Everyone’s favorite furry snowman is once again relevant in popular culture thanks to the new stop-motion film ‘Missing Link.’
While he is known in the Tibetan language(s) as Michê (“man-bear”) or Mi-go, which translates to “wild man,” he is widely recognized as the Yeti (or, the Abominable Snowman) and one thing’s for sure: he’s in America’s favorite stop-motion animation studio LAIKA’s new movie. In the film—Missing Link—however, he is also known as the long-lost relative of the lead character, a Sasquatch (appropriately named “Link,” but prefers “Susan”) voiced by Zach Galifianakis.
Susan is discovered and humored by an explorer (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who has been searching for him for quite some time. Upon meeting, the two embark on a globetrotting journey to help find Susan’s thought-to-be-relative, the equally-elusive Yeti (a tall, ape-like man covered in white fur). Since the movie is hitting theaters this week, we’ve decided to take a look at the places thought to have housed (or would gladly house) one of the most mythical creatures known to man.
What better place for a snowman to reside than in/on the tallest mountain in the world? One of the most popular “discoveries” of the Yeti is a photograph taken here in 1951. British explorer Eric Shipton was searching for a route up the mountain with his team when they came across a set of “tracks” at approximately 20,000 feet and documented the find, which, naturally has been subjected to much scrutiny over the years. While hiking in Shipton’s exact footsteps up Everest might prove to be a little too intense, know that you can hike to Everest; even if you don’t catch a glimpse of Mr. Yeti, Hotel Everest View is certainly a bucket list destination in and of itself.
Fun Fact: The titular biped was first deemed the “Abominable Snowman” in 1921 after a journalist, Henry Newman, interviewed travelers who had just returned from an Everest expedition and said they came across giant footprints in the snow. The writer mistranslated when the travelers told him the words their guides used to describe it—while he correctly interpreted the “snowman” bit, “abominable” was all Newman.
(Elsewhere in) The Himalayas
The Himalayas is perhaps the location with the highest number of alleged Yeti sightings on this list, if only because the mountain range is so large. According to Live Science, in 1986, a hiker in The Himalayas saw what he claims was a Yeti standing about 500 feet away from him. The hiker said the being did not make any noise and also recounted seeing peculiar tracks leading up to the figure in the distance. “He took two photographs of the creature, which were later analyzed and proven genuine,” Live Science says. This tale may be eerie, but don’t let that discourage you from adding Tibet, which is surrounded by The Himalayas in the south, to your travel list. The busiest months for visitors are July and August. Go at the beginning or end of this season, and you’ll have plenty of space to drink in all of the beautiful monasteries and views of the mountain range’s icy peaks; and, if you’re in the spirit, keep your ear to the ground for any fresh Yeti lore.
Shangri-La (aka Kunlun Mountains)
The fictional valley of Shangri-La is where Susan’s cousin resides and it’s the destination Missing Link’s heroes set out to reach when they start their adventure. While Shangri-La is a fictional place, the mountain range it’s thought to be set in is not. The Kunlun Mountains extend approximately 1,250 miles and it’s considered to be one of the longest mountain ranges in China. This means plenty of opportunities for hiking, but the Kunlun region is not for the faint climber, given its high elevation—it should be taken just as seriously as any adventurer who seeks to trek in or around Everest.
INSIDER TIPSeriously, the elevation here is nothing to scoff at, so plan accordingly if you’re up for the hike: hydrate, have carbohydrates in your system (and alcohol out of), and make sure to have plenty of rest before you begin your journey.
In 2016, a hunter/fisher documented footprints of the alleged being. “I was fishing, and ran out of earthworms. I went along the river to dig some, and I saw a footstep. I initially thought that it was a human’s. I looked closer and realized that it did not look like a human’s,” Alexei Kovalenko told The Siberian Times. The year before, similarly mysterious prints were spotted close to the Mras-Su River. Both discoveries (and one in 2011), have prompted rumors that an alleged Yeti-hunting tour (though it’s not quite clear what that entails) is in the works. Whether or not the hunt comes to fruition, Siberia’s landscapes must be seen to be believed, especially if you’re a fan of cross-country skiing or have ever been interested in hopping aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway.
International Cryptozoology Museum
Featuring Yeti (and Sasquatch) paraphernalia, this intriguing Portland, Maine, establishment is a good place to kick off your journey. In the form of a letter, the museum addresses actor James Stewart and his (possibly unintentional) effort to jump onboard the Yeti zeitgeist when he came into possession of a Yeti finger (though the appendage later proved to be that of a human). Reportedly stolen from a monastery in Nepal by an explorer in the 1950s, the alleged yeti finger was swapped (with the now-confirmed human finger) and smuggled out of the country via Stewart (a friend of the explorer’s), who placed it in his wife’s luggage. Also on display, according to its website, is “fecal matter from a small Yeti was collected by the Tom Slick-F. Kirk Johnson Snowman Expedition of 1959.”
According to a statement from Chris Butler, Missing Link’s director, “The intention was to tell a story that was equal parts ripping yarn and buddy movie.” While the destinations on this list don’t have to be experienced with others, as they are in the movie, a group trip isn’t a bad idea—especially when it comes to Nepal. The combination of attractions in the country (landscapes, architecture, culture, etc.) offers something for everyone to marvel at. Located mainly in The Himalayas, it’s no surprise there are mysterious clues that point to the existence of a Yeti throughout Nepal. Popularity among Yeti-interested hikers hit such a high in the 1950s that the Nepalese government was forced to set some regulations for travelers looking for the snow-man, including the purchase of a $1,100 permit and the demand that any Yeti evidence, if found, be turned over to the country’s officials. If your Yeti investigation ends up short, there’s plenty of other breathtaking sights waiting to be experienced in the South Asian country, including a day at Durbar Square (one of the world’s great public spaces) and/or a tour of the stunning, sacred Buddhist Swayambhunath Temple.
At this 4,000-square foot museum in Cherry Log, Georgia—which opened in 2016—you’ll find genuine artifacts of all things Sasquatch, from historical articles to an actual full-size Sasquatch replicant. If you’re reading this article with any enthusiasm, chances are you’re interested in Sasquatch as well. But wait, where’s the Yeti, you ask? Well, there’s reportedly a mold of a Yeti buttocks, which, in my opinion, is definitely worth a road trip.
Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain!
Not quite a *true* believer? At least try embracing some of the fun popular culture has had with the Yeti mythos, because Disney’s iconic park is very enjoyable. Located in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park, “Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain” puts you at the base of Mount Everest where you’ll board a “train to the top of the world.”
The ride races you up the mountain, but, *spoiler alert for those who don’t want to be thrilled* out of nowhere a broken track appears in front of you. You’ll careen backward into the darkness of the caves you just passed through, but something’s there. Something’s waiting for you and it’s growling. It’s the Yeti if that wasn’t clear. The Yeti is waiting for you. According to some visitors, it’s the best ride Disney World has to offer!