GHT Blog

8 things we bet you didn’t know about the mysterious Yeti

July 1, 2015

Ever wander around outdoors and come across a rather alarmingly large set of animal footprints? This happens on the Great Himalaya Trails as well. Except, instead of stumbling upon a furry friend you may very well come face to face with the legendary Yeti.


The elusive Yeti has never been caught on camera

The Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman as it is known as in the west, is a legendary creature said to inhabit the upper ranges of the Himalaya mountains. Seldom seen, but widely believed to exist, the Yeti is described as very tall, having long hair, bad body odor, big feet and the ability to walk upright. Not a dissimilar description to most trekkers who have spent a week too many on a remote mountain top.

Whether you’re a Yeti skeptic or believer these 8 fascinating facts about the mythical creature are sure to provide some interesting tales for the trail.

  1. The word Yeti comes from a Tibetan compound word roughly translating to “bear of rocky place”.
  2. The legend of the Yeti dates back thousands of years and began with the indigenous people of the Himalayan region who believed that Yetis were the guardians of the mountains. They were meant to keep watch over the mountains to prevent curious mortals from climbing to the top and disturbing the gods who lived there.
  3. The story of the Yeti is deep-rooted in Nepali culture and religion. If you’re ever lucky enough to catch the Buddhist Mani Rimdu Festival in the fall you will see monks dance around wearing masks of divine creatures. The Yeti is one of them.
  4. Reported sightings by climbers exploring the Himalayas in the 1950’s helped fuel western interest in the Yeti. Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary were said to have found large footprints in the snow while climbing Everest. They returned on an expedition with a group of scientists in the 1960’s searching for evidence of the Yeti, but not a trace was found and Hillary later dismissed the whole thing as legend.
  5. In the 1950’s the Nepali government rather industriously capitalized on the increasing popularity of the Yeti myth and issued yeti-hunting licenses for the rather bold sum of $625. Still to-date there have been no successful captures of the species.
  6. Besides the rather lucrative hunting permit, the legend of the Yeti has lent its name to two other successful business ventures in Nepal. The 5-star hotel Yak & Yeti is probably the most well-known hotel in the country and Yeti Airlines connects domestic travelers from Kathmandu to far-reaching mountain areas.
  7. Skeptics suggest that the unusually large tracks in the snow are normal animal prints melted into each other to look like prints from a larger animal. They believe Yeti sightings are attributed to unfortunate misidentification of Himalayan wildlife. Understandably, animals like the Tibetan blue bear, Himalayan brown bear, and even hermits taking up residency in remote mountain caves, can all look a bit Yeti-esque when suffering from oxygen deficiency…
  8. A British Genetics Professor claimed to have solved the riddle of the Yeti a few years ago. The creature is explained to be a sub-species of the brown bear, more specifically a mix between the Himalayan brown bear and an ancient polar bear species.


Despite lack of proof, belief in the Yeti is still very real amongst local Nepalis and likely to be part of the mythical mountains for years to come. Keep a lookout while you’re on the trail. Who knows? You may just stumble upon a large footprint in the snow…

Yeti footprints

Yeti footprints?

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