Gloucestershire climber finds Yeti footprint in the Himalayas
A VETERAN British climber yesterday unveiled chilling new evidence that the Yeti does exist – after snapping a footprint identical to an iconic image taken in 1951.
Intrepid Mike Rees, 73, from Moreton-in-Marsh, innocently took the picture while trekking in the Himalayas after his wife spotted the imprint and pointed it out as “something interesting”.
But it was not until he got home and began to read books on Everest that he noticed the footprint exactly matched one discovered by a team of explorers six decades ago.
It is the same size and shape as the one pictured in 1951 and was found in the same remote region.
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The retired computer engineer has gone public with his evidence after scientists last week claimed to have solved the mystery.
Mike, who has been trekking in Nepal four times, said: “It didn’t really register with us at all what we had taken a picture of, my wife just thought it was something interesting.
“It wasn’t until we got home and developed the film that we realised what it could be.
“We got books on Everest and they all contained the stories about the Yeti. The closer we looked we just thought ‘wow’ our photo looks exactly the same as that footprint.
“I compared the two closely and it had to be the same, it’s the same size and shape, there’s no doubting it, it looks almost identical.”
Mike and wife Joyce, 69, were on their second trek to the stunning area in 2006 when they made the discovery.
They were trekking in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas, near the village of Machermo, when they spotted the footprint.
The little-used route is often ignored for the bigger, more popular, Mount Everest Base Camp trek, in the Nepal-Tibet border region.
“We just saw it in the mud,” he said. “We were trekking for 10 days and we had had our evening meal and were going around the back of camp and just saw this footprint.
“Everyone else laughed at us and joked about it.”
In 1951 respected British climber Eric Shipton took a series of photographs of a mysterious footprint he had come across at the base of Everest.
The team of mountaineers took four photographs around 20,000 ft above sea level and included one with a size 8.5 boot next to it for comparison.
The pictures sparked renewed interest in the creature, and were hailed as the most concrete proof for its existence.
They were later sold at an auction in London, in 2007, for £3,500.
Until now Mike has only shown his picture to a handful of people at local Women’s Institute meetings but has decided to go public after recent speculation about the Yeti.
Last week an Oxford University boffin claimed DNA evidence proves the Yeti does exist and is a sub-species of brown bear.
And Mike remains a firm believer in the mythical animal.
“If the locals believe in it then I do too. I trust them, they are such fantastic people up that area,” he said.
Stories of a Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, go back to 1925 when other climbers claimed to have glimpsed it.