During the 1950s and 1960s fascination with the Abominable Snowman (or Yeti) reached fever pitch.
The Himalayan half man, half ape joined the Loch Ness Monster and the American northwest’s ‘Bigfoot’ as the most popular mythical legends.
To the native Sherpa tribe of the Eurasian Himalaya mountain region, the Abominable Snowman was a religious figure to be feared and protected, a creature that lived in their folklore and, they were sure, roamed the mountains walking upright on two legs, covered with long dark fur, letting out an occasional eerie howl to remind the mountain herdsman of his existence.
To the mountain explorers and scientists who tried to track and capture the fabled Yeti, it was a frustratingly elusive game that left behind only questions and a few tracks leading to nowhere through the melting snow.
According to the Sherpa, the Abominable Snowman towered over eight feet tall and had been encountered repeatedly by herdsmen who tended their grazing animals in the lower ranges that surround the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. A drawing of the Yeti even appeared in an 18th-century book illustrating the wildlife of Tibet.
British explorer Colonel Howard Bury reported finding huge footprints in the Himalayas in 1921, and another British mountaineer, Eric Shipton, took the first photographs of the famous tracks in 1951.
Several expeditions of explorers and scientists from the United States, Britain, New Zealand and the Soviet Union scaled the treacherous snow-covered Himalayas in search of the elusive creature. They were not able to capture him, however – either on film or in the flesh – and returned with only Sherpa tales, plaster casts and photographs of a few footprints, and hair-raising stories.