Episode 181: Dylatov Pass: The Russian Riddle

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

This episode of the Sofa King Podcast is a look at the mysterious deaths surrounding the hikers on Dylatov Pass in Russia. In the winter of 1959, ten experience hiker/skiers took a very challenging hike through the Ural Mountains of Russia. Most of them were college students from the Ural Polytechnic Institute. On the first day, one of them got sick and returned home, but the others all continued with their journey.

The group established a camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl, which means “Dead Mountain,” and none of them survived the experience. They were supposed to telegraph the man who turned back on February 12th to let them know they had cleared the mountain, but no word came. The man waited until the 20th and finally reported them as missing and helped mount a search party to go after them. What they found is truly creepy and mysterious.

The rescue party arrived at their base camp to discover that their tents had been cut open from the inside, and all the cold weather gear was still inside the tents. Every indication was that something horrifying must have happened to send these experienced outdoor enthusiasts to run into the night in Siberia where the conditions were freezing. Eventually, the rescue team started finding bodies.

The first two bodies found on the Dylatov Pass were dead, shoeless and in their underwear, clearly frozen to death by the harsh conditions. The autopsies confirmed that their flesh and fingernails were in the bark of the tree they died under, and all the branches were snapped off as if they were trying desperately to climb and escape something.

The next group was found dead and placed next to each other with no signs of anything but hypothermia to have killed them, but there is still a mystery about their body placement. And finally, the third group of bodies was found farther away several months later. This is there it gets crazy.

They were all dead from what the Russian officials called an “unknown compelling force.” The autopsies suggested internal injuries consistent with impact about the same force as being hit by a fast moving car. Of course, no cars or roads exist in this mountainous wilderness, so that’s more than odd. Also, some of the bodies had cuts and burns, one had her tongue removed (before she died), some were missing their eyes, and the coup de grace was that some of the clothing was highly radioactive!

So, what killed the nine hikers on this extreme Russian hike? The theories vary from the simple to the homicidal, from the alien to the cryptid, and could even involve the CIA and the KGB. If you like mysteries, the Dylatov Pass is for you!


Link for details on the autopsies (WARNING—Graphic images of dead folks await you):


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