Hunting for the Yeti!
Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch and Migo are some of the names of the creature that was once known as the ‘Abominable Snowman’. This hairy and bipedal creature is known to roam the Himalayas (and many other regions around the world) and evaded mankind for thousands of years.
The term ‘Abominable Snowman’ was coined in 1921 when Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury led the 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition, which was chronicled in his book Mount Everest: The Reconnaissance, 1921. In the book, Howard-Bury wrote an account of crossing the Lhakpa La at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) where he found mysterious footprints that his Sherpa guides said belong to ‘The Wild Man of the Snows’ or ‘metoh-kangmi’. ‘Metoh’ translates as ‘man-bear’ and ‘kang-mi’ means ‘snowman’.
The use of ‘Abominable Snowman’ began when Henry Newman, a longtime contributor to The Statesman in Calcutta interviewed the Sherpa Guides of the British Mount Everest Expedition on their return to Darjeeling. Newman translated the word ‘metoh’ as ‘filthy’ and decided to replace it with ‘abominable’ instead. This was when the legend of the ‘Abominable Snowman’ was born and has since fired the Western imagination.
To this day, the Bigfoot is still considered a myth due to a lack of conclusive evidence by the scientific community. However, for those who are native to the Himalayan region, the Yeti is not regarded as a mythical creature. It is considered as one of the many native creatures that inhabit the upper regions of the Himalayan Mountains. In other words, they have been accepted as real for thousands of years and even today, there are numerous eyewitness accounts from many Tibetan and Nepalese inhabitants from around the region.
According to native accounts, the Himalayan Bigfoot is an extremely tall ape-like creature that stands over 7 feet tall. These creatures are said to live in caves that are situated high up in the Himalayan range and move at an incredible speed. They are bipedal and covered in brown fur, which is a departure from the old Western depiction of the ‘white-furred’ Abominable Snowman. They live on fruits and berries, and they also prey on yaks, which means that they have an omnivorous diet. In the search for Bigfoot around the world, researchers have gathered mainly eyewitness accounts, a growing body of evidence like footprint casts, several undisputed video and audio footage of the Bigfoot, as well as with eyewitness accounts and reports of encountering these creatures.
In the following documentary, we follow travel-adventurer Josh Gates on The Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown: Hunt for the Yeti through the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal and Bhutan on a mountainous trail through the Himalayas, investigating various clues and eyewitness accounts. The host of this program is witty and the pace of the documentary is fast and exciting, which is coupled with spectacular footage of the Himalayas alongside genuine and intriguing discoveries. This is one of the more exciting Bigfoot programs in recent times that will turn even the most skeptical viewer into a die-hard fan. I’ve watched many other Bigfoot/Yeti documentaries and invited friends to watch them with me, but they showed no interest. This four part documentary was quite well done and exciting. Previously uninterested friends in the Bigfoot/Yeti phenomena pulled up their chairs and came watched the four parts with me! At the conclusion, they remarked it was very good! One even said he is interested in Bigfoots/Yetis now! So hands up for Mr. Josh Gates! You did a good job with your team and I noticed you were very respectful of the native traditions, people and religion. I hope you will visit Nepal again and do further and more extensive research and I know the challenges are great with altitude and climbing. But I hope you do. I really enjoyed seeing Nepal as do many. It is a exotic place and I hope many will visit. I will look forward to you doing more Bigfoot documentaries also in North America and Australia (Yowie). It will be great if we can hear more about Mr. Kuniaki Yagihara a dedicated Yeti researcher from Japan with his own association. Maybe you can team up with him! I liked what little you showed of him when you met up with him. I will be re-watching the four episodes and share with more friends as they were exciting, educational as well as entertaining. But the Nepal locations are my favorite!
I have provided the videos here for strictly educational purposes and I hope many more will take interest in the Bigfoot/Yeti phenomena.
Episode 1: Hunt for the Yeti
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/ExpeditionUnknownHuntForTheYeti-EP1.flv
Beginning in Kathmandu, Josh Gates heads high into the Himalayas of Nepal to obtain scientific evidence of the legendary Yeti. This time his mission is personal, and his search for the elusive creature will take him into uncharted territory.
Episode 2: The Monster and the Mountain
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/ExpeditionUnknownHuntForTheYeti-EP2.flv
In part two of his hunt for the elusive Yeti, Josh Gates ascends higher into the Himalayas to explore caves, examine ancient artifacts and investigate the mystical ties the legendary creature holds with the Nepalese people.
Episode 3: Out of Thin Air
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/ExpeditionUnknownHuntForTheYeti-EP3.flv
The hunt for the Yeti continues as Josh Gates’ quest takes him from the frozen slopes of Mount Everest to the isolated forests of Bhutan, where Josh uses bait to force a more personal encounter with the creature.
Episode 4: Unmasking the Myth
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/ExpeditionUnknownHuntForTheYeti-EP4.flv
In the finale of Josh Gates’ hunt for the Yeti, he rafts into the remotest corners of Bhutan to capture some of his best evidence yet of the reclusive creature. Then, Josh returns to the USA, where all of his samples are analyzed to answer the question…is the Yeti real?
Synopsis source: http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/expedition-unknown-hunt-for-the-yeti/episodes
People and Places Featured in the Documentary
Kuniaki Yagihara is a seasoned Japanese mountaineer who reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1985. He is also the Chairman of Mountaineering Japan and Yeti Project Japan. He photographed footprints of an alleged Yeti near Mount Dhaulagiri, Nepal in October 2008.
The Japanese mountaineering group he belonged to said that they spotted several footprints in the snow at an altitude of 14,500 feet (4,400 meters). In the documentary Expedition Unknown: Hunt for the Yeti, Yagihara presented footage of an alleged Yeti that was filmed during one of his mountaineering expeditions.
Rum Doodle Café
One of the places that Josh Gates visits during his search for the reclusive Yeti is Rum Doodle Café in Kathmandu, Nepal, established in 1980. The café derives its name from the satirical series of mountaineering books called The Ascent of Rum Doodle by William Ernest Bowman. Rum Doodle is the name given to the highest peak in the world in his fictional work. The café itself is plastered with pictures from the book, and has become a venue for planning expeditions to the highest peak in the real world, Mount Everest.
Food served there is also named after events or characters in the fictional series, such as a bacon cheeseburger with egg named ‘Pong’s Revenge’. In the fictional series, Pong was an anti-hero who did tried his best to stop a handful of eccentric English mountaineers from reaching Run Doodle’s elusive summit. Though the story is well-known as a spoof, it has come to embody the determination and strength that mountaineers who climb Mount Everest need.
As one of the world’s favourite meeting places for mountaineering expeditions, it has seen the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary (the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest together with Tenzin Norgay), Reinhold Messner (who made the first ascent without the use of supplemental oxygen) and Ang Rita Sherpa (who climbed Mount Everest 10 times without the use of supplemental oxygen). In fact their signatures can still be seen behind the bar.
Modern mountaineers, trekking groups and backpackers still use Rum Doodle Café as a meeting place, to plan their expeditions or share stories of their modern adventures, including tales of the their Yeti encounters. The walls and ceilings are covered with Yeti foot prints, on which visitors have left messages or thoughts for others.
The Republic of Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia wedged between China in the north and India in the south. It has a multi-ethnic population of 26.4 million with Nepali as its official language. The city of Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the largest city. Major ethnic groups in Nepal are the Newar, Sherpa, Gurung, Thakali, Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Tharu, Dolpo-pa, Brahman / Chhetri, Chepang, Sunuwar and MagarManagi.
Sherpas are renowned mountaineers, often hired as guides and porters for those wishing to ascend Mount Everest. And while there is no ethnic restriction, those from the Gurung, Magar, Rai, Limbu, Sunuwar and Chhetri ethnic groups often join the British Army as the world famous Gurkha soldiers who are known for their fearless military prowess.
Nepal is renowned for many things including its breathtaking scenery and its reputation as an extreme sport mecca. The country is also famous as a spiritual hotspot, and people travel from all over the world to Nepal seeking spiritual enlightenment. As for the Nepalese themselves, the overwhelming majority are Hindus while some of the ethnic groups consider themselves Buddhists, Jains, Muslims and animist. Due to the country’s position as a spiritual hotspot, ancient religious and cultural sites can be found throughout the country, many of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lumbini is one such example; as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini is famous for being the birthplace of the Buddha and hence one of the great pilgrimage sites for Buddhists from around the world.
How to Get There
Nepal’s only international airport is in the city of Kathmandu. Named Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), it is served by many international airlines including Emirates, Qatar, Jet Airways, Air India, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways. The autumn (Sep-Nov) and spring (Feb-Mar) months are popular tourist seasons so airline tickets usually fill up months in advance for these dates. Airfares depend on both seasons and individual airlines. Most countries around the world do not have direct flights to Kathmandu, so they usually involve at least one stopover in neighbouring Asian countries. The majority of visitors travel to Nepal in conjunction with a trip to India, as there are many international airports with flights to Nepal.
It is possible to enter Nepal from both India and Bhutan via land. From India these crossings include the Sonauli-Belahiya route that is reachable via Delhi and most of North India, the Raxaul-Birgunj route that is reachable via Patna and Bodhgaya, and the Kakarbhitta route reachable from Darjeeling and Siliguri. Entry to Nepal from Tibet is also possible, if you have the correct permit.
It is very easy to obtain a tourist visa when visiting Nepal. On arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport or at all land border crosses that are open to foreigners, you are able to obtain a tourist visa. As long as you can pay the visa fee (the immigration offices take payment in USD, and sometime even insist on this), have passport photos on hand for the paperwork, have a whole page in your passport free for the visa and have a passport that is valid for six months or longer, you should have no problem with your tourist visa.
Some Famous Sights
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas of South Asia. Bhutan is sandwiched between China to the north and India to the south. The capital of Bhutan is Thimpu, which is also the largest city, while Phuntsholing is Bhutan’s financial heart. Bhutan has a population of around 770,000 people that consists of mainly Ngalops and Sharchops, who are of Tibetan heritage and the minority Lhotshampa, who are of Nepalese heritage.
The national language is Bhutanese or Dzongkha, one of 53 languages in the Tibetan language family. The official script for the language is called Chokey or ‘Dharma language’, which is basically classical Tibetan. It is estimated that between 66% to 75% of the Bhutanese people are followers of Vajrayana Buddhism, which is also the state religion. The King of Bhutan is known as the Druk Gyalpo, meaning the ‘Thunder Dragon King’. The present King is His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the fifth King of Bhutan who ascended the throne after his father abdicated in his favour.
Bhutan is famous for their adherence to a “Gross National Happiness” policy, a term coined by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing. For this reason, Bhutan is a forerunner in environmental protection and conservation initiatives in the region.
About 25% to 33% of Bhutanese are followers of Hinduism, while the remaining identify as Buddhist. The highest mountain in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum with an elevation of 7,570 metres (24,836 ft). Due to its location, Bhutan has also been a hotbed of Yeti sightings for hundreds of years, especially in the higher mountainous regions and thick forests.
How to Get There
Bhutan has only one international airport known as Paro Airport. It is served by Bhutan Airlines, Druk Air and the Nepalese Buddha Air (by charter only). Considered one of the world’s most challenging airports to land on and take off from, only a certain number of highly trained pilots are certified to land there. Due to Bhutan’s small size, high altitude and relatively small scale of tourism, there are not many flights. Bhutan can be reached by air from neighbouring countries and a handful of other Asian countries. There are no long-haul flights available from countries outside of Asia. Therefore you will need to make a stopover at one of these Asian airports on your way there, if travelling from outside of Asia. The most popular of these airports are Kathmandu (Nepal), Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), and Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Guwahati and Gaya in India. Due to the small fleet of airplanes and erratic weather patterns, delays can occur in flight times, so it is advisable to allow at least four to five hours transit time before connecting to or from a Bhutan Airlines or Druk Air flight.
There are only two official land border crossings into and out of Bhutan. These are Phuntsholing which is reachable from the town of Jaigaon, West Bengal in Northern India. The other is Samdrup Jongkar which is reachable from Assam State in India. Roads to and inside of Bhutan are usually quite narrow and the usual speed of driving is between 35-40 kilometres per hour due to the number of bends in the roads amongst the mountainous terrain.
Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian nationals can obtain their tourist visa at Paro airport or the two land border crossings. They simply need a passport that is valid for six months or longer from the date of entry. All other nationals must obtain their tourist visa before travelling to Bhutan. These cannot be obtained in person but must be acquired through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator or foreign travel agent. As part of the visa application process, foreign nationals are required to submit the photo-page of their passport to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, via their tour operator. Once the full payment of your holiday, inclusive of the USD40 visa fee, has been transferred to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, a visa clearance letter will be processed within 72 hours. Visitors will need to provide a copy of this visa clearance letter upon entry to Bhutan, where the tourist visa will be stamped into the passport.
Some Famous Sights
For more interesting information:
- British Hiker Found The Elusive Yeti In The Himalayas
- Respect Them
- It’s In The Scriptures They Exist
- From Nepal
- Nepal Is The Land of Spirituality Beauty and Mystery
- Japanese Mountain Climbers Say They Found Yeti Footprints
- Finding Bigfoot
- The Eerie Legend of the Pudwudgie
- Searching For The Yeti
- What Was Outside Tenzin Palmo’s Cave
- Something Interesting From Russia
- Yeti On Lonely Planet Guide
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