1959. Nine excited college students planned to hike the Russian Ural Mountains and reach Ortorten, a challenging trek. All 9 in the party (7 boys and two girls) were experienced hikers and used to mountain expeditions. They had trained, and planned, and envisioned victory. The group left on January 27 with plans to communicate once they reached Vizhai which they believed would be around February 12th, but perhaps a little longer.When February 12th came and went, there was no panic. however when February 20th came around a rescue team was sent out to look for the nine hikers.
On February 26th the rescue team found the camp site of the hikers where the tents had been partially torn down and cut open with knives from the inside. Inside the tent were also the shoes of the hikers. Tracks could be seen of stocking feet as well as bare feet around the site and the rescue team followed. As they searched the area all nine of the hikers bodies were found in different states of dress, looking as though they had abandoned the tents in a hurry. But why? What would cause this experienced group to venture out into the cold snow without their shoes or jackets? What would cause them to destroy their tents from the inside? What were they trying to escape?
While it was believed they died of hypothermia, some of the hikers had extreme injuries, blows to the skull, chest fractures and one was even missing his tongue.
Photo footage and journals found left by the hikers showed that the communication ended on February 2nd. Yet all of these years later, a solid answer to what happened has never been found.
Once again I embark on a read that I have no idea about. I admittedly had never heard about the Dyalov Pass or about this extreme tragedy. When browsing the audible.com audio sale this one caught my eye as I seem to be drawn to unsolved mysteries. At around 6 1/2 hours of audio listening this was a doable listen. I tend to like my audio to be around that 6-9 hour mark if I have no relationship with the author or narrator to cause me to invest more time.
Donnie Eichar plays many roles in this audio. Not only is he the author and narrator, he is also telling the story not as a third person observer – but as first person, as Donnie was part of a team that followed in the tracks of the hikers in 2012, trying to bring in new answers to an old mystery.
I did enjoy this listen. It was very interesting to learn about the hiking group, listen to parts of their journal and discoveries, and try to piece together what may have happened.
While this book will not give you a full out positive answer as to what did happen, it does go over many theories which Donnie Eichar will tell you why some theories hold merit and others do not. In the end, Donnie will also give you his thoughts on the mystery that surrounds the Dyalov Pass tragedy.
Other stuff: A movie is 2013 called Devil’s Pass is about 5 filmmakers who retrace the steps of the 1959 hikers.
You Tube has an Unsolved Mysteries video with good insight and pictures of the hikers: