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    The Story Of The Mystical Yeti

    Beyond the mysticism and folklore, there might actually be some truth to the Yeti.

    • The Himalayan mountains
    • The Yeti lore
    • The Indian Army incident of 2019
    • Eyewitness accounts
    • The link to Gigantophitecus

    The Himalayan Mountains

    The Himalayas, as it’s often called, are a vast mountain range in Asia. Stretching across several countries, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, China (Tibet), and Pakistan. The snowy range of mountains forms a natural barrier between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau.

    The Himalayas span approximately 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) from west to east. And vary in width from 200 to 400 kilometres (125 to 250 miles). The range is formed when the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Lifting the Earth’s crust upwards to form the splendid range of mountains.

    The Himalayas are home to some of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest, which stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) and is the highest point on Earth. Other notable peaks include K2, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu.

    Renowned for their exceptional biodiversity. The Himalayan range has a wide range of ecosystems. From subtropical forests in the foothills to alpine meadows, and snow-covered peaks. The region is home to many plant and animal species, including the endangered Bengal tiger, snow leopard, one-horned rhinoceros, and various species of orchids.

    The Himalayas hold immense cultural significance for the people of the region. Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions consider it a sacred landscape. You can find numerous monasteries, temples, and pilgrimage sites.

    The Himalayas have also been a source of inspiration for art, literature, and spiritual practices.

    The Himalayas are a popular destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world. The region offers a wide range of climbing and trekking opportunities, catering to both experienced climbers and novice adventurers. The trekking routes, such as the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp trek, attract thousands of visitors each year.

    The Yeti Lore

    Chinese drawing of the mystical beast, dated 1986

    In the nights, locals would gather and share their tales. Mountaineers, explorers, even military folk, all of them have a tale or two about the Yeti. An ape-like beast that is said to be 8ft tall. Bipedal, meaning standing on two feet, covered with long red-brownish hair.

    Some folk believe that it is bad luck to come across the Yeti. Some say it is an omen that death may be near. While others agree, it is a tale to keep children or foolish villagers from wandering too far off into the mountains.

    In 1951, Eric Shipton, an adventurous mountaineer went on an expedition into the Himalayans. It was his childhood passion to explore the unknown.

    When crossing the Menlung Glacier, located near Tibet’s Southern border with Nepal, Shipton and his team came upon a trail of large footprints. He’s no stranger to wild animals and their tracks. But this particular set of footprints, baffled him.

    Shipton, and his accompanying surgeon, Dr Michael Ward, with his team, took several pictures of the footprint. In one of the photos, they placed an ice axe alongside the footprint for scale. The footprint was 13 inches wide, and 18 inches long. It had one gigantic big toe and four other broad toes.

    By the distance between the footprints, Shipton was convinced that this creature walked on two feet. Bipedal. There was no sign that it was on all fours. Like a bear or a wolf.

    Shipton further speculated that the only other animal close to this kind of footprint was the Orangutan. But the Orangutan’s toe was further apart and narrowly shaped. Not circular. Furthermore, Orangutan is not found in Tibet or around the Himalayans.

    And this account came from a man many regarded as a level-headed rational man of science.

    The 2019 incident

    Since Eric Shipton’s find, years of speculation, expeditions, and disappointing results followed. Eventually, the search for the Yeti died down.

    The Himalayans continue to receive a fair share of mountaineers and adventurers. Regularly, the Indian Army would start expeditions through the snowy mountains.

    In 2019, the Indian Army Mountaineering Team made an expedition to Mount Makalu. The expedition began on 27 March and started from Delhi. Led by Major Manosh Joshi, with four officers, two junior commissioned officers, and 11 other ranks.

    In late March, the team arrived on the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. On 2nd April, they began their journey towards Mount Makalu basecamp. A week later, they made their way through a narrow valley located in the Makalu-Barun National Park.

    At the 4500-meter elevation mark, at a waypoint called Langmale Kharka, the team paused to begin the acclimatization process. A process that gets their bodies used to the increasing altitude. Then they discovered something odd.

    Exploring the surrounding area, some of the team members stumbled upon a trail of odd footprints. Something they’ve never seen before. It was huge. At 32 inches long, and 15 inches wide, it was at least three times the size of an average man’s foot.

    They noticed that these footprints were in a linear fashion. The length between each footprint was 4 feet. This adds to the mystery, as the average man’s stride is half of that length. They concluded that whatever this creature is, it could walk upright, and it was really really big.

    They had posted this on social media, hoping to spark the scientific community to restart expeditions and research on the Yeti. Unfortunately, the posting was only met with ridicule.

    Eyewitness Accounts

    From the journal of Slavomir Rawicz, a Polish Army Officer who escaped from a Siberian prisoner of war camp in 1941.

    For two hours, we watched them. They were enormous, and they walked on their hind legs. Their faces I could not see in detail, but their heads were squarish. And their ears must lie close to the skull because there was no projection from the silhouette against the snow. The shoulders sloped sharply down to a powerful chest and long arms, the wrists of which reached the knees.

    The nearest I can get to deciding their colour is a rusty camel. They were covered with long, loose, straight hair. They were doing nothing but moving around slowly together and occasionally just standing and looking about them like people admiring the view.

    Showell Styles, an author, a British sailor, and expedition leader.

    I’m quite sure the sherpas are telling the truth. And equally sure that there is some strange beast that walks on two legs in the high snows and has never been caught or identified.”

    Lester Davies, a Squadron Leader, a British RAF pilot who fought against the Japanese on the Malaya Peninsula, turned mountaineer.

    I was called from my sleeping bag to investigate a set of footprints. Each were 12 inches long, and 8 inches wide. I followed the tracks and found them cross the snow, into a river, and snow on the other side. I stood in the ice-cold water and it reached just below my armpits. I’m six feet tall. Which means, whatever this creature is, it was tall enough to cross the deep water and to the other side of the river, easily. I estimate this creature to be upwards of 840lbs(approx 380kg) and at least eight feet tall.”

    Mountain climber, Don Whillans.

    I was at camp, and suddenly, at a distance, I saw two lines of crows escaped to the sky. My sherpas, fear in their voice, said that it was probably a Yeti that scared it off. The sun was setting and I was not bothered enough to investigate. The next morning, at the area I found a set of footprints, as large as my own. The tracks came down to about 13,000 feet and then vanished over a crest about 15,000 feet.

    The next night, as I was gazing at the stars, I saw an ape-like creature on all fours, making its way up a small hill. It probably was hunting. Went over the hill and disappeared. My feelings of uneasiness disappeared with it.”

    Dr Alexander Pronin of Leningrad University, a hydrologist studying water.

    At first I thought it was a bear. But then I realised it was a man-like figure covered in reddish grey hair. Standing in the snow with its legs wide apart. And arms longer than a normal man. I observed it for more than five minutes at the same spot, on two different occasions.”

    The link to Gigantopithecus

    In 1935, perusing unique and odd items in drugstores in China, Ralph von Koenigswald discovered a fossilized tooth. It was bigger than a man’s, and much bigger than an ape. This led to the discovery of the Gigantopithecus species. A species of ape that is giant in its size. It’s also known to have gone extinct.

    An artist’s rendition of what the Gigantopithecus might have looked like according to fossil evidence.

    Isn’t this oddly similar to what eyewitness accounts describe the Yeti? Bipedal, like a wild man, covered with long brown-reddish hair. Important to note, the Gigantophitecus was only discovered years after the many descriptions of the Yeti.

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