Yeti - The abominable snowman
Yeti - The origin
Yetis in the Himalayas - More than footprints?
Yeti - The abominable snowman
Yeti The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. In 1951, an expedition found a track on the Menlung Glacier between Tibet and Nepal, at an altitude of 6000 meters.

The footprints they saw were 33 cm by 45 cm and were made by a foot which has 5 toes of which the inner toes were larger than the others.

The heel was flat and exceptionally broad. The track itself appeared to be fresh so the footprints were not enlarged by melting snow. This was clearly shown by the many photographs they took. Although there were many doubts about these photographs, if they were believed to be true at all. But those who did belief were certain that was not made by any known animal.

Yeti According to legends, there are three species: the Rimi (some 2,5 m), the Nyalmot (4,5 m) and the Raksi-Bombo (1,5 m). In spite of differences in size, the species have a general resemblance.

The people of Nepal call it a "rakshasa" which is Sanskrit for "demon". According to them, stories of its existence date back to the 4th century BCE; references to the Yeti are found in a poem called 'Rama and Sita'. It has regularly been sighted since 1832. Yeti means "magical creature". The name 'The Abominable Snowman' however, was given to it by western newspapers who wanted to give their readers the feeling of terror which the creature supposedly causes in the valleys, crevices and glaciers of the Himalayas.

The legend
Yeti The Yeti has reddish hair (although others claim it is gray), smells terrible and it is very strong (it throws boulders as if they were pebbles).

It makes an ululating or whistling sound, and is sometimes heard roaring like a lion. The Yeti is rumored to be very fond of strong alcoholic drinks.

There are many uncertainties about its origin, whether it exists or not. Some say that the Yeti is a descendant of a race of giant apes, the 'gigantophitecus' who retreated into the Himalayas some 500.000 years ago. Another theory is that the Yetis are descendant of the A-o-re, an ancient people that fled into the mountains to escape their enemies. In the following millennia, they degraded to a race of monstrous creatures. Skeptics say that the tracks were made by ordinary animals like a bear or an ape.

Reinhold Messner - Yeti hunter
Yeti In 1986, the famous Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner had a close-up sighting of a Yeti while leading an expedition in Nepal.
Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner

Yeti Of the many expeditions set out to find it, was also that of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first ever to climb the Mount Everest.

He funded this expedition himself, for he and his guide Tenzing Norgay had seen footprints of a Yeti on a previous expedition. Unfortunately, his expedition was as unsuccessful as those who had gone before. However, he brought back with him a borrowed artifact: the upper half of the skull of a Yeti. This scalp came from the Khumjung Gompa (monastery) in Nepal where it is kept as a relic. It is some 300 years old, 20 cm high and has a circumference of 65 cm. Scientists said it belonged to a serow (mountain goat) which lives in eastern Asia.

The national symbol in Nepal
Yeti There have been many other expeditions, but on none of those they got so much as even a glimpse of the creature. However, just like the 1951 expedition, they found tracks of the Yeti, and made casts of its footprints.

The lack of evidence did not keep the government of Nepal from officially declaring the Yeti to exist in 1961. It became their national symbol, and an important source of income. There are even stamps of the creature.

"Mirgu" or "Migoi" in Bhutan
Yeti The people of Bhutan believe to this day in the existence of the Snowman. Numerous yak-herders have claimed either to have seen the animal or to have discovered its tracks crossing high snow-bound mountain passes.

Fewer Snowmen, however, have been seen by the present generation, due perhaps to the fact that these rare beasts are on the verge of becoming extinct. Snowmen are pictured in old Tibetan and Bhutanese scrolls, manuscripts and murals.

There are many theories as to the nature and origin of the Migo (known by the Nepalese and Tibetans as the Yeti, and to the Chinese and Soviets as the Alma). According to the 18th century scholar, Jam-dpal-rdo-rje, "The 'wild man' lives in rugged mountains. Its shape is similar to that of a human. It has extraordinary dexterity and strength." In Bhutan, few people, not even the Royal family, doubt the existence of the Migo.


Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary was set up as the exclusive habitat of the Mirgo. This 650 sq kms sanctuary, in eastern Bhutan, is unique as the only reserve in the world created specifically to protect the habitat of the yeti, known in Bhutan as the migoi (strong man). The migoi differs from yetis found (or not) in other Himalayan regions. Its body is covered in hair that may be anything from reddish-brown to black, but it's face is hairless. It smells pretty bad apparently and has the power to become invisible.