Almost a year ago, I wrote about a 60 year old mystery involving nine people who died in an area popularly called ‘Dead Mountain’ in Russia. Answers to the mystery of those deaths—eight students and a ski instructor—have eluded sleuths for a long time. It looks as though one possibly credible theory has been put forth and the film “Frozen” may have been helpful .
“At the height of the Cold War, in the dead of winter, the group of 10 students led by Igor Dyatlov set out on a trip into the Ural Mountains – the range which divides Europe and Asia.
The skiers were all experienced, young sportsmen and women from the Urals Polytechnic Institute in Yekaterinburg, or Sverdlovsk as the city was called in Soviet times, but only one of them would survive.”
Conspiracy theories abounded, for obvious reasons—the Cold War and the location in a Communist country where loyalty is to party, not to country.
Some suggested the mythical Yeti might be to blame.
Tech Crunch published an article about the latest investigation by people with expertise—”Enter Alexander Puzrin and Johan Gaume, from Switzerland’s ETH Zürich and EPFL, respectively, two highly prestigious and advanced technical institutes. Curious about the incident for their own reasons, they began looking into how to work out once and for all what happened…”
How did the Disney film play into the investigation? Gaume talked to the snow simulation specialist with the film, “to see what an avalanche striking sleeping students would do to them.”
You can read Tech Crunch’s article, but you can also read more at National Geographic’s article, “Has science solved one of history’s greatest adventure mysteries?” Tech Crunch based their writeup on the Nat Geo article.
I’m not sure I buy into the tidy explanation. My mind keeps going back to some of the hiker’s injuries as detailed in the BBC feature:
“Lyudmila Dubinina, the ardent young communist and Semyon Zolotaryov, the oldest member of the group, had suffered multiple broken ribs. He had an open wound on the right side of his skull, which exposed the bone. There was another gruesome detail – both had empty eye sockets, and Lyudmila’s tongue was missing.”
My money’s still on a communist coverup. I do admit the new findings are impressive, though. And I think it’s cool that one of my grandchildren’s favorite films figured in new research on a mystery that has long tantalized amateur and professional sleuths.
Featured Photo: Searchers found the hikers’ collapsed tent near Dead Mountain. (Photo by Soviet authorities in 1959)
(Kay B. Day/January 29, 2021)