On August 12, Russian scientist Dr. Dmitry Fedyanin tragically fell almost 500 feet when hiking alone in Germany. According to sources, the now-deceased hiker was using a navigation app to travel through the beautiful Berchtesgadener Alps National Park when he supposedly lost his footing.
The day after his passing, the landlord where Dr. Fedyanin was staying called the mountain rescue service to report that he had not come back from his hike. Immediately, the Alpine task force was deployed to conduct a search party, and sadly, Dr. Fedyanin’s body was found at the base of a peak that same day.
Dr. Fedyanin was descending down to Gotzenalm near Koenigssee Lake when he was directed toward a path that was actually a cliff. After investigating, Bavarian police reported their findings: “Our investigators assume that the male individual slipped in the rocky area which features some patches of grass. He then slid down at least 150 meters (492 feet).”
The paramedics who found Dr. Fedyanin’s body determined that the cause of death was a head injury sustained during the great fall, and Bavarian police ruled out any possibility of third-party involvement. Spokesperson Maximilian Maier told the press directly, “The involvement of any other person can be ruled out.”
The 34-year-old Russian scientist had studied “nanoscale and quantum optoelectronics for data-processing, communication, and sensing applications,” according to his LinkedIn profile at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) in Moscow, Russia.
After graduating, Dr. Fedyanin went on to work as a senior research fellow at MIPT, and throughout his 20s and early 30s, he won several awards within his field, including the Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2011 and the European Material Research Society Young Scientist Award in 2012.
The decorated scientist was certainly an experienced hiker, but the trails through the Berchtesgadener Alps National Park are known to be especially treacherous. In fact, Dr. Fedyanin is not the only person to perish in the park this week. Three other hikers met the same fate during the second week of August.
A 29-year-old Austrian woman died on Saturday hiking the Hochkalter mountain due to a fatal fall. And the day before, a 57-year-old woman from the Black Forest fell to her death near Marktschellenberg while hiking with her husband. As well, a 49-year-old died that same weekend hiking on the Reiteralpe, though apparently, they passed away from natural causes.
So while some are arguing that Dr. Fedyanin’s fall was due to a malfunction within the app he was using to navigate his travels, it’s also possible that the trail he was walking was simply unclear or that, as the police believe, he simply slipped on loose rocks.
Of course, the police are taking Dr. Fedyanin and the three other deaths very seriously. Though the Berchtesgadener Alps National Park is extremely large, covering more than 81 square miles, and it will prove challenging to monitor the experienced hikers who choose to walk the many trails.