Game Changer III: Russian Yeti & the Dyatlov Pass Mystery – New Insights

Russian-Yeti1We continue sharing the revelations as told in the Russian documentary about the Dyatlov Pass mystery in this final installment.  For more information see parts I and II.

Russian Theories

The program stated that they have their own theories as to what happened to the students. Some possibilities they dismissed outright, like the UFO encounter. They felt that was way beyond the realm of possibility given all the clues pointing to government involvement in missile testing and cover-ups that were revealed during their investigation and broadcast.

The program also dismissed the theory that the Mansi murdered the students due to a complete lack of evidence, and also the Menk for the same reason.

This is what we have left.

First Russian Theory

This first theory comes to us (via the Russian program) from Moisei Axelrod, an accomplished mountaineer who know the students and lived the life they did way back in 1959.

Moisei was a member of the original search party who subsequently spent the next 30 plus years looking for answers as to what really happened to the nine students.  He said that in 1959 a new type of weapon, or rocket, was being developed and tested in that area (the Mountain of the Dead area). During a Russian holiday called the UPI (Ural Polytechnical Institute) Spring Day, he and his wife saw a pulsating ring flying across the sky. That was on February 2, 1959. His wife, a journalism major interning at Tagils Workers paper, reported that the paper printed an article about the object because someone from one of the Vysokogorski iron quarries saw it one morning.  But “censors” removed any mention of it from the paper.

RussianRocketPoster1957Moisei believes these two events are connected – the deaths of the students and the sighting of this experimental rocket. He explained that if this rocket entered their airspace and dropped to the ground, it would have caused bright lights and ground shaking. Moisei said other people in the area reported seeing parts of the third stage of a rocket laying around. He was part of the original search party, so he was able to see and hear things that others were not. (Russian Rocket poster from 1957, left.)

Moisei made this point – in those days the rockets were not sophisticated like they are today. There was no laser guidance system aboard. He also said that if it hit the ground causing the Earth to shake, it would have caused at least a snow slide if not a full avalanche in the area of where the students were sleeping.

He believes a snow slide ran over the tent. The Russian tent was 13 feet long, 6 feet of which was on a flat plane while the remaining 7 feet was slanted up a slope. Moisei said sleeping in a tent under these conditions was tough because whatever part of you rests on the ground is very cold, so you toss and turn a lot through the night.

Here’s how he think it happened:

  1. The tent was hit by a snow slide. Those sleeping in the far end of the tent, behind the ledge of the slope weren’t hurt. The ones at the front of the tent were injured. The snow could have hit them hard enough to cause fatal injuries. There was no explosion (or the tent would have been blown away).
  2. Zolotorov was near the tent entrance, probably sleeping on his side, hence the ribs on that side were crushed. Dubimina was probably on her stomach so both sides of her ribs were broken. As for Thibeaux-Brignolles, well Moisei thinks he probably had something uncomfortable under his head, like a camera because he liked to show off. The force of the snow hitting his head against the camera or whatever is probably what fractured his skull.
  3. Moisei said he had given Dyatlov a Chinese flashlight. They would have quickly gotten out of the tent because of the likelihood of a follow-up slide. The 5 healthy ones would have helped the other four out. Moisei said he feels at this point Thibeaux B was probably dead due to the severity of his brain injury. But still they knew they had to all get away from the avalanche area. Hence the mass exit off the snow plain to the tree line and the big cedar.
  4. Moisei thinks they were headed back to a supply hut that they had used prior to approaching this final ascent area. It’s where they would store materials they needed for the return trip back down the mountain, saving themselves the work of lugging it up and down the mountain for nothing. He said they clearly missed their mark and wound up by the forest.
  5. He figures this is what happened: they got to the forest and tried to make a wind shelter by breaking branches and putting them on the ground as a barrier to the cold so the wounded could rest there. Then the 3 healthiest set off to go back to the tent but Moisei said that was a hopeless effort because he was there, and you could only see the tent from that point in the woods 6 or 7 hours a day, on a good day, and they were doing this at night.  He explained that area is a “aerodynamic pipe” that pumps fierce winds, blizzards, and tons of snow all the time. He said it’s no surprise that the 3 succumbed to hypothermia and death.

RocketCrashAleksei Kozkin

Another researcher in recent years, Aleksei Kozkin, said there couldn’t have been an avalanche there. He believes the students were all doing different things at that time, and that at least 2 of them were outside the tent, while others were inside bedding down for the night. He thinks something occurred that caused an explosive shockwave and he says this would explain how the two students were thrown against rocks and severely injured.

Aleksei also said there were probably strange noises and lights associated with the event that would have panicked the students. So he says that’s when they cut open the tent in various states of undress. They would have picked up the injured and headed away from the tent area as fast as possible.

Yuri Kensenovich

Yuri thinks the students ran into some sort of test (as do other experts in mountaineering who agreed with him).  He figures it was mostly likely a military test since there were traces of radiation found on the students’ clothes. He said some of them survived up to 8 hours after the initial event.

DzerDivisionHe also brought up another disturbing fact. He said some of the initial searchers on the scene believed the students had run into the guards from the Dzerzhinsky Division who were “liquidating the results from the explosion – getting the evidence out of the way and cleaning up the test area.” Yuri said, “It’s possible that they suffered from that.”

The program indicated that meant the division left them there to die, and even arranged their bodies to look some other plausible explanation.  The narrator of the program added, “Their involvement would’ve been very grim and would explain the missing tongue.”

Peter Bartholomew doesn’t believe the theory involving the Dzerzhinsky   Division because he said, there are other predators and animals out there.

The bodies were found under 13 feet (4 m) of snow. Yuri Kensenovich said that KGB members were present in the area after the tragedy was discovered.  He said that in 1959 the KGB was the strongest organization in the Soviet Union and that they could do whatever they wanted.

Peter Bartholomew’s Opinion

Peter Bartholomew knew the students personally, and well. He didn’t think there was any CheKa, UGPU, MGB, or KGB involvement. He thinks that military tests were being done throughout the night, that fateful night. He said several other groups saw some trails in the sky at the same time, similar to the moon disk, but moving much faster. This object was within the student group’s area and caused some acoustic or mechanical effect. He said the group may have panicked.

He said they were clearly frightened terribly to the point where they cut through the tent, desperate to get out, and then hurried down a 4,000 foot slope to the forest.  Peter’s account doesn’t explain how some of the students were badly injured.

UFO Theory

The narrator specifically said they weren’t going to discuss the UFO option because it was too “fantastical.” Given the history of the area as a military test range, I think this was a wise decision. Manmade involvement in the students’ deaths is becoming more clear by the minute.

SpaceJunkMetal Fragments

The show’s narrator mentioned that two individual witnesses claimed to have seen pieces of metal found around the site of the tragedy. Experts analyzed the metal and they learned they were pieces of the 3rd stage of a rocket. For this and other reasons, many in the area believe this proves there was a failed military rocket test.

The narrator said that some felt since the students were all engineering majors at UPI and very technically competent, they shouldn’t have been so frightened by a rocket. But this is what I say – radiation!! Everyone needs to be afraid of radiation exposure!

Moving on.

Tokarev’s Opinion

Another member of the original search party, Tokarev, said, “I think they might have suffocated instead of freezing to death. The snow around the face of Zia Kolmogorova was bloody. The blood was coming out of her nose and throat. Further on, they couldn’t start a fire. The birch bark and twigs only “ashed over” probably because of a lack of oxygen.”

BlindingLightBlinded by the Light?

One last theory said that the students were blinded by the flash of whatever exploded. They point to the fact that some of the students were heading for the tent separately and that the same cedar branch had been cut several times.  Interesting, but I think this one is a stretch and the weakest argument of them all.


Wrapping Up the Clues

This is one heck of a complicated story, made all the more difficult by the passage of time and the distance most of us face in getting to the original scene of the crime.

Here’s how the Russian program pulled it all together:

Aleksei Kozkin studied the reports of the flying spheres in the sky witnessed by many, particularly the Mansi. He was able to determine they were all seeing a sodium rocket that had released a sodium cloud. He thinks that was the culprit that set-off the tragic events the night of February 2, 1959.

He said, “Everyone has only a copy of a redacted criminal case with several missing pages.” He added, “There is no final conclusion and without additional information, there can’t be.”

Aleksei is 100% sure other investigations were conducted at the same time as the criminal investigation by the KGB and possibly also a high ranking police division. He said they would certainly know what event ultimately caused the deaths of the students as well as what sky phenomenon everyone was seeing in the area that terrible night and on the nights the search parties were there.  But none of that information is forthcoming. It never made it into the light of Glasnost.

Yuri Kensenovich said the Russian people have a right to know what authorities found and he asks if they, the government, are ready to take responsibility for the deaths of the 9 students.

CoverUpGovernment Hiding the Whole Truth

The program narrator added that many are interested in hiding the truth [to this day] and that is why the information we do have has been gathered piece-by-piece by “so-called journalistic hobby investigators.”

The program concludes that this mystery and its cover-up could lead all the way up to the Ministry of Defense.

I believe, thanks to this thoughtful and detailed presentation, as well as the effort of the “so-called journalistic hobby investigators,” we’re close to the truth as to what happened that terrible night over 50 years ago.

Clearly the government was involved and it was one of their military rocket experiments that set off the tragic chain of events leading to the students’ deaths. I would dare to say, these young adults were collateral damage thanks to a military experiment gone wrong.

The show ended by saying that despite the cover-ups and mystery, the example of the students’ courage and fortitude will live on. The narrator said, “Their deaths is quintessentially the struggle of man against the monster called militarism.”

At the time of the filming of this program, the people of Russia planned to build a bigger and better memorial in their honor.

Just to be clear:

Does this mean the Menk didn’t kill the students? Yes.

Does this mean the Menk don’t exist? No.

Does this mean there aren’t any UFOs? No.

It just means they weren’t involved in the deaths of the 9 students.


There’s one strange postscript to this story. The Mansi named the mountain at the center of this whole sad tale the Mountain of the Dead (Kholat Syakhl) because of their own legend that says a long time ago, 9 Mansi also died there. It is believed they died as the result of a flood.

The students died there in 1959. Then in 1991 a plane crashed there killing the 9 people aboard. Strange, isn’t it?


(My apologies for any misspelled Russian names and place names. They’ve been a real struggle for me.)


  1. That sure is strange with all the 9’s. I don’t know what to make about that. The conclusion sure makes sense though. Those poor families deserve to know the truth of what happened to their loved ones. We all know the government sometimes doesn’t take responsibility for their mistakes or wrong decisions. Look at the Benghazi tragedy.

  2. I wanted to say ‘thanks’ for following up on this story. After seeing the program myself it left me thinking about what could have happened to these 9 students. The show wanted you to believe that there was a Yeti that killed them but I do not believe in such things as animals with hair, leave hair and yet- no hair was found at the campsite or the supposed Yeti lair.

    The explanation you’ve put forth here is entirely plausible. The only thing that still nags at me is how all of them ended up dead? It would seem possible that there would be at least one survivor. I think that also points to this being a military cover-up.

    The missile caused the avalanche, students got panicked fearing that the avalanche was not done, some got hurt and all were panicked and ran down the slope into the woods, tended to the wounded and made a fire. I think the KGB saw the fire and descended on the party. Thinking they’ve been rescued the students did not put up resistance. Somehow the military poisoned or drugged the students, covered their own tracks then left them to die.

    • Interesting take on the ending, CJ. Until *ALL* of the records are released for public consumption, I don’t think we’ll ever really know for sure. But the Russian government does seem to have been the root cause of what ultimately happened to the students.

      In light of what’s happening now with the plane down & the revolt in Ukraine, it seems highly unlikely we’ll ever get those classified records. Governments are good at keeping secrets, if nothing else.

      Thanks for your input!

      … Susan (CryptoVille)

  3. I may have missed it while reading your articles, but didn’t the surviving mountaineer, Yuri Yudin, mention on video before his death that among his friends’ belongings were some military-issue gaiters? As he pointed out, these couldn’t have belonged to them at the time, pointing to involvement of some sort of agents, before the search party arrived.

    • Hi Domi! I don’t remember anything about gaiters, but it would’t surprise me. (What are gaiters exactly? I’m thinking they’re a sort of suspender for trousers?)

      No matter what they are, I feel sure the finger is pointing towards government involvement from start to finish.

      Thanks for stopping by CryptoVille! … Susan (CryptoVille)

  4. Hmm, at first this seems to be a good theory, since it doesn’t appeal to Yeti/UFO, but there are some holes in it:
    1- Regarding the possibility that the snow slide pressure caused the fractures: what kind of idiot would use something hard like a camera for a pillow??
    2 – Regarding the possibility that a sonic wave caused a blast strong enough to severely injure the students: why was the tent left standing (shouldn’t it have been swept by the blast)? And why were their personal stuff found in an normal state?
    3 – If the air blast or snow slide were the cause of the injuries, that is, if the injuries were suffered inside the tent, shouldn’t there be a lot of blood on the tent, on their clothing, boots, diaries, camera, axe, etc?
    4- Some of the openings on the tent were cut from side to side, and were small. Why would they do that, if they were in a hurry to escape from an avalanche or something? (you would expect only long, top to bottom openings). These holes look more like ” windows”
    5 – why did the students separated at all? The idea that the healthiest went looking for help is ok, but first, shouldn’t they build a shelter and a fire for the others? Instead only two (the healthiest ones) built a fire for themselves, why would they give up on the others?
    6 – 3 students were supposedly heading back to the tent, maybe to get supplies. Thats understandable, but if the 9 were initially together, why would they send the injured ones, including the one with a fractured skull back to get supplies, instead of the the two healthiest ones (the two that built the fire)?
    7 – Also, if the student with the fractured skull suffered his injury inside the tent, its understandable that the others would remove him and take him with them, but why would they bring him, or his body, back to the tent, instead of let him together with the others with a shelter and fire?
    8 – The fact that the student with the skull fracture was with the group apparently making their way back to the tent (along with the fact that there was no blood reported inside the tent) suggests that he had no skull fracture when he first left. So he suffered his injured afterwards, when he was trying to return to the tent with two others. But if the air blast/snow slide was the cause them leaving the tent in the first place, which second event caused the skull fracture and the other injuries?
    9 – The two healthiest used branches from 5m high to build a fire. They supposedly climbed the tree to try to see their tent. This doesn’t make sense. You wouldn’t see anything in the dark. Also, the tent was on an open area, and the students fled towards the forest. This means that, at any point, there should be no obstacle between them and the tent. And if they were trying to sight the other base camp, it would still be useless, because it would be impossible to see anything at dark through the trees canopy.
    10 – Why would the spend energy climbing 5 m high? Pine trees have no low hanging branches, meaning it would be quite hard to climb. Of explanation is that they didn’t climb at all, they simply found the branches under the tree, and the branches were possibly broken by a storm or wind some time before.
    11 – If they were initially all together, why would the two healthy ones stop to make a fire separated from the others? The theory is that they went for help, but where could they find help? They were many miles away from anyone or anything. It would make more sense to wait for the morning, when they could orientate themselves. If at some point they realized that and decided to camp, why didn’t they return to the others, since they weren’t far away? The only explanation is that they didn’t know where the others were.
    12 – the group with four people built a kind of shelter with branches. So wood was easy to find, but they had no fire, and they obviously knew hypothermia was a huge threat. Answer: they had no matches or lighter. The other group, of two students, supposedly went to great trouble to gather wood (climbing trees). So they had little wood, but they had matches or a lighter. That’s strong evidence that these two groups were incommunicable with each other, they didn’t know were the other was.
    13 – The fact that the two healthy ones didn’t try to go back to the tent is strange. They knew there was an axe, and other valuable stuff. Why would they venture into the woods with zero visibility instead of going back to the tent? Maybe they didnt know where the tent was. But the fact that they didn’t know where they were is one more sign that they weren’t looking for help, they just fled.
    14 – Did the students leave the tent in an orderly manner, or just ran away very fast and in all directions, every man for himself? This would explain why the three groups were separate, but it contradicts the theory that an initial impact injured them and forced them to leave the tent. If they had the time to remove severely injured companions, wouldn’t be easy for them to stay together?
    15 – the fact that they separated themselves suggest that, after they left the tent, something happened that forced them to flee in different directions, for a duration long enough that they couldn’t regroup. It also seems that this second event, and not a snow slide, was responsible for the injuries.
    16 – why didn’t they shouted to locate the others? Im assuming the they didn’t, because if they did, they would be able to regroup and have a much better chance of survival. Of course, if they were attacked by something, they would be afraid of attracting any attention to themselves.
    17 – if they were attacked by something, it would explain why the two healthy students went to the trouble of climbing a high tree. Maybe after a while, they judged that the threat was gone, and climbed down, and used the branches to make a fire. (if the threat was gone, lighting a fire wouldn’t attract attention). But the fire was too little too late and they froze to death.
    18 – what explains the bruises and marks of fighting on the hands and wrists of some?
    18 – The discovery special show 4 different pieces of evidence relating to the menk (other than the mansi legends): a) a journal entry “the snow man is real” b) the photograph of a bigfoot like creature c)the account of two men from the search party who reported huge human like footprints d) photograph of the said footprints. Question: did Discovery fake all these 4 evidence? Did they pay the two russian men to lie? Did they create evidence that officially belongs to the Russian government? If at least one of these piece of evidence is genuine, what are the implications?
    19 – Despite the cave segment of the show being probably staged, (seriously, which russian woman hired as an interpreter would camp alone at night with an explorer inside a Menk inhabited cave in the middle of Siberia?), the show thesis is not so absurd, assuming there is such a thing as a Menk.

    One possible explanation, along the lines of the show, is: the students saw the menk during their expedition (the photograph is real), and they had reason to believe that the menk was stalking them (maybe out of sheer curiosity, not necessarily a threat). They camp out of the forest, on the hill side, so that if the menk approached they would see it coming out of the woods. (they were not necessarily afraid at this point). There’s a sudden light in the sky and a blast, brutally waking up the students. Maybe they were temporarily blinded, and didn’t know what to make of it. A light snow slide, caused by the blast, obstructs the tent entrance, but causes no other damage. The blast of course also affected the menk. The menk starts screaming. Confused and scared, the students open “windows” on the tent to see outside (because of the menk screams). Maybe at this point they see lights in the sky and take their last picture. Maybe there’s a second light snow slide, or they fear an avalanche. They may not feel well because of the radiation. Fearing being buried in snow, they decide to leave at once, leaving their gear behind. They could recover their gear after getting in a safe place and assessing the situation. The safe place would be the edge of the forest. However, at some point they encountered the Menk, also scared because of the blast. The menk, feeling threatened, attacks them. They flee in panic, in three different groups. The menk inflicts a skull fracture in one of them, maybe throw others away. This would explain the other fractures and marks of fighting. However, the menk is not there to exterminate them, or even eat them, it is just confused and terrified. So after an initial fight, the menk goes away. the three groups are now scattered, and afraid of shouting to each other because it could attract the menk. One group, with the fatally wounded student, tries to make to the tent, but after the panic, they are disoriented, don’t know in which direction to go and have to carry a wounded companion, which slow them down. Unable to progress, they die of hypothermia (one dies of injury). The second group tries to build a shelter in the snow, to both hide from the menk and protect from wind. They cant light a fire due to having no matches or lighter. Some of them had some injuries. Unable to leave (or afraid) and with no fire, they succumb to cold and injuries.
    The third group also fled in panic. They suffered no injuries from the encounter with the menk. THey figure the best thing to do is to climb on a tall tree. That explains why they spend so much effort climbing a tree (remember, there are no low hanging branches, the lowest were 5m high). However, they are freezing up there. Eventually, they figure the menk probably left, and hypothermia is a bigger threat. So they break a few branches, climb down and light a fire. They had a match or a lighter. The others, if they are still alive, are hiding in their shelter, and can’t see the fire. But the fire is too little and too late. Also, despite having no injuries, they may be feeling weak due to the radiation exposure. They eventually die.
    The snow partially covers all bodies. Scavengers eat the exposed parts (tongue and eyes) of some bodies. Eventually, the snow covers everything. The combination of radiation, menk inflicted injuries, and scavenger action explain the terrible state of the bodies.

    • Thank you for your comprehensive analysis Bob!! I’m afraid I’m running out the door on errands this Saturday morning, but I’ll take the time to read this later. Have a great day! … Susan (CryptoVille)

  5. This thread is so interesting, and offers some new information I didn’t know before.
    South Bob your explanation seems as plausible as anything I’ve read. I just wanted to clarify a few things based on what I’ve read in other accounts:
    1) There were 8 or 9 sets of footprints leading from the tent in the same direction, which suggests that they left in a somewhat organised fashion. It also means that everyone was able to walk, and didn’t suffer their serious injuries in the tent.
    2) While we can speculate that they all met under the cedar, apparently the footprints down the slope disappear for about 500. But we can assume they probably did.
    3) According to some reports by the search squad, canopy of some of the trees were scorched, and no one knows why or how.
    4) If they suffered their injuries under the cedar, how could the group of 4 have made it 75m deeper into the woods and built a den with a makeshift ground of sticks? This group of four, I believe, survived the longest, because they were wearing items of clothing from the two who died under the tree.
    5) Most, if not all of the group, had bleeding from the nose and on the lips (according to the official autopsy). A couple looked to have been in a fight. Maybe two or more of them had a conflict under the cedar and fought eachother? They would’ve most likely been scared and already suffering hypothermia.

    I’ve come to think that they saw a light, which they managed to photograph. One or two of them outside the tent warned the others to leave in a hurry (discounting the avalanche theory). Something scared them again under the canopy, causing the group to split, as small bob suggested. The group all split, with everyone dying of hyporthermia except the four who retreated deeper into the forest. At some point they came back and, finding the bodies of the two by the tree, took their clothing and returned to the den. I think they were seen at this point by someone/something, followed back, and attacked here, sustaining their horrific injuries.

  6. Or maybe they split up after taking the clothing from the first two, who seemed to have died first. There was some disagreement what to do; three of them tried to return to the tent, and four of them went deeper into the woods. I think the last four survived the longest, because they managed to make a den of sorts. It’s possible that of the original nine, only the surviving four were actually found and attacked by something.

  7. ….and what of the missing tongue. It was stated she might have been alive when such had happened as there was blood in her stomach ?
    The rocket theory makes perfect sense…but what of the tongue event ?

  8. I downloaded Keith McCloskey’s “Journey to Dyatlov Pass” – highly recommend. The new to me details photo analysis is very compelling for military related air burst explosions. The photos show the top of 3 members heads watching the aerial display….several military jet looking images and several cloud like explosion images. The famous one of the bright light getting very close is highly suggestive they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, plenty of unanswered questions centering on their demise and the injuries.

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