the group carried - especially any overview of what types / models were on hand and to whom they belonged. Without such a summary, it's impossible to tell whose camera might be seen or in use.

- Even more problematical (and curious ...) is that I've never seen a summary collection of photographs organized by timeframe or which camera produced them or whatever. I would have thought someone somewhere would have laid out the photographic evidence in a structured fashion, but I can't tell it's ever happened.

- The snapshots of Z and T-B trading hats illustrates that Z only wore a beret, which he sometimes supplemented with the hood of his parka. Since he was the one with the least winter-worthy headgear, it's not that surprising he was the one found with someone else's headgear (Dubinina's) added to his own.

- Multiple snapshots from earlier days (as well as the shot I believe shows the party preparing for their second / final attempt to ascend the pass) consistently show Z with a flashlight clipped beneath the left chest pocket of his parka. He is the only one I can see who wore a flashlight at all times. Indeed, I have yet to identify a flashlight on or with anyone else in any of the other photos. I'd love to know if his flashlight was either (a) the one found outside the tent or (b) the one found with drained batteries somewhere down in the valley.

- From what I gather, there's still some debate over whether the photos showing the snow-covered tent erected among trees (and with the stove installed) came from the final expedition or an earlier one.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 15-02-2014 18:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

feinman wrote:
... I mean, I might think something like this could happen if they were all unkowingly dosed with LSD and had a cliff or something nearby..


There's a theory for that ... Laughing

One of the less frequently cited hypotheses is that the group ingested some (e.g.) fungal spores or material capable of hallucinogenic effect.
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PostPosted: 15-02-2014 21:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever actually happened, they seem to have been remarkably unprepared for such an expedition in such an environment.
I'm wondering if they had a fight because some people stole clothes from the others as the temperature fell dramatically. It's a mystery though, that they didn't use their little stove.
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PostPosted: 17-02-2014 13:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Human_84 wrote:
Two things really strike me as being unusual:

#1 I've taken international trips with groups of friends that aren't this well documented. Photos of them parting with friends? Boarding a truck? Come on.
#2 What's with the lighthearted smiles, and happy-go-lucky aura? It almost seems like the opening to B horror movie (typically featuring a few 20-somethings) where the screenwriters predictably make a point to demonstrate how happy everyone is together to ensure a more powerful climax.

I'm not questioning whether or not the event took place, yet, but the photos feel really bizarre. Even in 1950s Soviet Union where a mid-winter hiking trip might have been one of the few times they were able to get away with friends. Weird.


The thought that struck me, when looking through the photos, was that considering owning a camera was a rare and special priviledge I would have expected the photos to be more formal with less "larking about" shots. Especially the "heres someone taking a photo of me - taking a photo" ones?!

Even when I was younger (actually that's quite a while ago now) I remember being told not to "waste" film on stupid photos because "it costs money to print those you know"!
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