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1977, September 17: Boardman and Tasker's Yeti Encounter

The Legend: 

        On September 17, 1977, British mountaineer Pete Boardman and his friend Joe Tasker were camped 17,000 feet up Mount Changabang, Garhwal Himilayas (on the western edge of Nepal), when they heard a large creature crash about through their campsite. In the morning they found that their belongings had been scattered, and that their chocolate bars were missing.

The Real Story 

        According to Boardman's book about his and Tasker's climb of Changabang in 1977, there were several unusual occurrences during the adventure. The first of these was discovered by Boardman on September 14, while sorting food and equipment. Something had raided the food, stealing just the contents of a box of Mars candy-bars that had been under a plastic sheet. There was no debris (wrappers) left behind; and because they were camped near a moraine and there were no prints, Boardman reasonably assumed his thief approached and left on the rock. When Boardman told Tasker about the theft, Tasker recalled a similiar occurrence: the previous year when he was camped near Dunagiri, something had come each night for five nights and stolen chocolate and cake, and even Tasker's toothbrush -- and despite attempts to trap whatvever it was, he never even saw it.

        Two nights later, in the late hours between September 16 and 17, Boardman and Tasker's camp was raided. Boardman was having trouble sleeping, and found himself awake at three in the morning. He was cramped into two sleeping bags because the temperature outside was in the -20 degrees celsius range... which is why it disturbed him so much to hear a low animal growl outside his tent. It lasted about thirty seconds, and then he heard sniffing, and a pan being knocked over. After that it was quiet again. After waking Tasker, Boardman got some courage back, and about 15 minutes after he heard the noises he unzipped the door and peered out. It was a full, moonlit night, and there was no sign of a living thing. 

Boardman and Tasker's Yeti Prints        In the morning, they found a tremendous number of tracks outside the tent and all over the glacier; something had paced back and forth near the front of the tent, and Boardman felt the tracks were made by something four-footed, though he counted guess what. In his book he asks: "Bears? Leopards? Yeti? Mars Bar eaters?" This joking reference has given legs to the possibility of a Yeti being involved, though this ignores Boardman assessment of the tracks as being four-footed.

        One last odd occurrence took place as they were climbing back down from the heights of the peak on October 17th. They had thrown their extra equipment in bundles down the last stretch of wall to the Rhamani Glacier, only to be disappointed when the bundle popped open partway down. Upon reaching the glacier they started to gather up the scattered equipment; Boardman observed that they weren't the first ones there. More tracks had appeared around the scattered equipment and supplies, which Boardman jokingly attributed to "the Mars Bar eater." Their full body harnesses and tent were missing, but they found the harnesses the following morning. They assumed the tent had disappeared down a crevasse.

Variations & Theories 

        The only place I've run into this story, other than Peter Boardman's book, is Jenny Randles' Strange & Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century. She states of Mr. Boardman, "...with whom I went to school and so can attest to his integrity." It does not seem unreasonable to point out that she may be a bit biased as to the veracity of this account. There is nothing in the narrative as she gives it that would necessarily show that the "Mars Bar-eater" was not a bear. Boardman himself only suggests a Yeti as a passing joke, and clearly states that the prints appear to belong to something four-legged.