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Published 29th February 2008 by

The "Abominable Snowman" is an apelike animal said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet.

The people indigenous to the region to describe the creature commonly use the names Yeti and Meh-Teh, however, there are many different names associated with the creature.

Yeti Illustration

Yeti Illustration


Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury who led the Royal Geographical Society's "Everest Reconnaissance Expedition" about which he wrote the book "Mount Everest - The Reconnaissance" gave the name "Abominable Snowman" in 1921. In the book, he includes an account of crossing the Lhakpa-la at 21,000 feet where he found footprints that he believed "were probably caused by a large 'loping' grey wolf, which in the soft snow formed double tracks rather like a those of a bare-footed man".

He adds that his Sherpa guides "at once volunteered that the tracks must be that of `The Wild Man of the Snows`, to which they gave the name "metoh-kangmi". "Metoh" translates as "man-bear" and "Kang-mi" translates as "snowman".

The frequency of reports increased during the early 20th century when Westerners began making determined attempts to scale the many mountains in the area and occasionally reported seeing odd creatures or strange tracks.

In 1925, N.A. Tombazi, a photographer and member of the Royal Geographical Society, writes that he saw a creature at about 15,000 ft near Zemu Glacier. Tombazi later wrote that he observed the creature from about 200 or 300 yards, for about a minute. "Unquestionably, the figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright and stopping occasionally to pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes. It showed up dark against the snow, and as far as I could make out, wore no clothes." About two hours later, Tombazi and his companions descended the mountain and saw what they assumed to be the creature's prints, described as "similar in shape to those of a man, but only six to seven inches long by four inches wide... The prints were undoubtedly those of a biped."

Interest in the Yeti peaked dramatically in the 1950s. While attempting to scale Mount Everest in 1951, Eric Shipton took photographs of a number of large prints in the snow, at about 19,685 ft above sea level. These photos have been subject to intense scrutiny and debate. Some argue they are the best evidence of Yeti's existence, while others contend the prints to be from a mundane creature, and have been distorted by the melting snow.

The Yeti has become a cultural icon, appearing in movies, books and video games. The creature is usually depicted as the scary "Abominable Snowman", but is occasionally shown as being misunderstood or used as comic relief, such as in the Disney/Pixar movie Monsters Inc where it is revealed that the Abominable Snowman is a monster banished from the Monster world. In this incarnation, the Yeti is quite friendly and dislikes the name "Abominable Snowman".

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